Wagner's Lohengrin comes to Prague

The Bayreuth Festival production from 1967 is being restaged by Katharina Wagner

The Prague audience can see a real event of the world of the opera: a production of Richard Wagner's Lohengrin that premiered in Bayreuth in 1967 is moving to the Czech capital in 2017.

The premieres at the historical building of the National Theatre are June 8 and 10, with additional performances June 14 and 17, followed by more in September and then in 2018. Note the opera starts at 6 pm for the June shows, as it is longer than most.

The iconic opera by Richard Wagner was originally directed by the composer's grandson, Wolfgang Wagner, in 1967. That staging is being revived by his daughter (and the composer's great-granddaughter) Katharina Wagner, a German opera stage director and co-director of the Bayreuth Festival. The festival was started by the composer in 1876 in a specially built theatre and has run ever since.

In Prague, the Orchestra of the National Theatre will perform under the baton of Constantin Trinks who is one of the youngest maestros to have conducted the complete operatic works of Richard Wagner.

Katharina Wagner had to work from archival material to restage her father's production. “I am trying to transfer his work on this stage in the most similar way. A reconstruction is no less difficult than a new concept. But we can make use of very good material such as books, records and photos. Lohengrin is among the most popular of Wagner's operas. It deals with issues such as human destiny with existential and emotional consequences. It remains impressive and relevant at all times,” Katharina Wagner said.

The Romantic three-act opera Lohengrin was first performed in 1850. The story comes from the medieval German romance Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach and its sequel, Lohengrin, written by a different author.

The most popular part of the opera is the Bridal Chorus, better known as “Here Comes the Bride,” often played at weddings.

With Lohengrin, Wagner created a new form of opera, the through-composed music drama. The composition is played from act to act without any interruption. This was a break from previous operas, which were divided into arias, recitatives, and choral sections.

Wagner also made use of leitmotivs in his composition to indicate characters' inner thoughts without dialogue.

The title role will be performed by Stefan Vinke, Charles Kim and Aleš Briscein; the role of Elsa will be sung by Dana Burešová and Edith Haller; the role of Ortrud by Eva Urbanová and Eliška Weissová; Telramund will be sung by Martin Bárta and Olafur Sigurdarson; King Heinrich by Peter Mikuláš and Jiří Sulženko.

The last premiere of the season 2016/17 will be dedicated to Offenbach’s operetta Orphée auxenferns on July 6 and 7, 2017. The National Theatre invited the prominent personalities of Czech theatre as directors, the Caban brothers. The audience can see Kateřina Kněžíková and Jana Sibera as Eurydice and Josef Moravec and Richard Samek in the role of Orpheus.

For more visit www.narodni-divadlo.cz

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