1. WAGNER'S BELOVED OPERA, BETWEEN TRADITION AND INNOVATION
In Richard Wagner’s evolving oeuvre, there’s a noticeable shift away from the traditional structure of opera — the clearly defined elements like arias, duets, ensembles and choruses. Instead, he spins an uninterrupted musical web, adeptly creating and maintaining dramatic tension. Lohengrin, a seminal work from his middle period, stands as a bridge between these worlds. While it resonates with the traditions Wagner inherited, it also foreshadows his avant-garde aspirations. The opera features prolonged solos for its protagonists, yet these emerge naturally from and subsequently dissolve back into the overarching musical narrative.
2. LORENZO VIOTTI’S FIRST WAGNER
Lorenzo Viotti, Chief Conductor of Dutch National Opera and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, has been approached numerous times to conduct Wagner’s masterpieces. However, he judiciously declined these offers, awaiting the ideal circumstances. “I needed to allow Wagner’s universe to mature within me. Conducting his works demands a certain composure in one’s conducting style to truly shape the boundless realm of his music.” That moment has finally arrived. Viotti’s much-anticipated first Wagner performance will be heard in Amsterdam, where he can refine his interpretation to the minutest detail alongside his own orchestra.
3. THE RETURN OF CHRISTOF LOY
German director Christof Loy has an unparalleled ability to delve into the psychological and emotional core of the works he stages. His 2019 production of Wagner’s Tannhauser was selected as the ‘production of the year’ by the Friends of Dutch National Opera, and his staging of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Königskinder in the past opera season garnered enthusiastic acclaim. “A staging that shines with poignant beauty,” wrote critic Peter van der Lint in Trouw. Given its elongated melodies, foreboding motifs and grand drama, Wagner’s Lohengrin is a perfect fit for Loy.
4. SET DESIGN BY PHILIPP FÜRHOFER
The set design for Lohengrin is the work of the German artist and designer Philipp Fürhofer. Distinctive features of his sets include the use of mirror foil, painted elements and light effects. Through these, he creates mysterious and dream-like settings, engaging in a nuanced interplay of what the audience does and doesn’t see. Previously, he designed the sets and costumes for Stefan Hermein’s productions at Dutch National Opera of Tchaikovsky Jevgeni Onegin and Pique Dame. These are impressive, mirrored realms that offer opportunities for psychological depth.
5. TOP SOLOISTS
An exceptional ensemble of Wagnerian vocalists has been gathered for this production of Lohengrin. German tenor Daniel Behle, who portrayed Der Königssohn in Königskinder in Amsterdam last season, is the ideal Swan Knight with his lyrical timbre. The charismatic soprano Malin Byström, having delivered luminous performances as Salome and Tosca at DNO, now makes her debut as Elsa. The roles of the menacing duo, Friedrich von Telramund and Ortrud, are impeccably cast with renowned Wagnerian singers: Thomas Johannes (who previously portrayed Wotan in Der Ring des Nibelungen) and Martina Serafin (previously Brünnhilde in Die Walküre).