Bayreuth’s Lohengrin: First reviews

Bayreuth’s Lohengrin: First reviews


norman lebrecht

July 26, 2018

Reinhard J. Brembeck in the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports a symphony of colours:

Third act is increasingly orange. Lohengrin lives out his sadistic passions on Elsa. And she mutates from the frightened waif to a self-determined orange-clad woman, it is she who dumps her husband. At the end, her brother comes back… a green man, he is like Elsa a bearer of hope in the world of uniform grey men….

Im dritten Akt dann zunehmend Orange. Lohengrin lebt an Elsa seine sadistischen Leidenschaften aus. Und dabei mutiert sie vom verschreckten Angstwesen zu einer in Orange gekleideten selbstbestimmten Frau. Sie ist es, die ihren Gatten abserviert. Am Ende kommt ihr Bruder wieder, den sie angeblich ermordet haben soll, weshalb sie zu Beginn fast auf dem Scheiterhaufen verbrannt worden wäre. Der Bruder ist der grüne Mann, er ist wie Elsa ein Hoffnungsträger in der Welt der uniformen Graumenschen. Deshalb sinkt hier dann auch nicht Elsa wie bei Wagner am Ende entseelt zu Boden, sondern die frauenfeindlichen und kriegslüsternen Heerscharen. Und im Hintergrund bleibt auch Ortrud stehen. Den beiden Frauen wird die Zukunft gehören.


Berhnard Neuhoff, BR-Klassik:

While the energy on the stage gets stuck in the transformer box, music director Christian Thielemann chases high-voltage flashes through the Festspielhaus. He lures and directs, drives and stretches, spins infinite lines, reveals exciting details and unleashes explosive impulses. What is designed so pleasurable, impulsive and inspired from the moment, is at the same time technically admirably implemented safely: calculated state of intoxication, precise magic. The singers are never covered, and the brilliantly performing festival orchestra follows Thielemann with audible joy of playing.

Während die Energie auf der Bühne im Trafohäuschen stecken bleibt, jagt Musikdirektor Christian Thielemann Hochspannungs-Blitze durchs Festspielhaus. Er lockt und lenkt, treibt und dehnt, spinnt unendliche Linien, legt aufregende Details frei und entfesselt explosive Triebkräfte. Was da so lustvoll, impulsiv und inspiriert aus dem Augenblick heraus gestaltet wird, ist zugleich technisch bewundernswert sicher umgesetzt: kalkulierte Rauschzustände, präzise Zauberei. Die Sänger werden nie zugedeckt, und das brillant musizierende Festspiel-Orchester folgt Thielemann mit hörbarer Spielfreude.


Augsburger Allgemeine: An uneven Lohengrin

RP-ONline: A discount Wagner


  • urania says:

    It is always interesting to see what is done with Wagner’s operas. Without any connection to a ‘higher realm’ of existence productions turn out to be a wild ride of imagination à la Kindergarten productions, which might turn out much better.

    Musically I did enjoy it mostly, during a drive in a gorgeous country side. Glad that I did not need to see this dreadful play. I always wonder why nature can unfold its beauty in the midst of so much neglect in hearts and minds.

    • Vienna calling says:

      Nothing as authentic as the opinion of someone who proudly admits he hasn’t even seen it.

      • Martin Atherton says:

        Yes indeed – plus, even freed of the constraint of having seen the production, Urania’s comment still does not make sense.

        • urania says:

          Thanks….I have seen hundreds of Wagner productions and have seen the video of the opening. Leipziger Allerlei is not my favorite dish.

  • Edgar says:

    The performance is available to hear on the BR Klassik website: Under “Programm” click “Radio”, in the new window click “Datum wählen”, in the pop-up calendar click July 25, in the window that opens scroll down to 15.05 h and click the red “Anhören” button to the right: you then come to the page which has an image of the production with a loudspeaker icon in its middle -click that and you will hear the entire broadcast with interviews etc and all, total time 6:32:32 – Enjoy!

    • Edgar says:

      Forgot to mention the biggest perk: this is available until the end of this year, according to Bavarian Radio. So one can hear it as often as one likes.

      • Robin Worth says:

        I heard it live but could not see it (the BR screen said the “rights” were not available outside Germany)

        Do you know of anywhere one might get the full on-line broadcast?

        • urania says:

          The entire event will be shown on TV tomorrow(Saturday) at 20.15 lt on 3SAT. Usually I do get 3SAT livestream outside of Germany but maybe not across the channel! I am convinced there might came a YouTube video soon with all the showing around.

        • Sixtus says:

          You can use a VPN to fake your location to Germany. This takes a little technical savvy but it worked for me. Once at the BRKlassik site it was then easy to watch, and even download, the entire video production. To get my money’s worth, I also use the VPN to access productions, BBC video content, and BBC Radio3 at its highest sound quality level (320 kbps AAC).

        • Annemie says:

          Watching now on Arte TV

  • Nik says:

    The Times says that Gove and Osborne were in attendance, can anyone verify this? If so, are we due another tabloid storm about tory toffs at the opera?

    • Player says:


    • Michael Varcoe-Cocks says:

      Don’t know about Gove but I have seen Osborne at Wagner performances. Exactly because of the “toffs at the opera” put-down, I don’t think any PM or leader of the opposition has dared set foot in the Royal Opera House since John Major.

      Chancellor Merkel is a regular at Bayreuth and I bet the German newspapers don’t shout “toff” at her! I recall an interview as she was entering the Festspielhaus for a new Parsifal where referred to the individual Parsifal productions she had attended there before.

      Such a shame that continental Europeans have no problem with with opera as an accessible art form but here in Brexitland the first reaction to anyone interested in opera is to mock them – or worse.