Budapest Palace of Arts, 2011.

“…as a revival of Laszlo Marton’s production of “Lohengrin” bears witness. Taking the view that the opera’s Brabant setting is highly militaristic, Mr. Marton shifts the action to a Communist police state akin to North Korea, with the knight Lohengrin’s striking appearance on the scene serving as a force for change.

No sooner does Lohengrin defeat Telramund in God-ordained single combat, than the assembled soldiers strip off their uniforms to reveal brightly colored shirts in a spontaneous, bloodless revolution.

Another is that we have here, as in other recent productions, Lohengrin as antihero, who arrives looking quite ordinary in a suit with open collar and carrying a white violin case. Still, the action unfolds with reasonable straightforwardness and includes some amusing touches, like the appearance of police dogs and mine sweepers — symbols of the police state — to ensure the security of the bridal chamber.

e. One will not soon forget the stunning close of Act 2, as Lohengrin and Elsa enter the minster for their wedding and the sound of the full orchestra, bolstered by the Palace of Arts pipe organ, reverberated through the hall.”

By George Loomis



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