Richard Wagner’s operas represent the high point of German romanticism, a movement of protest against the alienation and fragmentation of the new industrial capitalism.
They also gave powerful expression to German nationalism, and idealised the pre-capitalist medieval community.
Wagner conceived of his operas as music that would speak to and for the people.
In Lohengrin, which is set in the 10th century, a nameless knight arrives in Brabant to rally German troops around King Henry’s campaign against the invading Hungarian army.
Following his marriage to Elsa of Brabant, the knight insists she must not ask for his name or where he came from.
In this revived production, the singing is of a high quality, with strong, lyrical performances from Johan Botha as Lohengrin, Edith Haller as Elsa, Gerd Grochowski as the scheming Tetramund and Petra Lang as Ortrud, the pagan sorceress.
The orchestra under Semyon Bychkov achieve both warmth and strength.
by Richard Wagner Royal Opera House, central London
Until 16 May