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     PIANO IMPROVISATIONS    Table of Contents      Wagner: LOHENGRIN

The Mapleson Cylinders - Program Notes

- Libretti
- Wagner: LOHENGRIN [Includes RealAudio Selections]


Wagner: LOHENGRIN [ Click for RealAudio Selections ]

The first of Wagner's operas to be performed at the Metropolitan Opera in 1883 (when it was sung in Italian), Lohengrin was long the most popular; by the turn of the century it had achieved the highest total of performances of any opera in the repertory--in part because it retained favor whether the house was occupied by an Italian or a German company. During the three seasons when Mapleson was recording, Lohengrin was performed eight, four, and seven times, respectively; though the principals used the original German text, the chorus continued to sing its material in Italian. At the fifth performance of the 1902-03 season, Mapleson recorded ten cylinders (all of the tracks on this side except Band 5), adding up to more than eighteen minutes, the most extensive representation of any single performance in the collection. (Most are dated by Mapleson's slips; all were recorded at the same speed. The Glackens/Bishop notebook lists nine Lohengrin cylinders of that date, which can be pretty securely matched up with recordings--the exception is our Band 1, which is vouched for by a slip).

raster Band 1   [Click to Listen]

Act I: Lohengrin's Arrival excerpt: "[Lass mich ihn] sehn, wie ich ihn sah" ... "Sei gegrüsst, du gottgesandter Mann!"

Johanna Gadski (s), Elsa

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Alfred Hertz

February 7, 1903

[Slip]

Charged by Telramund with having killed her brother, Elsa of Brabant is praying to God to send the knight of whom she dreamed, to be her champion. The people on the banks of the river see a boat approaching, drawn by a swan.

[original]

ELSA

[Lass mich ihn] seh'n, wie ich ihn sah;
wie ich ihn sah, sei er mir nah'!

CHORUS
Ciel! Ciel!
Qual soave portento!
Qual soave portento!
Che sarà? Che sarà? Ciel!
Un cigno una barchetta guida in qua!
Un cigno una barchetta guida in qua!
(Che?)
Un cavalier, un cavalier! Ah!
(Cose'è?)
si dentr'esse sta!
(Mirate!)
Dell'arme sue qual sol!
Un guerriero! Un cigno!
Oh! portento!
Dell'arme sue qual sol
abbaglia il magico splendor,
abbaglia il magico splendor!
Una barca guida egli in qua,
ei s'avvicina già!
Un guerriero!
D'entr'essa sta un cavalier!
Ve'! s'avvicina egli e s'appressa già!
Un guerriero, arcan portento, ve'!
Legato ha il cigno a una catena d'or!
Vedi, alla riva s'avvicina presso già!
Ei giu[nacute]ge già! Ei giunge già!
Giunge ei già!
Miracol, miracol, miracol portentoso!
Miracolo inaudito, si,
miracol, miracol, miracol portentoso,
miracolo inaudito e mai veduto!
(Grazie, o cielo, che il debole proteggi!)
Salute a te, salute a te, messo santo,
salute, o messo del Signor!
Gloria a te,
salute, o messo del Signor!
Gloria a te, gloria a te, gloria a te, gloria a te,!

[translation]

ELSA

Let me behold him, as I saw him;
as I saw him, let him be near to me!

CHORUS
Heaven! Heaven!
What sign is this!
What sign is this!
What will happen? What will happen? Heaven!
A swan leads a bark this way!
A swan leads a bark this way!
(What?)
A knight, a knight! ah!
(What is it?)
is standing behind it!
(Look!)
How his armor shines!
A warrior! A swan!
Oh portent!
The light from his armor
dazzles the sight,
dazzles the sight!
It leads a bark this way,
he is coming near!
A warrior!
A knight is standing behind it!
Look! he is coming nearer already!
A knight, strange portent, look!
He has tied the swan with a golden chain!
Look, he is already near the bank!
He has arrived! He has arrived!
He has arrived!
A miracle, a miracle, a prodigious miracle!
An unheard-of miracle, yes,
A miracle, a miracle, a prodigious miracle!
An unheard-of miracle, and never seen!
(Thanks, o heaven, who dost protect the weak!)
Greetings, greetings, holy messenger,
greetings, o holy messenger from the Lord!
Glory to you,
greetings, o holy messenger from the Lord!
Glory to you, glory to you, glory to you, glory to you!

Band 2

Act I: Lohengrin's Question excerpt: "geb' ich dir Leib und Seele frei" ... "woher ich kam der Fahrt, noch wie mein Nam' [und Art!]"

Johanna Gadski (s), Elsa

Georg Anthes (t), Lohengrin

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--

Alfred Hertz

February 7, 1903

[Slip; Glackens 52.]

After the swan knight debarks, he offers to champion Elsa if she will make him a solemn promise.

[original]

ELSA

[Wie ich zu deinen Füssen liege,]
geb' ich dir Leib und Seele frei.

LOHENGRIN
Elsa, soll ich dein' Gatte heissen,
soll Land und Leut' ich schirmen dir,
soll nichts mich wieder von dir reissen,
musst Eines du geloben mir.
Nie sollst du mich befragen,
noch Wissen's Sorge tragen,
woher ich kam der Fahrt,
noch wie mein Nam' und Art!

ELSA
Nie, Herr, soll mir die Frage kommen!

LOHENGRIN
Elsa! Hast du mich wohl vernommen?
Nie sollst du mich befragen,
noch Wissen's Sorge tragen,
woher ich kam der Fahrt,
noch wie mein Nam' [und Art!]

[translation]

ELSA

Just as I kneel here at your feet,
so I freely give you my body and soul.

LOHENGRIN
Elsa, if I am to be your husband,
if I am to protect your land and people,
if nothing is ever to separate me from you,
then you must swear one thing to me:
never will you ask me,
never try to discover
from whence I came to you,
or what is my lineage and name.

ELSA
Never, my lord, shall that question come from me.

LOHENGRIN
Elsa! Have you understood me well?
Never will you ask me,
never try to discover
from whence I came to you,
or what is my lineage and name.

Band 3

Act I: Combat preparation excerpt: "Ist's Zauber, der mir angethan?" ... "Nun, König, ordne unsern Kampf!"

Georg Anthes (t), Lohengrin

Anton Van Rooy (b), Telramund

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Alfred Hertz

February 7, 1903

[Slip; Glackens 24?]

All wonder at the mysterious knight. His fellow nobles urge Telramund not to fight (most of this passage is cut in the performance). Preparations for the trial by combat go forward.

[original]

CHORUS

Miracol santo agl' occhi appar,
soave incanto oprò il Signor;
entro in mio petto sento balzar,
a quell'aspetto commosso il cor!

LOHENGRIN
Nun hört! Euch, Volk und Edlen, mach' ich kund:
frei aller Schuld ist Elsa von Brabant!
Das falsch dein Klagen, Graf von Telramund.
durch Gottes Urtheil werd' es dir bekannt!

FOUR NOBLES ( to Telramund )
Steh' ab von Kampf!
Steh' ab von Kampf!

TELRAMUND
Viel lieber todt, als feig!
Welch' Zaubern dich auch hergeführt,
Fremdling, der mir so kühn erscheint,
dein stolzes Droh'n mich nimmer rührt,
da ich zu lügen nie vermeint:
den Kampf mit dir drum nehm' ich auf,
und hoffe Sieg nach Rechtes Lauf!

LOHENGRIN
Nun, König, ord'ne unsern Kampf!

[translation]

CHORUS

A holy miracle appears to our eyes,
the Lord has worked a gentle charm;
in my breast I feel a beating,
at this sight my heart is moved!

LOHENGRIN
Now hear! To you, people and nobles, I proclaim:
free from all guilt is Elsa of Brabant!
That your charges are false, Count Telramund,
will be proved to you by God's judgement!

FOUR NOBLES ( to Telramund )
Withdraw from the combat!
Withdraw from the combat!

TELRAMUND
Much better dead than a coward!
Whatever sorcery has brought you here,
stranger of such bold aspect,
your proud threats do not trouble me,
for I have never stooped to lies:
therefore, I undertake battle with you,
and await victory as justice's due!

LOHENGRIN
Now, King, arrange the battle!

[Begin Page 51]

Band 4

Act I: King's Prayer excerpt : "Gott richte mich nach Recht und Fug!" ... "So hilf uns, [Gott, zu dieser Frist]"

Georg Anthes (t), Lohengrin

Anton Van Rooy (b), Telramund

Robert Blass (bs), King

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Alfred Hertz

February 7, 1903

[Glackens 6.]

The combatants and the King call upon God to judge their dispute.

[original]

LOHENGRIN and TELRAMUND

Gott richte mich nach Recht und Fug!
So trau' ich ihm, nicht meiner Kraft!

KING
Mein Herr und Gott, nun ruf ich dich,
dass du dem Kampf zugegen sei'st!
Durch Schwertes Sieg ein Urtheil spricht,
das Trug und Wahrheit klar erweist!
Des Reinen Arm gieb Heldenkraft,
des Falschen Stärke sei erschlafft:
so hilf uns [Gott, zu dieser Frist ...]

[translation]

LOHENGRIN and TELRAMUND

May God judge me according to the law!
I trust in him, and not in my own strength!

KING
My Lord and God, I now call on you,
that you be present at this battle!
By the sword's victory, make known a judgement
that clearly divides deceit and truth!
Give hero's strength to the virtuous arm,
make slack the power of the false:
thus help us. God, to this decision.

Band 5

Act I: King's Prayer excerpts:

(a) "Mein Herr und Gott" (opening lines)

(b) "Des Reinen Arm gieb Heldenkraft" ...to end of Prayer

Robert Blass (bs), King

[other principals unidentified]

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Alfred Hertz (?)

1902/03?

[The speed of this cylinder doesn't match the remaining excerpts on this side, and in any case its brief overlap with Band 4 precludes an origin in the same performance. A Glackens cardboard marker numbered 110 was found in the otherwise unmarked box, and the cylinder matches the description of Glackens 110--but the notebook entry contains no date, though Blass is named. The sound quality seems to preclude 1901. Aside from February 7, 1903, Blass sang at the following performances of Lohengrin:

3/2/01 MacIntyre, Schumann-Heink, Van Dyck, Bertram/Damrosch

3/8/01 Ternina, Olitzka, J. De Reszke, Bertram/Damrosch

1/11/02 Ternina, Homer, Dippel, Mühlmann/Damrosch

3/1m/02 Ternina, Reuss-Belce, Von Bandrowski, Van Rooy/Damrosch

1/10m/03 Nordica, Schumann-Heink, Anthes, Bispham/Hertz

2/11/03 Gadski, Schumann-Heink, Anthes, Bispham/Hertz]

After recording the opening phrase of the King's Prayer, Mapleson stopped his machine and waited for the ensemble that continues it.

[original]

KING

(a)
Mein Herr und Gott, nun ruf ich dich,
dass du dem Kampf zugegen sei'st!

CHORUS
(b)
Del puro addoppio, or tu il valor;
al reo, deh! togli e forza e cor.
L'o[rcaron]a è fatale, ci assisti, o ciel,
tu dell' inganno, tu squarcia il vel!
Del puro addoppio, ecc. ( During this choral strain, the principals voice their individual prayers. )

[translation]

KING

My Lord and God, I now call on you.
that you be present at this battle!

CHORUS
Give hero's strength to the virtuous arm,
drain power and courage from the false:
thus help us, God, in this fatal hour,
and draw away the veil of deceit
Give hero's strength, etc. ( During this choral strain, the principals voice their individual prayers. )

Band 6

Act II: Ortrud-Elsa confrontation excerpt: "[ob] sein Geschlecht, sein Adel wohl bewährt?" ..."Nur er! Nur er! Dein Held allein!"

Johanna Gadski (s), Elsa

Luise Reuss-Belce (s), Ortrud

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Alfred Hertz

February 7, 1903

[Slip; Glackens 55.]

In the second act, Elsa takes pity on the banished Ortrud, Telramund's wife. But later, as Elsa proceeds to the Minster for her wedding, Ortrud blocks her way and casts aspersions on the swan knight's origins.

[original]

ORTRUD

[Kannst du ihn nennen? Kannst du uns es sagen.
ob] sein Geschlecht, sein Adel wohl bewährt?
Woher die Fluthen ihn zu dir getragen,
wann und wohin er wieder von dir fährt?
Ha, nein! Wohl brächte ihm es schlimme Noth,
der kluge Held die Frage drum verbot.

CHORUS
Ah! parla il ver! e non paventa!
ed accusaro quel prode tenta!

ELSA
Du Lästerin! Ruchlose Frau!
Hör! ob ich Antwort mir getrau'!
So rein und edel ist sein Wesen,
so tugendreich der hehre Mann,
dass nie des Unheils soll genesen,
wer seiner Sendung zweifeln kann!

CHORUS
È ver, è ver!

ELSA
Hat nicht durch Gott im Kampf geschlagen
mein teurer Held den Gatten dein?
Nun sollt nach Recht ihr Alle sagen,
wer kann da nur der Reine sein!

CHORUS
È ver! Elsa ha ragion!

[translation]

ORTRUD

Can you name him? Can you tell us
if his lineage, his nobility are without stain?
From whence the waters brought him to you,
or when and where he will depart from you again?
Oh, no! It would surely bring him great distress,
which is why the clever knight has forbidden the question.

CHORUS
Ah, speak the truth, and do not fear!
This proud one dares to accuse!

ELSA
You slanderer! Wicked woman!
Hear that I can answer truly!
So pure and noble is his being,
so virtuous is this fair man--
anyone who can doubt his mission
is ill beyond redemption!

CHORUS
It's true, it's true!

ELSA
Did my dear hero not vanquish your husband
in battle, through God's power?
Now you all by right shall affirm
which of the two is the only pure one!

CHORUS
It's true! Elsa is right!

Band 7

Act II: Minster Scene excerpts:

(a) "[El]sa, Elsa! wie seh' ich sie erbeben" ... "in deiner Treu' liegt alles [Glückes Pfand!]"

(b) "Mein Held, in dem ich muss vergehn!" ... "Heil dir, [Tugendreiche]"

(c) "[Heil] dir, Heil Elsa von Brabant" ...to end of act

Johanna Gadski (s), Elsa

Georg Anthes (t), Lohengrin

Anton Van Rooy (b), Telramund

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--Alfred Hertz

February 7, 1903

[Slips; Glackens 23, 59, 72.]

[Begin Page 52]

Elsa has been comforted by the arrival of Lohengrin, but Telramund appears, charging that Lohengrin won the combat through sorcery. When this band begins, Lohengrin has just denied the charge. After the knight's first line, Hertz cut the ensemble during which all expressed bewilderment, splicing to the point where Telramund approaches Elsa, further to shake her faith in Lohengrin. Mapleson loses only a few lines between this cylinder and the second, and only about six bars before the one containing the final measures of the act, as the wedding procession enters the Minster.

[original]

LOHENGRIN

(a)
[El]sa! Elsa! wie seh' ich sie erbeben!

TELRAMUND
Vertraue mir! Lass dir ein Mittel heissen,
das dir Gewissheit schafft!

ELSA
Hinweg von mir!

TELRAMUND
Lass mich das kleinste Glied ihm nur entreissen,
des Fingers Spitze, und ich schwöre dir,
was er dir hehlt, sollst frei du vor dir seh'n,
dir treu, soll nie er dir von hinnen geh'n!

ELSA
Ha! Nimmermehr!

TELRAMUND
Ich bin dir nah' zur Nacht,
rufst du, ohn' Schaden ist es schnell vollbracht!

LOHENGRIN
Elsa, mit wem verkehrst du da?
Zurück von ihr, Verfluchte!
Dass nie mein Auge
je euch wieder bei ihr seh'!
Elsa, erhebe dich! In deiner Hand,
in deiner True' liegt al[les Glückes Pfand!
Lässt nicht des Zweifels Macht dich ruh'n?
Willst du die Frage an mich thun?

ELSA
Mein Retter, der mir Heil gebracht!]
(b)
Mein Held, in dem ich muss vergeh'n!
Hoch über alles Zweifels Macht
soll meine Liebe steh'n! Simultaneous singing begins

LOHENGRIN
Heil dir, Elsa! Nun lass vor Gott uns geh'n!

CHORUS
Viva il messo del Signor! Simultaneous singing ends
Viva ognor!
Viva il messo del Signor!
Viva, viva!
Viva il messo del Signor!
Viva d'Elsa il casto amor!
Viva il messo del Signor!
Viva il messo del Sig[nor!
Viva d'Elsa il casto amor!
Viva ognor!]
(c)
Viva ognor, si, viva ognor, viva! ( From her embrace with Lohengrin, Elsa looks up and at the foot of the steps sees Ortrud, who raises her arm in a gesture of certain triumph. Elsa, terrified, turns away her face. )

[translation]

LOHENGRIN

Elsa! Elsa! how I see her trembling!

TELRAMUND
Trust me! There is a way of knowing,
that will give you certainty!

ELSA
Away from me!

TELRAMUND
Give me the smallest fragment of his flesh,
a finger's tip, and I swear to you,
that which he hides from you, you will clearly see,
and, true to you, he will never leave you!

ELSA
Ah! Never!

TELRAMUND
I will be near you tonight,
call me, and it will be quickly accomplished, without harm!

LOHENGRIN
Elsa, with whom are you talking?
Away from her, accursed one!
Let my eyes never
see you near her again!
Elsa, arise! In your hand,
in your trust lies all our pledge of joy!
Does the power of doubt not let you rest?
Will you put the question to me?

ELSA
My saviour, who brought me happiness!
My hero, in whom I must lose myself!
High above all power of doubt.
my love will abide! Simultaneous singing begins

LOHENGRIN
Hail, Elsa. Now let us go before God!

CHORUS
Hail the one sent by the Lord! Simultaneous singing ends
Hail forever!
Hail the one sent by the Lord!
Hail, hail!
Hail the one sent by the Lord!
Hail the pure love of Elsa!
Hail the one sent by the Lord!
Hail the one sent by the Lord!
Hail the pure love of Elsa!
Hail forever!
Hail forever, yes, hail forever, hail! ( From her embrace with Lohengrin, Elsa looks up and at the foot of the steps sees Ortrud, who raises her arm in a gesture of certain triumph. Elsa, terrified, turns away her face. )

Band 8

Act III: Bridal Chorus excerpt: "[Sieg]reicher Muth, Minne so rein" ... "denkt lang der Stunde hier!"

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Alfred Hertz

February 7, 1903

[Glackens 35.]

Singing a bridal song, men and women of the court escort Elsa and Lohengrin into the bridal chamber.

[original]

CHORUS

[Di] freschi fiori sparger vogliam
l'eletta stanza, tempio d'amor,
tempio d'amor!

EIGHT LADIES
Noi pur benediciamo,
se il ciel vi benedì;
eterna vi auguriamo
la gioia di tal dì.

[translation]

CHORUS

With fresh flowers we wish to strew
the chosen room, the temple of love,
the temple of love!

EIGHT LADIES
We also bless you,
as does heaven itself;
we wish you eternally
the happiness of this day.

Band 9

Act III, Scene 3: Opening episode excerpt: "Für deutsches Land das deutsche Schwert" ... "Wie ist ihr Antlitz trüb und blei[che]!"

Robert Blass (b), King

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Alfred Hertz

February 7, 1903

[Glackens 84?]

The men of Brabant have assembled before the King, expecting Lohengrin to lead them into battle against the Hungarians.

[original]

KING

Für deutsches Land das deutsche Schwert!
So sei des Reiches Kraft bewährt!

CHORUS
Dell' Alemagna, il nostrò acciar
saprà la gloria sempre serbar!

KING
Wo weilt nun der, den Gott gesandt
zum Ruhm, zur Grösse von Brabant?

CHORUS
Che avenne mai? Oh, ciel, cos'è?
Che avenne mai? Oh, ciel, cos'è?

KING
Wen führt ihr her? Was soll ich schau'n?
Mich fasst bei eurem Anblick Grau'n!

FOUR NOBLES
So will's der Schütze von Brabant:
wer dieser ist, macht der bekannt.

CHORUS
Vedi: Elsa viene, fior di candore;
coperto il volto ha di pallo[re.]

[translation]

KING

For German land, the German sword!
Thus will the kingdom's strength be guarded!

CHORUS
For German land, the German sword!
Thus will the kingdom's strength be guarded!

KING
Where does he tarry, the one sent by God
for the glory and greatness of Brabant?

CHORUS
What has happened? Oh heaven, what is it?
This is the body of Telramund!

KING
Whom do you bring here? What must I see?
At the sight of your faces, dread seizes me!

FOUR NOBLES
So commands the Protector of Brabant:
who this is, he will reveal.

CHORUS
See: Elsa approaches, flower of candor;
pallor veils her face.

[Begin Page 53]

     PIANO IMPROVISATIONS    Table of Contents      Wagner: LOHENGRIN