Romantische Oper in 3 Aufzügen
Composer & librettist: Richard Wagner (1813–1883), after mediaeval German romance
First performance: Staatskapelle Weimar, 28 August 1850
SETTING: Antwerp, on the Scheldt, 10th century
PLOT: Friedrich von Telramund accuses Elsa von Brabant of her murdering her brother Gottfried, the Duke. To Elsa’s rescue comes a wonderful knight in a boat drawn by a swan. He will defend her and marry her on the condition that she never ask his name or where he came from. The knight defeats Telramund in combat and marries Elsa, but Telramund and his wife Ortrud, a pagan sorceress, plot to destroy the knight and rule Brabant. On their wedding knight, Elsa asks the knight the fateful question; at that moment, Telramund attacks the knight and is killed. Sadly, the knight assembles the people of Brabant, and tells them who he is: Lohengrin, son of Parsifal, knight of the Holy Grail. The swan returns, and Lohengrin transforms it into its rightful form: the Duke Gottfried, enchanted by Ortrud. Elsa dies of grief as Lohengrin sails away.
‘Nun sei bedankt, mein lieber Schwan!’
In response to Elsa’s prayer, a knight has sailed down the River Scheldt in a boat drawn by a swan. The knight thanks the swan, and tells it to return whence it came.
Lohengrin (tenor): Jess Thomas
Chor der Wiener Staatsoper
Conductor: Rudolf Kempe