"You must never ask me or be at pains to discover from whence I journeyed here, nor what is my name and lineage."
Lohengrin, Acte I, scène 3
Lohengrin appears in a “silvery‑blue” light aboard a boat pulled by a swan (Thomas Mann). He has just saved Elsa, accused of murdering her brother, and has made her promise to never ask him his name. Written by Wagner in great solitude, Lohengrin is first and foremost an immense aesthetic and political manifesto questioning the place of genius in society and laying the groundwork for musical drama. The work, conducted by Liszt at its premiere in Weimar in 1850, marked a turning point in Wagner’s life. It had a profound impact on Ludwig II of Bavaria who became his patron and friend, supporting him in all his future enterprises: “The defiled gods will have their revenge and come and live with us on the peaks, breathing the air of heaven”, Ludwig wrote to him in 1868 from Neuschwanstein Castle (“new swan rock”) which he had just had built. Directed by Claus Guth, who reveals all the fragility of the knight with whom Wagner identified, the production brings together Jonas Kaufmann, Martina Serafin and René Pape under the baton of Philippe Jordan.