Opera Scotland

Lohengrin 2003Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Lohengrin

From being the first performed and then the second most frequently performed Wagner opera in Britain, Lohengrin has fallen into relative neglect. It has never been staged by Scottish Opera, and even the Festival hadn’t shown it complete since the Stuttgart visit of 1966.

In a concert performance the spotlight falls on orchestra and chorus. In this case, the conductor Donald Runnicles, working with the BBC Scottish Symphony several years before becoming their principal conductor, produced beautiful sounds in those long, lingering melodies, but also introduced a fiery sense of drama when needed. Opera choruses in Scotland are rarely as numerous as the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, and Lohengrin is definitely a work which benefits from the rich sound they always produce.  Augmented by the presence of the Philharmonia Chorus up from London, the choral sound was quite spectacular.

The soloists were completely dominated by the superb performance of Petra Lang as Ortrud. Slim and black-clad, she commanded complete attention, whether she was singing or merely listening to the other characters. The baritones and basses were all highly effective. Jukka Rasilainen had an appropriate edge to his tone, to make his Telramund appropriately malevolent.

James Rutherford gave the occasional hint that his Wagner career would soon embrace the big roles such as Sachs and Wotan.  Eric Halfvarson's deep black toned bass contrasted well with the two baritones.  The appropriate purity of Hillevi Martinpelto's soprano made her an excellenr Elsa.

The only drawback in the singing was the hoarseness produced by the tenor during the final act – a pity, since Torsten Kerl had been excellent earlier on, and always looked the part.

Performance Cast

Heerufer Royal Herald

James Rutherford

Heinrich Henry the Fowler, King of Germany

Eric Halfvarson

Friedrich von Telramund Count of Brabant

Jukka Rasilainen

Ortrud Friedrich's wife

Petra Lang

Elsa von Brabant sister of the missing Count Gottfried

Hillevi Martinpelto

Lohengrin a knight

Torsten Kerl

First Nobleman of Brabant

Campbell Russell

Second Nobleman of Brabant

Declan McCusker

Third Nobleman of Brabant

Paul Anwyl

Fourth Nobleman of Brabant

David Morrison

Performance DatesLohengrin 2003

Map List

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

15 Aug, 17.30

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