Lohengrin premiered in 1850 in Weimar. It is a Romantic opera in three acts by Wagner, lasting around three and a half hours. Its literary source is the German medieval epic poem Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach. The Swan Knight, Lohengrin, is one of the keepers of the Holy Grail and is actually the son of Parsifal (who is the hero of Wagner’s last drama, written around 30 years later). With its fairytale atmosphere, Lohengrin is the continuation of a cycle started by another Wagner opera, The Fairies (“Die Feen”), as musicologist Rubens Tedeschi notes. But in Lohengrin, joy and supernatural features are replaced by a hazy dream of the impossible. Nobody is allowed to know the Swan Knight’s name, and no one could predict that his lover Elsa’s thirst for knowledge would be her ruin. Wagner himself wrote in this regard: “Isn’t he ruined, the man who desires a God?” (“Ist der Mensch, der nach dem Gott sich sehnt, nicht vernichtet?”).
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Wagner’s Lohengrin premiered in 1850. Wagner was hoping that his public would be enchanted by his artistic revolution, but the unfavorable reception of his previous works, including The Flying Dutchman and Tannhäuser had dampened his inspiration. In his autobiography, Mein Leben, the German composer writes in this regard: “I felt I had been called to ask myself: where does it come from, and why? And for a long time my art disappeared when faced with these questions.” And yet, the composition of Lohengrin shows a perfect mastery of his artistic means. The most beautiful description of this masterpiece has been written by the French writer Baudelaire: “I felt liberated from gravity’s hold [...] And then I conceived the idea of a soul moving in a luminous space, made of ecstatic voluptuousness and knowledge, which was hovering over and very far from the natural world”. But Wagner’s Lohengrin didn’t cease to inspire many other writers, including Proust, who quotes it more than once in his seven-volume novel
In Search of Lost Time. Allow yourself to be inspired by the musical genius of Wagner: on medici.tv, you can hear many interpretations of Wagner’s most beautiful works, including Lohengrin, whenever you want, wherever you like!