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Henry the Fowler reigned from 919 to 936. Lehnhoff advances him a millennium, so that his henchmen belong either to Kaiser Bill or the Nazi party. Small matter, so long as they sing as convincingly as here, whether they wish to fight the Hungarians or not. Tom Fox's Telramund has a modish lack of hair but presses his charge against Elsa with taut conviction. The Ortrud of Waltraud Meier is so obviously a bad hat, so serpentine in every gesture, that Elsa's eventual defeat by her is more the pity than usual. That the missing Prince Gottfried has been turned into a swan is naturally too much for the Brabantines or indeed Elsa to grasp [watch and listen -- DVD1 chapter 6, 21:15-22:28]. Elsa has for the moment only a dream to succour her.

Klaus Florian Vogt in the title role of Wagner's 'Lohengrin'. DVD screenshot © 2006 Festspielhaus Baden-Baden/NHK/Opus Arte
Klaus Florian Vogt in the title role of Wagner's 'Lohengrin'. DVD screenshot © 2006 Festspielhaus Baden-Baden/NHK/Opus Arte

But Klaus Florian Vogt does indeed materialise as Lohengrin, initially in shining armour and Parsifal's own son, with the grail's laser beam upon his head yet no swan [watch and listen -- DVD1 chapter 11, 39:11-41:06]. Soon enough, though, he prefers silvery suit, collar and tie. Elsa's doughty champion, however, he surely is, ready to challenge any charge Telramund may bring against her and indeed to topple him in single sword-fight [watch and listen -- DVD1 chapter 17, 58:13-59:20]. The discomfiture of Telramund works most effectively upon Ortrud, who already senses a way to the undoing of Elsa, now bidden not to question the identity of her mysterious deliverer.

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Copyright © 29 March 2007 Robert Anderson, London UK

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