Sunday Jan 20, 2013
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Opera in Cinema presents this deeply romantic story.
René Pape, Jonas Kaufmann and Annette Dasch star in Lohengrin from Teatro alla Scala in Milan, with Daniel Barenboim at the podium. Wagner’s deeply romantic opera about a chivalrous but anonymous knight marked his first exploration of leitmotifs, a musical innovation that changed the history of opera. It is the story of a knight, the prince of Christianity, who comes to the rescue of the mild Elsa of Brabant, to save her from a dishonorable accusation of fratricide. The disappearance of Gottfried, Elsa’s brother, is actually the work of Ortrud the witch, who belongs to the world of the dark divinities of ancient Germany. Lohengrin asks for Elsa’s hand in marriage but anonymously: as the custodian of the Holy Grail, he cannot say who he is and where he comes from. However, Elsa cannot control her doubt and curiosity, and demands to know who he is. He gives in but is forced to leave forever, this time in a boat pulled by a dove in flight. The production is staged by director Claus Guth, who aroused no end of admiration last Season with Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten.