Classical Sunday: Wagner’s Lohengrin

Kick back and relax for three hours and a half:  Here comes Wagner’s Lohengrin, conducted by Christian Thielemann at the Semperoper in Dresden. 

Richard Wagner: Lohengrin – A Romantic Opera in Three Acts

Conductor: Christian Thielemann

Heinrich der Vogler (Henry the Fowler): Georg Zeppenfeld
Lohengrin: Piotr Beczala
Elsa von Brabant: Anna Netrebko
Friedrich von Telramund: Tomasz Konieczny
Ortrud, Telramund’s wife: Evelyn Herlitzius
The King’s Herald: Derek Welton

Staatskapelle Dresden

Saechsischer Staatsoperchor Dresden

The story of the Knight of the Swan, or Swan Knight, is a medieval tale about a mysterious rescuer who comes in a swan-drawn boat to defend a damsel, his only condition being that he must never be asked his name.

In the early 13th century, the German poet Wolfram von Eschenbach adapted the Swan Knight motif for his epic Parzival.  Here the story is attached to Loherangrin, the son of the protagonist Parzival and the queen of Pelapeire Condwiramurs.  As in other versions Loherangrin is a knight who arrives in a swan-pulled boat to defend a lady, in this case Elsa of Brabant.  They marry, but he must leave when she breaks the taboo of asking his name.

In 1848, Richard Wagner adapted the tale into his popular opera Lohengrin, probably the work through which the Swan Knight story is best known today.

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