Lohengrin Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
The opera with ‘the’ Bridal Chorus returns to Amsterdam
Even after the busy Wagner Year, Dutch National Opera continues to programme operas by the great innovator from Bayreuth. Pierre Audi’s staging of Lohengrin in 2002 was enthusiastically received, with particular acclaim for artist Jannis Kounellis’s decor and the costumes by Angelo Figus.
Although Richard Wagner called Lohengrin a ‘Romantic opera’, the work presages his later music dramas. Certain sections can be seen as independent musical numbers, but the work is a through-composed entity. Even the famous Bridal Chorus, often performed separately, only truly comes into its own in the context of the opera. Romantic elements include the medieval setting and the character of the Knight of the Swan. As a higher being, he determines the destiny of the lead characters. His name, however, must remain a secret: a typical fairytale theme! The contrasts between Christianity and heathen forces give the opera extra tension.
Foto: Ruth Walz
Foto: Ruth Walz
The Italian-Greek visual artist Jannis Kounellis makes installations that, even in a museum, come across as ‘theatrical’. His strength is in the way he enters into a dialogue with the space. Kounellis uses pure, raw materials: metal, wood, stone, wool and jute. He designed a taut and imposing decor, with a large steel wall, like a closed-off world.
Pierre AudiDirector of Dutch National Opera, resident director
PIERRE AUDI (stage director) became director of De Nederlandse Opera in 1988. As of 1 January 2013 he has become Director of Dutch National Opera. In the twenty-five years of his leadership of Dutch National Opera and its forerunner, De Nederlandse Opera, he is credited with giving the Netherlands its own opera tradition. His combined vision and audacity have earned him respect, both in the Netherlands and far beyond its borders, as both the Director of Dutch National Opera and as a stage director.
Marc AlbrechtChief Conductor
Marc Albrecht, Chief Conductor of The Dutch National Opera and The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra is known not only for his interpretations of works by Wagner and Richard Strauss, but also for his affinity for contemporary music.
In the four lead roles: Nikolai Schukoff (DNO debut) as Lohengrin, Juliane Banse as Elsa (earlier at DNO as Aminta in Il re pastore), Yevgeny Nikitin (DNO debut) as Telramund and Michaela Schuster (Ortrud), who sang Klytämnestra in Elektra and Waltraute in Götterdämmerung. The Chorus of Dutch National Opera has a prominent role in Lohengrin.
Team, Cast and Chorus
- Musical Director
- Marc Albrecht
- Stage Director
- Pierre Audi
- Jannis Kounellis
- Angelo Figus
- Lighting design
- Jean Kalman
- Klaus Bertisch
- Chorus of Dutch National Opera
- Chorus Master
- Ching-Lien Wu
- Heinrich der Vogler
- Günther Groissböck
- Nikolai Schukoff
- Elsa von Brabant
- Juliane Banse
- Friedrich von Telramund
- Evgeny Nikitin
- Michaela Schuster
- Der Heerrufer des Königs
- Bastiaan Everink
- Vier brabantische Edle
- Pascal Pittie
- Vier Edelknaben
- Tomoko Makuuchi
Elsa von Brabant is accused of having murdered her brother, Gottfried. When she beseeches God to come to her aid, a mysterious knight appears. He defends her in combat, and wins. Elsa and the knight fall in love and plan to marry. But Elsa must never ask him his name. Under pressure from others, however, she does so, upon which the knight is forced to abandon her after bringing back Gottfried. He announces Gottfried as the future leader of the divided German people; the idea of a unified Germany reflects Wagner’s own political views.
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra
The Netherlands’ finest orchestras are invited to accompany DNO productions. Our regular partner is the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Under former chief conductor Hartmut Haenchen the orchestra cemented its excellent reputation with Der Ring des Nibelungen. In 2014-2015: Gurre-Lieder, Lohengrin, La bohème and Macbeth (Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra); Il viaggio a Reims and Die Zauberflöte (Netherlands Chamber Orchestra).
Every performance of National Opera & Ballet is preceded by an introductory talk. Learn more, enjoy more. The introduction begins 45 minutes before curtain and is held in the foyer of the second balcony. The introduction is free of charge to everyone attending the performance, and amplification is used to enhance audibility. Several days prior to the premiere, the introduction (in Dutch) will be made available digitally as a podcast. Listen to a short version of the Lohengrin introduction (in Dutch) by Marijke Schouten here.
View the printed programme (in Dutch, with an English summary) for Lohengrin here (PDF, 6.9 MB):Program book
‘Kounellis’s monumental, variegated metal decor elements […] are […] of an overwhelmingly poetic beauty. The opening scene, for starters, where a stage-high, four-storey steel wall slowly appears, revealing 104 chorus singers with, as a result, a marvellous choral sound with a rarely-heard frontality. The Chorus of DNO proves itself here to be an ensemble of the very highest calibre.’