Years in the making, this new production of Richard Wagner's Lohengrin will be staged in 2012, which marks 15 years since the inaugural series of operas performed when the NNTT first opened its doors. Back then in 1997, the NNTT was staging a new production by the late Wolfgang Wagner, the grandson of the composer himself. At the time, Wolfgang Wagner was director of the Bayreuther Festspiele, which is dedicated solely to the performance of Wagner operas. Richard Wagner called this opera "the saddest of my creations". The younger Wagner's production featured an imposing set, and was based on a sophisticated and orthodox interpretation. The person in charge of this new production is Matthias von Stegmann, a man who worked for more than 15 years as an assistant to such directors as Wolfgang Wagner and Alfred Kirchner at the Bayreuth Festival Theatre. Stegmann made his debut as a full-fledged opera director with the 2007 production of Der fliegende Holländer at the NNTT. rosalie, the artist in charge of stage design and costume design, also worked at the Bayreuther Festspiele. We look forward with great anticipation to this collaborative effort between the two. In the title role will be Klaus Florian Vogt, whose interpretation of Lohengrin is one of the best of any singer today. The cast also includes Ricarda Merbeth among several of the world's finest Wagnerian singers. Wielding the baton will be conductor Peter Schneider, renowned worldwide as one of the foremost conductors of German opera. On the eve of the bicentenary of Wagner's birth in 2013, we invite you to experience the new NNTT production of Lohengrin.
In Antwerp, on the banks of the River Scheldt.
Heinrich der Vogler (Henry the Fowler), King of the Germans, has come to the Duchy of Brabant to gather troops to fight with him in the Eastern campaign. Count Friedrich von Telramund, a member of one of Brabantfs noble families, comes to the king with a grievance. Before he died, the previous Duke of Brabant entrusted the care of his son and daughter to Telramund. The boy, who was to succeed his father as duke, has gone missing; Telramund believes that his sister Elsa has murdered him. Telramund, at the prodding of his wife Ortrud, a pagan witch, is plotting to seize the throne for himself. Elsa is in a predicament. To prove her innocence, she offers to submit to Godfs judgment through the ordeal of combat. She needs someone to fight Telramund on her behalf. As if in answer to her prayers, a knight she has seen in a dream appears in a boat drawn by a white swan. The knight defeats Telramund and Elsafs innocence is proven.
The knight and Elsa are to be married, but on the condition that she promise never to ask his name or where he has come from. Meanwhile, Telramund and Ortrud, who have been banished, are even now plotting their revenge. Ortrud implants misgivings about the knight in Elsafs mind.
Elsa is wracked by inner conflict. On their wedding night, she asks the forbidden question. The knight is momentarily weakened, and Telramund attacks. But Telramund is slain, and the knight reveals that he is Lohengrin, Knight of the Holy Grail and son of King Parsifal. The swan reappears to collect the knight. Suddenly, the swan turns back into Elsafs brother Gottfried, who had been turned into the swan by Ortrud's witchcraft. The knight Lohengrin departs.