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10 February 2019 (Sun), 19:00 Moscow theatre "New Opera" - Opera "Lohengrin" - R.Wagner (Opera in three acts)

Running time: 3 hours 40 minutes

Schedule for "Lohengrin" - R.Wagner (Opera in three acts) 2019

Composer: Richard Wagner
Choirmaster producer: Natalya Popovich

Orchestra: Symphony Orchestra of the "New Opera" Theatre

Performed in Italian

Opera in three acts
Performed in German

Music Director and Conductor Jan Latham-Koenig
Conductor Valery Kritskov
Stage Director Kasper Holten
Assistant Stage Director Mette Hedegaard
Set and Costume Designer Steffen Aarfing
Lighting Designer Jesper Kongshaug
Viktor Kuturaev
Andrey Lazarev
Igor Manko

For the first time in 70 years, Richard Wagners Lohengrin has been staged in Moscow. The old tale of Lohengrin, the mysterious knight of the Holy Grail, is romantic and, at the same time, frightening. The knight plays a decisive role both in the fate of Elsa, who is slanderously accused of having murdered her missing brother, and of the country plunged into chaos. He comes to Elsa's rescue and is ready to lead the country on condition that she never asks his name or origin. The girl breaks her oath, asking her beloved to reveal his mystery. Lohengrin discloses his identity, bringing Elsas brother back to her, but has to leave her for ever.

To work on its production of the opera, the Novaya Opera Theatre has invited Maestro Jan Latham-Koenig, a leading European conductor and a connoisseur of Wagnerian style, who many times conducted Lohengrin in different opera houses of the world. The maestro has always considered Wagner a special composer because of his unique music personality. What interests him in Lohengrin is not only the splendid music, but also the operas philosophic and historical aspects. According to Latham-Koenig, the production of Wagners Lohengrin in Novaya Opera is an important cultural event.

Novaya Operas Lohengrin has been produced by director Kasper Bech Holten and set designer Steffen Aarfing of the Danish Royal Opera, who scored a tremendous success with their staging of the four-opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelung at the Danish Royal Opera in 2003-2006.

Says Kasper Holten: "The opera "Lohengrin" is interesting from two viewpoints. First, it is a love story in which a woman tries to love a man whom she will never be able to fully understand. Second, it is a story of a society in crisis, searching for a new way of development. The main hero, who at first looks bright and brilliant, may turn out not to be the one we are taking him for. As the story progresses, we begin to doubt whether he is really a hero."


The operas of Richard Wagner have rarely been performed in Moscow in modern times.
<...>It came as quite a surprise, therefore, when Novaya Opera announced its decision to present Wagner's "Lohengrin" as its first new production of the current season. Though the theater has recently taken on two of the thorniest works in the entire operatic repertoire, Vincenzo Bellini's "Norma" and Giuseppe Verdi's "Nabucco", with great success, it nevertheless seemed reasonable to question whether musical resources were really available for such a huge undertaking as "Lohengrin."
The answer, at least as based on a preview performance at the end of February, turned out to be a resounding "yes."
<> Novaya Opera has long shown a knack for coming up with outstanding interpretations of very difficult roles by previously unheralded young soloists.<> Indeed, Novaya Opera managed to find a truly outstanding Wagner interpreter for every solo part, a feat that no other Moscow opera house, including the Bolshoi, could likely match with its current roster of vocal talent.
Director Holten gave the opera a nicely delineated staging of high European standard, much aided by the abstract, vaguely Gothic sets and eclectic mixture of costumes by designer Steffen Aarfing. Holten's sympathy clearly seemed to lie on the side of the bewildered and distraught Elsa, with Lohengrin coming across more a cad than a hero.
Though his tempos occasionally seemed a bit rushed, conductor Latham-Koenig gave what was overall a noble and authoritative account of the opera and proved particularly skillful at maintaining the difficult balance between the large orchestral forces and the singers on stage.


Place: Biscay and Aragon (Spain)
Time: Fifteenth century.

Act 1
: The Duel

Scene 1: The guard room in the castle of Luna (The Palace of Aljafera, Zaragoza, Spain)
Ferrando, the captain of the guards, orders his men to keep watch while Count di Luna wanders restlessly beneath the windows of Leonora, lady-in-waiting to the Princess. Di Luna loves Leonora, and is jealous of his successful rival, the troubadour Manrico. In order to keep the guards awake, Ferrando narrates the history of the count to the guard. (Aria: Di due figli vivea padre beato / "The good Count di Luna lived happily, the father of two sons"). Many years ago a gypsy was wrongfully accused of having bewitched the youngest of the di Luna children, the child died and for this the gypsy had been burnt alive as a witch over her protests of innocence. Dying, she had commanded her daughter Azucena to avenge her, which she did by abducting the other baby. Although the burnt bones of a child were found in the ashes of the pyre, the father refused to believe in his son's death; dying, he commanded the new Count di Luna to seek Azucena.

Scene 2: Garden in the palace of the princess
Leonora confesses her love for Manrico to her confidante, Ines. (Tacea la notte placida / "The peaceful night lay silent"... Di tale amor / "A love that words can scarcely describe"). When they have gone, Count di Luna hears the voice of his rival, Manrico, in the distance: (Deserto sulla terra / "Alone upon this earth"). While Leonora in the darkness mistakes the count for her lover, Manrico himself enters the garden, and she rushes to his arms. The count recognises Manrico as his enemy, who has been condemned to death due to his political affiliations and challenges him to a duel over their common love. Leonora tries to intervene, but cannot stop them from fighting (Trio: Di geloso amor sprezzato / "The fire of jealous love" ).

Act 2: The Gypsy Woman

Scene 1
: The gypsies' camp
"Stride la vampa"
From act 2. Sung by Gabriella Besanzoni in 1920.
Problems listening to this file? See media help.
The gypsies sing the Anvil Chorus: Vedi le fosche notturne / "See! The endless sky casts off her sombre nightly garb.."). Azucena, the daughter of the Gypsy burnt by the count, is still haunted by her duty to avenge her mother. (Aria: Stride la vampa / "The flames are roaring!"). The Gypsies break camp while Azucena confesses to Manrico that after stealing the di Luna baby she had intended to burn the count's little son along with her mother, but overwhelmed by the screams and the gruesome scene of her mother's execution, she became confused and threw her own child into the flames instead (Aria: Condotta ell'era in ceppi / "They dragged her in bonds"). Manrico realises that he is not the son of Azucena, but loves her as if she were indeed his mother, as she has always been faithful and loving to him. Manrico tells Azucena that he defeated Di Luna in their duel, but was held back from killing him by a mysterious power (Duet: Mal reggendo / "He was helpless under my savage attack"). A messenger arrives and reports that Leonora, who believes Manrico dead, is about to enter a convent and take the veil that night. Although Azucena tries to prevent him from leaving in his weak state (Ferma! Son io che parlo a te! / "I must talk to you"), Manrico rushes away to prevent her from carrying out this purpose.

Scene 2
: In front of the convent
Di Luna and his attendants intend to abduct Leonora and the Count sings of his love for her (Aria: Il balen del suo sorriso / "The light of her smile" ... Per me ora fatale / "Fatal hour of my life"). Leonora and the nuns appear in procession, but Manrico prevents Di Luna from carrying out his plans and instead, takes Leonora away with him.

Act 3: The Son of the Gypsy Woman

Scene 1
: Di Luna's camp Di Luna and his army are attacking the fortress where Manrico has taken refuge with Leonora (Chorus: Or co' dadi ma fra poco / "Now we play at dice"). Ferrando drags in Azucena, who has been captured wandering near the camp. When she hears di Lunas name, Azucenas reactions arouse suspicion and Ferrando recognizes her as the murderer of the counts brother. Azucena cries out to her son Manrico to rescue her and the count realizes that he has the means to flush his enemy out of the fortress. He orders his men to build a pyre and burn Azucena before the walls.

Scene 2
: A chamber in the castle Inside the castle, Manrico and Leonora are preparing to be married. She is frightened; the battle with di Luna is imminent and Manricos forces are outnumbered. He assures her of his love (Aria, Manrico: Ah si, ben mio coll'essere / "Ah, yes, my love, in being yours"), even in the face of death. When news of Azucenas capture reaches him, he summons his men and desperately prepares to attack (Stretta: Di quella pira l'orrendo foco / "The horrid flames of that pyre"). Leonora faints.

Act 4: The Punishment

Scene 1
: Before the dungeon keep
Manrico has failed to free Azucena and has been imprisoned himself. Leonora attempts to free him (Aria: D'amor sull'ali rosee / "On the rosy wings of love"; Chorus & Duet: Miserere / "Lord, thy mercy on this soul") by begging Di Luna for mercy and offers herself in place of her lover. She promises to give herself to the count, but secretly swallows poison from her ring in order to die before Di Luna can possess her (Duet: Mira, d'acerbe lagrime / "See the bitter tears I shed").

Scene 2: In the dungeon

"Se m'ami ancor ... Ai nostri monti ritorneremo"

Schedule for "Lohengrin" - R.Wagner (Opera in three acts) 2019

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