Post Cards from the Edge Wagner’s Lohengrin - October 20, 2012, 7 pm - San Francisco Opera | Welcome to Fred’s Home Page

Wagner’s Lohengrin - October 20, 2012, 7 pm - San Francisco Opera 

This is the second of three operas I saw in October as part of the San Francisco Opera’s Out-of-Town series.  The first was The Capulets and Montagues, and the third was Moby Dick.

This, along with the Ring Cycle is one of Wagner’s best known and most performed operas.  King Heinrich is in Brabant to recruit an army and finds the country in strife.  He asks Telramund why and he tells him Elsa, daughter of the late ruler has murdered her younger brother Gottfried.  Telramund has married Ortrud staked his own claim to the throne.  Elsa is summoned to defend herself and instead of defending herself, tells of a shining knight who will defend her and be her champion.  After waiting and praying, Lohengrin appears to defend her.  He agrees to marry her. 

Ortrud stirs the pot by saying Lohengrin is an imposter.  In agreeing to marry Elsa, Lohengrin extracts a promise from her to never ask about him, his name or his history.  She promises but Ortrud puts the pressure on and convinces Elsa to ask the dreaded question. 

In reality, Lohengrin is the son of Parsifal and one of the Knights Templar and guards the Holy Grail.  In answering Elsa, he breaks off the marriage and returns to the Grail.  Before he leaves, the swan that escorted him onstage reappears and he changes the swan into Elsa’s brother Gottfried and suggests he rule the country. 

All the principles were in excellent voice but it took Camilla Nylund a little time to warm up.  The stage design was well done.  However, both this opera and The Capulets and Montagues probably suffered from the funds it took to put on Moby Dick.  

The image is from the San Francisco Opera website at  The opera, as expected, was in German. 

© Fred Searcy 2017