Five reasons to go see La Monnaie’s Lohengrin

Wagner’s extended opera Lohengrin is coming to La Monnaie on Thursday 19th of April, injecting drama and excitement to an already astounding calendar. Renowned for its all-encompassing influence throughout the country, we select five reasons why La Monnaie‘s next month-long production is one to be noted.

Photographer S. Van Rompay (c)

Richard Wagner is one of the most celebrated German Romantics, his larger-than-life operas speaking for themselves. Never settling for mediocrity, his ideal of gesamtkunstwerke or “total work” lies in his unflinching dedication to creating an immersive operatic experience. With his relentless attention to detail manifested in his handling of everything from composing to staging, nothing is left to chance. Wagner’s legacy is firmly rooted in German socio-political history, yet his signature aesthetic continues to move audiences around the world. A performance like no other.

©S. Van Rompay

Bayreuth, Wagner’s custom-made venue, may be miles away in Bavaria, but La Monnaie has the next best thing with Alain Altinoglu on conductor duties for Lohengrin. Altinoglu, who was the first French conductor since Pierre Boulez to be invited to Bayreuth, has the official seal of approval for Wagner-lovers. Needless to say the stars have aligned for an authentic experience in Brussels.

©S. Van Rompay

Lohengrin‘s live, iconic bridal march is reason enough to attend La Monnaie’s performance. Arguably Wagner’s widest reaching gift to the audience, the familiar chorus is celebrated at weddings around the world. On stage, the refrain is elevated to angelic proportions with high octave sopranos as a treat for your ears.

©S. Van Rompay

Forbidden love is at the heart of this three-act phenomenon drawing from Ancient Greek inspiration. Wagner wrote of his inspiration to recreate Zeus and Semele’s torturous affair between the King of the Gods and a mortal human by interweaving German folklore traditions. A match made in heaven.

©S. Van Rompay

Director Olivier Py aims to shine light on the controversies that surround Wagner’s heritage. He provides a fresh perspective to the moral and philosophical criticisms that faced his lineage to fascism by re-interpreting Lohengrin’s performance with modern insight, rather than dealing solely with the theoretical.

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