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  • Writer's pictureladiesvoices

*Lohengrin,* March 14, 2023

Stephanie, Richard, and I saw *Lohengrin* at the Met on March 14, 2023.

It was the thing I was most looking forward to this season, I am CRAZY for *Lohengrin.* I'm nutty for Wagner and it's been my favorite Wagner opera for a few years. I went all the way to Munich in November of 2019 to see a production there. It was tremendous.

This is a new production for the Met, directed by François Girard. He had directed new productions of *Parsifal* and *The Flying Dutchman* over the last few seasons and we were impressed with both, especially *Parsifal,* so our hopes were up. The production was a little silly now and then but so is the opera so go figure. The first act set was maybe a cave? It had a big round hole cut out of the ceiling, through which we could see the rising moon. Numerous times, I guess it was supposed to convey the passage of time. Later the moon went away and we saw the stars moving around. I don't do it justice, it was a hypnotic accompaniment to the luminous overture. Stephanie said the visuals reminded her of the work of James Turrell:

The chorus has a huge role in this opera and I'm sure they were thrilled to be able to sit down! The first and third act sets had risers built in, so they could sit down when they weren't singing or doing any cape choreography (more about that later). BTW between the sci fi cave setting and the capes, to me the staging had a strong whiff of the original *Star Trek.* Never a bad thing.

*Lohengrin* is the story of a young woman, Elsa (dreamy soprano), who has been wrongfully accused of murdering her brother. The king (bass) and the tribunal (chorus) have assembled to hear her case. The man who has accused her, Friederich (beleaguered baritone) explains the story from his perspective. He's shadowed by his wife, Ortrud (witchy soprano). The king has said this will be a trial by combat - - the winner of the swordfight will be in the right, the loser will be in the wrong.

The king asks Elsa who will be defending her and she tells everyone that she's had a dream about a knight in shining armor who will come to rescue her. And wouldn't you know he DOES. This is Lohengrin (dreamy tenor). He says he's there to defend Elsa, he defeats the baritone in the duel but shows him mercy. He tells Elsa that he loves her and wants to marry her but only on the condition that she never ask his name or where he comes from.