Romantic Opera / Libretto by the composer
Richard Wagner was fascinated with the legend of the Holy Grail, this majestic object shrouded in mystery. In Wagner’s mythological universe, which is inspired by legends and historical events but creates its own “space-time continuum”, Lohengrin is the son of the Grail King Parzival, who lives in the faraway castle of Montsalvat. Lohengrin appears in the duchy of Brabant as “Swan Knight in shining armour” to help Elsa, the young heiress to the duchy, who is in great distress. She is innocently accused of having murdered her brother. The condition on which the noble knight agrees to help her is that he must never be asked about his origin – nor his name. If anybody should dare to break the taboo, the Knight of the Grail will be forced by Providence to leave the unworthy company to their own devices. Not surprisingly, this leads to conflicts. Some are delighted by Lohengrin’s supernatural appearance and believe that he is sent from God. Others suspect that the figure of light is in league with evil powers. And Elsa – torn between faith and doubt – is caught in the middle. Finally, her curiosity brings about disaster: Elsa poses the forbidden question in the nuptial chamber…
Richard Wagner (1813–1883) had completed the score for “Lohengrin” by 1848, but the opera in Dresden declined to mount the work after Wagner had fallen from grace because of his political views. In 1849 he was exiled for his participation in the Revolution. He was thus unable to attend the world premiere of “Lohengrin”, which was finally held in Weimar in 1850. It was not until eleven years later, in Vienna, that the composer first experienced his work on stage.
Leslie Suganandarajah conducts “Lohengrin” at the Felsenreitschule, making his debut as the Musical Director of the Salzburg State Theatre. In the 2017/2018 season he had great success in Salzburg as a guest conductor with the ballet production “Cinderella”. Roland Schwab studied music theatre directing with Götz Friedrich in Hamburg and has directed several much-acclaimed productions at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Bavarian State Opera.
In German with German and English surtitles