Lohengrin by Richard Wagner, Act I, scene 3, 360° Video, São Paulo Municipal Theater

“Lohengrin”, by Wagner, in 360º at the São Paulo Municipal Theater. São Paulo Municipal Theater opens its curtains for experimentation with various cutting-edge technologies, recording of our montage of Richard Wagner’s “Lohengrin” with 360 degree cameras. In the video above, you will be able to see not only how our montage was, but also to choose which perspective to enjoy the show.

Lohengrin, WWV 75, is a Romantic opera in three acts composed and written by Richard Wagner, first performed in 1850. The story of the eponymous character is taken from medieval German romance, notably the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach and its sequel Lohengrin, itself inspired by the epic of Garin le Loherain. It is part of the Knight of the Swan legend.

The opera has inspired other works of art. King Ludwig II of Bavaria named his castle Neuschwanstein Castle after the Swan Knight. It was King Ludwig’s patronage that later gave Wagner the means and opportunity to compose, build a theatre for, and stage his epic cycle The Ring of the Nibelung.

The most popular and recognizable part of the opera is the Bridal Chorus, better known as “Here Comes the Bride”, often played as a processional at weddings in the West. The orchestral preludes to Acts I and III are also frequently performed separately as concert pieces.

Literary background
The literary figure of Lohengrin first appeared as a supporting character in the final chapter of the medieval epic poem Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach. The Grail Knight Lohengrin, son of the Grail King Parzival, is sent to the duchess of Brabant to defend her. His protection comes under the condition that she must never ask his name. If she violates this requirement, he will be forced to leave her. Wagner took up these characters and set the “forbidden question” theme at the core of a story which makes contrasts between the godly and the mundane, and between Early Middle Age Christendom and Germanic paganism. Wagner attempted at the same time to weave elements of Greek tragedy into the plot. He wrote the following in Mitteilungen an meine Freunde about his Lohengrin plans:

Who doesn’t know “Zeus and Semele?” The god is in love with a human woman and approaches her in human form. The lover finds that she cannot recognize the god in this form, and demands that he should make the real sensual form of his being known. Zeus knows that she would be destroyed by the sight of his real self. He suffers in this awareness, suffers knowing that he must fulfill this demand and in doing so ruin their love. He will seal his own doom when the gleam of his godly form destroys his lover. Is the man who craves for God not destroyed?

In composing Lohengrin, Wagner created a new form of opera, the through-composed music drama. The composition is not divided into individual numbers but played from scene to scene without any interruption. This style of composition contrasts with the conventional number opera, which is divided into arias, recitatives, and choral sections. Nevertheless, Lohengrin still contains lengthy performances—for example, Elsa’s “Alone in dark days” and Lohengrin’s Grail aria—which harken back to the classical solo aria form.

Wagner made extensive use of leitmotifs in his composition. Examples include the Grail motif first revealed in the prelude and the “question” motif first sung by Lohengrin to Elsa in Act I. These motifs allowed Wagner to precisely narrate the inner thoughts of the characters on stage, even without speech.


Act I
Foreplay and First Lift

The act begins with the arrival of King Henry I of Germania to the region after his herald was announced to summon the German tribes to expel the Hungarians from their lands. Count Friederich of Telramund acts as regent, since Duke Gottfried of Brabant, heir to the throne of Brabant, was still a minor. Gottfried had mysteriously disappeared, and Telramund, coerced by his wife, Ortrud, accuses Elsa of killing his brother and demands the duchy title for himself.

Surrounded by her bridesmaids comes Elsa, who, knowing she is innocent, declares her willingness to submit to God’s judgment through combat. She then summons the protector she dreamed of one night, and behold at the judgment comes a knight in a boat drawn by a swan. The arrival had taken place only after the herald’s second request. He agrees to fight for her as long as she never asks her name or origin, a proposal that he readily accepts. Telramund also accepts the challenge of trial by combat to prove the word of his accusation.

The knight defeats Telramund in a duel, thus proving her divine protection and the princess’s innocence. However, it spares the loser’s life, declares Elsa innocent and proposes to her.

The prelude represents the aura of the Grail. The music begins with soft, high, spherical string sounds, swells to a mighty climax and disappears again into spherical pianissimo. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote that this music was “blue, of opiate, narcotic effect”.

At the beginning of the first lift Heinrich der Vogler sits on a floodplain on the banks of the Scheldt under a court oak to hold army show and court day in the principality of Brabant. He announces his intention to gather an army for a war against the Hungarians, in which Brabant will also participate with soldiers.

“Whether East or West, all are equal.
What German country is, set fighters.
Then probably nobody will revile the German Reich. ”

He also learned that a dispute over succession in the dynasty had flared up. He therefore calls Friedrich von Telramund to testify in court. He is the educator of Elsa and Gottfried, the children of the late Duke of Brabant. Telramund states that Gottfried disappeared in the woods on a walk with his sister. He therefore accused her of fratricide, even though she was actually promised to him as a bride. He himself married Ortrud, the last descendant of the Frisian prince Radbod. Therefore, he claims additionally the princely dignity of Brabant:

“I am rightly speaking to this country,
for I am the next of the Duke’s blood.
My wife of the generation,
who once gave his land to his princes. ”

Interrogated by the King, Elsa only says “My poor brother”. She explains that in the dream she appeared to a knight who would protect and defend her (Elsa’s dream narration: “Lonely in gloomy days”).

King Henry orders a judicial battle as divine judgment, basically a farce, because the present knights refuse to fight Telramund (“we are fighting only for you”). Asked who should represent her in battle, Elsa says that she will be assisted by the God-sent warrior whom she saw in the dream.

At the royal call of the warriors, first no fighter for Elsa. Only when she prays herself does a boat appear, which is pulled by a swan. On it stands a strange knight in light armor. Not only does he want to argue for Elsa, but he also wants to stop her. Both are linked to a condition:

“Never should you question me,
nor take care of knowledge,
whence I came the ride,
nor my name and kind.”

The knights announce to the assembled people that Elsa of Brabant is guiltless. It comes to a duel in which the stranger defeats the Earl of Telramund. The stranger refrains from killing Telramund (“By God’s victory, your life is mine now – I give it to you, may the Reu ‘consecrate it”). With general rejoicing Elsa sinks her savior in the arms.

Act II
Second elevator

The act begins outside the cathedral at night. Together Telramund and Ortrud lament their present situation, morally banished from the community. Ortrud is a pagan, deals with magic, and devises a plan of revenge for Elsa to ask the knight the forbidden questions, causing him to leave. With the first light of morning, Elsa appears on the balcony, sees Ortrud in the courtyard, laments her situation and invites her to attend the wedding ceremony. Unobserved, Telramund leaves the scene. Ortrud begins the conspiracy, saying that there must be something in the knight’s life that shames him, something that makes him want to deny his past.

In another scene, the population gathers, and the herald announces that the king had offered the knight the Duchy of Brabant. He however declines the offer, wishing to be known only as “Protector of Brabant.” When the king, the unknown knight, Elsa and his bridesmaids were about to enter the church, Ortrud appears and accuses the knight of being a magician, which is why he won the dispute. Telramund also appears and claims to have been a victim of fraud because even his opponent’s name he did not know. The knight refuses to reveal his identity, saying that only Elsa has the right to know her, and not even the king would be worth knowing. Elsa, though shaken by the allegations of Ortrud and Telramund, assures the knight of his loyalty, and they enter the church.

It dawns the day after the duel. In front of the palace Count Friedrich von Telramund laments the loss of his honor and accuses his wife of having misled him into misrepresenting Elsa. Ortrud accuses him of cowardice towards the strange knight, in which she does not see a hero sent by God, but a being “strong in spells”. The reluctant Telramund (“You wild seer, how do you mysteriously ruin the spirit me again”) convinced Ortrud that he was wronged and the stranger could win the duel only with the help of a spell. The two decide to mislead Elsa, her hero the forbidden question of “Nam ‘and Art”to deliver. In the event that this fails, Ortrud advises the use of force against the foreign hero (“Jed ‘being, strong by magic, it will wrest from the body’s smallest member only, must soon faint as it is!”),

Shortly afterwards, they see Elsa on the balcony of her bower. Telramund retires at the urging of his wife. Ortrud appears to be remorseful to Elsa, who is about to marry, and succeeds in arousing Elsa’s compassion and being admitted to the palace. Triumphantly she calls the “desecrated gods” Wodan and Freia for their assistance. Elsa is only too happy to forgive everyone and Ortrud. In a confidential conversation outside the Porte, Ortrud suggests that it may be a dark skill from which the stranger is forced to hide his name. Elsa rejects all doubts and takes Ortrud to the palace.

A musical interlude leads to the dawn. From the towers sound trumpet signals. The king’s warrior calls the Brabantans and proclaims that Telramund, as the laws require, “because he unfaithfully dared to fight the divine”, fell in love. The “foreign, God-sent man,” however, is to be entrusted with the Duchy of Brabant: “But the hero does not want to be a duke; you shall tell him to, Protector of Brabant ‘ “. The Heerrufer announces that the stranger will marry Elsa on the same day to lead the Brabanter the next day and follow King Henry on the campaign.

At the edge of the scene, four Brabant nobles express their displeasure at their involvement in Henry’s campaign against a far-flung threat. Telramund appears and informs that he could prevent the stranger in the campaign and that he had falsified the court of God by a spell. The four nobles drag Telramund into the church.

From the castle moves the bridal train with Elsa to the cathedral. He has just reached the steps in front of the portal, when Ortrud Elsa represents the way and demands the precedence for himself on the grounds that they stem from a respected race, while Elsa is not even able to name her husband. Elsa points her back, referring to the Reichsacht, which her husband had forfeited. King Henry appears with the stranger, and Ortrud must retreat before it.

The wedding procession rearranges itself; Then the outlaw Telramund appears and accuses the stranger of the spell, but the complaint is dismissed. The outlaw argues for Elsa to ask the forbidden question, but Elsa struggles to reaffirm her confidence in her hero. The wedding procession moves into the cathedral with the stranger and the unsettled Elsa.

Third elevator

The wedding ceremony takes place, and the two express their love with each other. But Elsa, persuaded by Ortrud, breaks the pact with the knight, now her husband, by asking her forbidden questions. In the same scene, Telramund appears to attack the knight, but is killed by him, who then turns to Elsa and asks her to accompany him, in the presence of the king, to reveal the mystery of his identity.

It changes the scene, turning to the place of the first act. The troops arrive for war. Telramund’s body is brought. The knight explains the murder before the king and then, before all, announces his true identity: he is Lohengrin, a knight of the Holy Grail, son of King Parsifal. It also reveals that he had been sent by the Grail to prove Elsa’s innocence, but it was time to return.

To Elsa’s sadness, the swan reappears, indicating Lohengrin’s departure. He prays for the return of Elsa’s missing brother. The swan disappears into the water and reappears in the form of young Gottfried, who had been turned into an animal by the spell of Ortrud. A pigeon appears from the sky and, taking the swan’s place, guides Lohengrin back to the Holy Grail castle.

The newlywed couple moves into the bridal chamber with singing (bridal march ” faithfully led “). It comes to the first confidential conversation of the two. Elsa says that she would be an unknown husband even if Ortrud’s suspicions were true. He wants to reassure her and points to his high background, which he gave up for her (“The only thing my sacrifice deserves, I must see in your love” and “out of splendor and bliss I come from”), which makes Elsa really afraid not to satisfy him and to lose him someday. And so she asks the knight for his name. At that moment, Telramund enters the room. It comes to a fight, during which Telramund is struck by the stranger.

In the last scene, the people are gathered to say goodbye to the assembled army and King Henry. The four nobles bring the body of Telramund before the king. The stranger accuses Telramund of the ambush and Elsa the infidelity. She had asked him the forbidden question about his name and his origin, and he now had to answer it. He could therefore remain neither as a husband nor as a military leader in Brabant. Then he describes his origin. He tells of the Grail Palace of Montsalvat and the divine power given to the Keepers of the Grail as long as they fought unrecognized for the right. But if they were recognized, they would have to leave the sheltered ones. He himself is the son of the Grail king Parzival, and his name is Lohengrin:

“In the far country, aloof from your steps,
lies a castle called Monsalvat;
a bright temple stands there in the midst,
as precious as anything unknown on earth;

a vessel of miraculous blessing
is guarded there as the highest sanctuary.
It was that his purest man’s fostered, brought
down by an angelic crowd.

Every year, a dove approaches from heaven,
to renew his miracle power:
it is called the Grail, and blessedly pure faith is
given by him to his knighthood.

He who chooses to serve the Grail, he
equips with supernatural power;
where every evil thing is lost,
when he sees him, night gives way to death;

even those who have sent him away to distant lands,
appointed martyrs for virtue,
are not stolen from his holy power,
remain unrecognized as his knight there.

So noble is the blessing of the Grail,
revealed it must flee the lay eye;
The Knight’s drum should not doubt her, you
recognize him – then he has to pull from you.

Now listen, as I reward forbidden question:
So I was sent to you from the Grail:
My father Parzival wears his crown,
his knight I – am called Lohengrin. ”

The king would defeat the Hungarians without him.

“Yes, great King, let me prophesy to you: You have been given a great victory.”
Turning to Elsa, Lohengrin goes on to say that it took only a year and Gottfried returned to Brabant.

Despite Elsa’s pleading and the King’s urging, Lohengrin can not stay. The swan with the boat returns and takes Lohengrin with him. In terrible triumph, Ortrud exclaims that she has recognized the swan as the missing godfrey, whom she herself has enchanted.

“On the little chain that I wove around him, I saw well, who that swan: it is the heir of Brabant!”
On Lohengrin’s prayer, Gottfried is already redeemed, even before the end of the year. The boat in which Lohengrin leaves sadly (directing) moves away. Ortrud sinks dead with a scream, Elsa dies of mental exhaustion, the people (choir) gives his horror “woe! Oh! ” Known.

Performance history
The first production of Lohengrin was in Weimar, Germany, on 28 August 1850 at the Staatskapelle Weimar under the direction of Franz Liszt, a close friend and early supporter of Wagner. Liszt chose the date in honour of Weimar’s most famous citizen, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who was born on 28 August 1749. Despite the inadequacies of the lead tenor Karl Beck, it was an immediate popular success.

Wagner himself was unable to attend the first performance, having been exiled because of his part in the 1849 May Uprising in Dresden. Although he conducted various extracts in concert in Zurich, London, Paris and Brussels, it was not until 1861 in Vienna that he was able to attend a full performance.

The opera’s first performance outside German-speaking lands was in Riga on 5 February 1855. The Austrian premiere took place in Vienna at the Theater am Kärntnertor on 19 August 1858, with Róza Csillag as Ortrud. The work was produced in Munich for the first time at the National Theatre on 16 June 1867, with Heinrich Vogl in the title role and Mathilde Mallinger as Elsa. Mallinger also took the role of Elsa in the work’s premiere at the Berlin State Opera on 6 April 1869.

Lohengrin’s Russian premiere, outside Riga, took place at the Mariinsky Theatre on 16 October 1868.

The Belgian premiere of the opera was given at La Monnaie on 22 March 1870 with Étienne Troy as Friedrich of Telramund and Feliciano Pons as Heinrich der Vogler.

The United States premiere of Lohengrin took place at the Stadt Theater at the Bowery in New York City on 3 April 1871. Conducted by Adolf Neuendorff, the cast included Theodor Habelmann as Lohengrin, Luise Garay-Lichtmay as Elsa, Marie Frederici as Ortrud, Adolf Franosch as Heinrich and Edward Vierling as Telramund. The first performance in Italy took place seven months later at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna on 1 November 1871 in an Italian translation by operatic baritone Salvatore Marchesi. It was notably the first performance of any Wagner opera in Italy. Angelo Mariani conducted the performance, which starred Italo Campanini as Lohengrin, Bianca Blume as Elsa, Maria Löwe Destin as Ortrud, Pietro Silenzi as Telramund, and Giuseppe Galvani as Heinrich der Vogler. The performance on 9 November was attended by Giuseppe Verdi, who annotated a copy of the vocal score with his impressions and opinions of Wagner (this was almost certainly his first exposure to Wagner’s music).

La Scala produced the opera for the first time on 30 March 1873, with Campanini as Lohengrin, Gabrielle Krauss as Elsa, Philippine von Edelsberg as Ortrud, Victor Maurel as Friedrich, and Gian Pietro Milesi as Heinrich.

The United Kingdom premiere of Lohengrin took place at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on 8 May 1875 using the Italian translation by Marchesi. Auguste Vianesi conducted the performance, which featured Ernesto Nicolini as Lohengrin, Emma Albani as Elsa, Anna D’Angeri as Ortruda, Maurel as Friedrich, and Wladyslaw Seideman as Heinrich. The opera’s first performance in Australia took place at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Melbourne on 18 August 1877. The Metropolitan Opera mounted the opera for the first time on 7 November 1883, in Italian, during the company’s inaugural season. Campanini portrayed the title role with Christina Nilsson as Elsa, Emmy Fursch-Madi as Ortrud, Giuseppe Kaschmann as Telramund, Franco Novara as Heinrich, and Auguste Vianesi conducting.

Lohengrin was first publicly performed in France at the Eden-Théâtre in Paris on 30 April 1887 in a French translation by Charles-Louis-Étienne Nuitter. Conducted by Charles Lamoureux, the performance starred Ernest van Dyck as the title hero, Fidès Devriès as Elsa, Marthe Duvivier as Ortrud, Emil Blauwaert as Telramund, and Félix-Adolphe Couturier as Heinrich. There was however an 1881 French performance given as a Benefit, in the Cercle de la Méditerranée Salon at Nice, organized by Sophie Cruvelli, in which she took the role of Elsa. The opera received its Canadian premiere at the opera house in Vancouver on 9 February 1891 with Emma Juch as Elsa. The Palais Garnier staged the work for the first time the following 16 September with van Dyck as Lohengrin, Rose Caron as Elsa, Caroline Fiérens-Peters as Ortrude, Maurice Renaud as Telramund, and Charles Douaillier as Heinrich.

The first Chicago performance of the opera took place at the Auditorium Building (now part of Roosevelt University) on 9 November 1891. Performed in Italian, the production starred Jean de Reszke as the title hero, Emma Eames as Elsa, and Édouard de Reszke as Heinrich.

Lohengrin was first performed as part of the Bayreuth Festival in 1894, in a production directed by the composer’s widow, Cosima Wagner and featured Willi Birrenkoven, Ernst van Dyck, Emil Gerhäuser alternating as Lohengrin, Lillian Nordica as Elsa, Marie Brema as Ortude, Demeter Popovic as Telramund and was conducted by Felix Mottl. It received 6 performances in its first season in the opera house that Wagner built for the presentation of his works.

A typical performance has a duration of about 3 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours 50 minutes.

Flights famous musical
Lohengrin is an opera that makes great use of leitmotiv, confirming the beginning of the Wagnerian tradition initiated by Der fliegende Holländer. There is no division of opera into “numbers” (arias, duets, trios, etc.). However, famous passages include the prelude to the third act and the celebrated bridal choir that follows it (Treulich geführt), which is widely used in contemporary wedding ceremonies.

According to Wagner’s conception, the role of Lohengrin is assumed by a tenor, while that of Elsa de Brabant is that of a soprano. Friedrich de Telramund is a baritone, and his wife Ortrud is assumed by a mezzo-soprano. King Henry I is a bass, as is his herald. The four nobles of Brabant are a mix of tenors and lows, while the four bridesmaids are a mix of sopranos and contralto. Gottfried, Elsa’s brother, is silent in the work. Also present in the work is a choir composed by the people of Brabant who observe the plot.

São Paulo Municipal Theater
Municipal Theatre of São Paulois a theatre in São Paulo, Brazil, one of the most important theaters in Brazil and one of the postcards of the city of São Paulo. Located in the center of the city, in Ramos de Azevedo Square, it was inaugurated in 1911 to meet the desire of the São Paulo elite of the time, who wanted the city to live up to the great cultural centers.

The Theatro Municipal de São Paulo was built in the city following the great cosmopolitan aspirations of the early 20th century. On May 27, 2011, the Theatro was transferred from the City’s Secretary of Culture to become a public Foundation, who runs the notorious artistic groups: Orquestra Sinfônica Municipal de São Paulo, Coro Lírico Municipal de São Paulo, Balé da Cidade de São Paulo, Quarteto de Cordas da Cidade de São Paulo, Coral Paulistano Mário de Andrade, Orquestra Experimental de Repertório, Escola Municipal de Música de São Paulo and the Escola de Dança de São Paulo. The Foundation also manage the venues: Theatro Municipal de São Paulo, Central Técnica do Theatro Municipal and Praça das Artes.