Wagner's Lohengrin

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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Some people won’t give out their name at a bar. Others don’t like to talk about their past. In Wagner's opera, Lohengrin swoops in to save a damsel in distress, but forbids that she ever ask about his name or origins – even once they are married. But this is opera, so of course she asks.

Chicago’s music lovers were delighted to hear this production locally for the first time in three decades. South African tenor Johan Botha sings Lohengrin, with a couple productions under his belt, including one at the Metropolitan Opera. Sir Andrew Davis conducts, having proven his mettle at the Wagner mecca: Germany’s Bayreuth Festival.


Lohengrin - Johan Botha
Elsa - Emily Magee
Ortrud - Michaela Schuster
Telramund - Greer Grimsley
King Henry - Georg Zeppenfeld
Herald - Lester Lynch

CONDUCTOR: Sir Andrew Davis
STAGE DIRECTOR: Elijah Moshinsky

Comments [4]

One of the finest LOHENGRINs I have heard. Extremely well-cast. Botha will have a long career in Wagner since he seems to be playing his cards right: keeping his repertoire in Wagner to Walther, Lohengrin, Siegmund. Magee is a real find, as is Zeppenfeld. BRAVISSIMMI!!!

Jul. 20 2011 09:31 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane from BOONTON, NJ

Now that the opera broadcast has concluded, it is easier to consider the aspects of the interpretations and the relative merits of the performers. Botha's voice carries well in the opera auditoriums. I have heard his singing at the "Met" and can vouch for the fact that he sounds better in person than on records or radio. The timbre is not as recognizable, as distinctive as a Lanza, Bjorliing, Gigli, Caruso or Franco Corelli. Emily Magee, the Elsa, is a real find with a large well projected voice.
Michaela Schuster, the Ortrud, Greer Grimsley. the Telramund, and Georg Zeppenfeld, the King, all had the appropriate vocal attainments for their roles

Jul. 09 2011 05:56 PM
Giovanni from Roma, Italy

Magnifica ricezione!
Veri nice reception.
Thank you very much.

Jul. 09 2011 03:28 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane from Boonton, NJ

JOHAN BOTHA as LOHENGRIN maintains his restraint in singing full out is written into the score with considerable pianissimi for orchestra and soloists. Wagner's aim is to portray this as a mythical mystic romance.
German and other teutonic singers prefer a heldentenor for the title role. Italian singers have populated the world stages with the silvery lyric tenor version of the role, whereas the bronze/golden, better stated, the chiaro scura timbre, is the more majestic and has the more nuanced expression of the text. The latter is best represented by the king of heldentenors, Lauritz Melchior, now sadly no longer alive to demonstrate to today's audiences the huge excitement possible with such a vocal delivery.

Jul. 09 2011 03:26 PM

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