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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
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.
Copyright © 29 March 2007
Robert Anderson, London UK