Lohengrin (opera)

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Uncompleted Operas

Lohengrin is a romantic opera in three acts composed and written by Richard Wagner, first performed in 1850. The story of the eponymous character is taken from medieval German romance, notably the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach and its sequel, Lohengrin, written by a different author, itself inspired by the epic of Garin le Loherain. It is part of the Knight of the Swan tradition.

The opera has proved inspirational towards other works of art. Among those deeply moved by the fairy-tale opera was the young King Ludwig II of Bavaria. 'Der Märchenkönig' ('The Fairy-tale King') as he was dubbed later built his ideal fairy-tale castle and dubbed it "New Swan Stone," or "Neuschwanstein", after the Swan Knight. It was King Ludwig's patronage that later gave Wagner the means and opportunity to build a theatre for, compose and stage his epic cycle, the Ring of the Nibelung.

The most popular and recognizable part of the opera is the Bridal Chorus known better as "Here Comes the Bride", played at weddings in the West.


Performance history

The first production of Lohengrin was in Weimar, Germany on 28 August 1850 at the Staatskapelle Weimar under the direction of Franz Liszt, a close friend and early supporter of Wagner. Liszt chose the date in honour of Weimar's most famous citizen, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who was born on 28 August 1749.[1] It was an immediate popular success.

The opera's first performance abroad was in Riga on 5 February 1855. The Austrian premiere took place at the Burgtheater on 19 August 1859 with Róza Csillag as Ortrud. The work was produced in Monaco for the first time at the National Theatre on 16 June 1867 with Heinrich Vogl in the title role and Mathilde Mallinger as Elsa. Malinger sang Elsa again for the work's premiere at the Berlin State Opera's on 6 April 1869. The Belgium premiere of the opera was given at La Monnaie on 22 March 1870 with Étienne Troy as Friedrich of Telramund and Feliciano Pons as Heinrich der Vogler.[2]

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