Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival, part two | Music | DW | 05.12.2018
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Music

Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival, part two

This hour, more of Wagner's romantic opera and its story, comments by the protagonists, and reactions to this new production at the Wagner Festival.

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Concert Hour: Bayreuth Festival, part two

From 1876 until the end of the current season there have been 2,694 performances at the Bayreuth Festival, all Wagner. This past summer's 32 performances were sold out, with over 62,000 visitors from numerous countries in attendance. 

Notable this year: the Bayreuth debut of Polish tenor Piotr Beczala in the title role, and the last appearance there of Waltraud Meier, returning to Bayreuth after an eighteen year absence. 

Mis-en-scene from the Bayreuth Festival 2018 (Festspiele Bayreuth/Enrico Nawrath)

Highly stylized, mythical costumes in a charming setting and intense interaction of the protagonists characterize this production


The stage direction brought out a twist on the plot in Act Three. When Elsa starts to ask uncomfortable questions in the wedding chamber, her husband sings of love but ties her up with an electric cord. Only when she asks him the forbidden question point blank is she able to free herself.

At the end, Elsa and Ortrud are supposed to fall dead as the cataclysmically sad music plays. But in fact director Yuval Sharon has everyone else collapse instead as Ortrud, Elsa and her revived brother Gottfried remain standing. The strong women survive, apparently to develop a new order. It was seen as a timely message in the #MeToo era. 

DW's Rick Fulker in an interview with baritone Georg Zeppenfeld (DW/A. Feilcke)

DW's Rick Fulker in an interview with baritone Georg Zeppenfeld

Richard Wagner
Lohengrin (excerpts from acts two and three)
Roles and soloists:
King Henry – German bass Georg Zeppenfeld
Lohengrin – Polish tenor Piotr Beczala
Elsa of Brabant – German soprano Anja Harteros
Telramund – Polish baritone Tomasz Konieczny
Ortrud – German soprano Waltraud Meier 
The Herald – Latvian baritone Egils Silins
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 
Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Conductor: Christian Thielemann
 

Performed in the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on July 25, 2018 and recorded by Radio Bavaria, Munich (BR) 

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