Cher Public

Day for knight

kaufmann_thumbThe premiere of Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival (starring, of course, Jonas Kaufmann) has just started.

You can listen to the live broadcast here.

Conductor: Andris Nelsons
Director: Hans Neuenfels
Stage design: Reinhard von der Thannen
Costumes: Reinhard von der Thannen
Lighting: Franck Evin
Video: Björn Verloh
Dramaturgy: Henry Arnold

Lohengrin: Jonas Kaufmann
Heinrich der Vogler : Georg Zeppenfeld
Elsa von Brabant: Annette Dasch
Friedrich von Telramund: Hans-Joachim Ketelsen
Ortrud: Evelyn Herlitzius
Der Heerrufer des Königs: Samuel Youn
1. Edler: Stefan Heibach
2. Edler: Willem Van der Heyden
3. Edler: Rainer Zaun
4. Edler: Christian Tschelebiew

  • Wasn’t there a cut just prior to “Mein lieber Schwan”?

  • Claudia4Ever

    well, after just now being able to move emotionally after the live broadcast of the performance all i can say is i’m glad i was NOT there to see the visuals; the singing, particularly Jo-K’s was brilliant — Ortrud was a pleasant surprise — and the tempo seemed spot on. i continue to not understand why today’s “supposed hot new directors” think they need to be the theatre of the absurd. obviously their ego is more important than the work, which is pathetic. i’m all for new interpretation but not at the expense of the intended artistry. soooo glad i wasn’t there in person.

  • You realize that “today’s supposed hot new director” is 69 years old and has been directing since the 1970s, right?


      Yeah, cut him some slack. He’s old, he’s set in his ways, relying on cliches and outmoded concepts of forty years ago.

      Wait, I don’t think that’s what you meant, is it?

      • mrmyster

        BABs: “outmoded concepts of forty years ago….” my cue to tell you and anyone else who will listen that two distinguished dramatists and
        musicologists at Santa Fe a few days ago were talking theatre philosophy,
        and one of them very well made the point: ‘there is really nothing new
        in stage craft and has not been since the arrival of electricity; it is a
        matter of choosing the right clichés and refreshing them properly.
        After seeing “Life is a Dream,” the world premiere last night at SFE,
        a resoundingly brilliant production (if zilch as an opera), I think there
        is some truth in that comment. What do you think?
        Is there really anything new under the Sun in theatre? Of course there
        was light before electricity, and stage scenery movement; it was just
        not as easy to achieve!

        • Arianna a Nasso

          Thought provoking question. I find it rather cynical that these people narrow theater down to “clichés” to be chosen.

          As you pointed out, there was stage light and moving scenery before electricity, so I don’t think one needs to think on such a cosmic scale of change since the speaker didn’t. What about using lighting design to create mood rather than illuminate a set? What about deconstructionist treatments of a work’s narrative in the staging? What about design integrity of designing costumes in conjunction with the set rather than letting singers bring their own? What about methods of character analysis and acting techniques used in preparatory work and rehearsals?

      • Harry

        Faint praise indeed.. when such a comment was the general reserve form of criticism : normally used for Zefferelli. But Neuenfels probably is not into ‘silk plush’. Those Lohengrin yellow costumes and hats remind one of something out of a 20’s musical….the chorus getting ready to sing “Swanee I luv ja, Dear old Swanee….”

  • Byrnham Woode

    Yes, there probably was a cut shortly before “Mein Lieber Schwann”. This is standard practice (!) in just about every opera house in the world -- including the MET -- and has been for quite some time.

    The ensemble that is cut follows “In Fernam Land” and the various characters beg Lohengrin to stay, while he insists that he must go. It’s pretty much the only music Elsa sings in the final scene of the opera, and it’s a lot of difficult music for the tenor, too, and he is still facing “Mein Lieber Schwann”.

    Many recordings are complete, including Keilberth, Solti, Kubelik and Kempe. Live performance recordings such as Sawallisch and Cluytens take the cut.

    The last year Bayreuth performed the opera complete was 1954, under Jochum.

    Please note these remarks refer to the full published opera, and do not concern the 2nd verse of “In Fernam Land” which Wagner cut before the world premiere, and which is hardly ever performed. It was never published in his lifetime. At least two studio recordings do include the passage (Leinsdorf and Barenboim).

    • Byrnham,

      Thanks for the history, I appreciate it.

    • Billys Butt

      On the contrary, they OPENED the cut in Act III, so this music which is normally almost never performed was actually played and sung. It was a bit strange, because one is so used to the cut, to this bit of music NOT being there, that it sounded almost like something that didn’t belong there.

      • Byrnham Woode

        The OP seemed to have gotten lost in the music and asked if there was a cut taken. I simply assumed that the usual cut was taken, and OP was probably following in an uncut libretto.

        I’m delighted to hear that Bayreuth has restored this important music.

  • I had thought that singing Lohengrin would be bad for JK’s voice, but after listening to the broadcast on Sunday, the character does have a lot of down time to rest, half of Act I and little to sing in Act II, that saves energy for Act III.

    For me, his tradmark soft singing was wonderful, and his rhythm with the text was as example for others.

  • bluecabochon

    I was traveling and couldn’t listen to it, so the YouTube segments are most appreciated. Dare I ask if anyone has a file to share? I wonder if the radio broadcast will be repeated?


      The Bayreuth broadcasts are usually repeated several times randomly over the course of the year. Meanwhile, it is available at House of Bobolink,