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     Wagner: LOHENGRIN   [Includes RealAudio Selections]      Table of Contents      Wagner: TANNHÄUSER   [Includes RealAudio Selections]

The Mapleson Cylinders - Program Notes

- Libretti
- Wagner: LOHENGRIN


Wagner: LOHENGRIN

The most breathlessly awaited event of the 1900-01 Metropolitan Opera season was the return of Jean De Reszke, who had remained in Europe the preceding winter, sparking rumors that his voice was failing, that he might never sing again. His reappearance was scheduled for December 31, 1900; the opera was Lohengrin, and De Reszke carried it off triumphantly; though nervous, "he sang the farewell [to the swan] with delicious beauty of tone and that consummate mastery of phrasing and declamation which make his every vocal utterance a delight," according to W. J. Henderson. That season, De Reszke gave Grau and his public thirty performances, in a still-unequaled demonstration of tenorial versatility: Faust, Radamès, Rodrigue (in Le Cid ), Tristan, Roméo, Raoul (in Lés Huguenots ), Vasco Da Gama, both Siegfrieds, and Walther (in Die Meistersinger ). He finished where he began, with Lohengrin, on March 29; though not announced as such, it was his last complete operatic performance at the house (he sang once again, in a post-season gala concert, on April 29: the second act of Tristan, with Nordica, Schumann-Heink, and his brother Edouard as King Marke). Mapleson, who had recorded several of the tenor's earlier performances, was on hand with his recording equipment at the last Lohengrin: perhaps conscious of the occasion's historical importance, he identified it on one of the two surviving cylinders with a spoken announcement.

Band 1

Act III: Bridal Chamber Scene excerpts:

(a) "[Dein Schwert, dein Schwert!"]

(b) "Sie vor den König zu geleiten" ... "dass sie des Gatten Art erschau'!"

Jean De Reszke (t), Lohengrin

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--

Walter Damrosch

March 29, 1901

[Snake.]

At the climax of the scene in the bridal chamber, just as Elsa has asked the forbidden questions, Telramund and four knights break in, with swords drawn. Mapleson began recording the orchestral chords immediately following Elsa's cries of "Dein Schwert, dein Schwert," as Lohengrin fells Telramund, but then stopped his machine, starting again for Lohengrin's lines addressed to Elsa's ladies-in-waiting.

[original]

LOHENGRIN

(b)
Sie vor den König zu geleiten,
schmückt Elsa, meine süsse Frau!
Dort will ich Antwort ihr bereiten,
dass sie des Gatten Art erschau'!

[translation]

LOHENGRIN

So that she may be led before the King,
attire Elsa, my sweet wife!
There will I prepare her an answer,
so that she may know her husband's quality!

Band 2

(a) Act III: Final Scene excerpt: "Wir harren dein in Streites Lust" ... "o könnt' er die Kunde sich ersparen!"

(b) Mapleson announcement

Jean De Reszke (t), Lohengrin

Edouard De Reszke (bs), King

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Walter Damrosch

March 29, 1901

[Snake and Glackens 120 (both refer to "Act 2"); announcement on cylinder.]

In the final scene, Lohengrin's arrival is hailed by the men of Brabant, but he has unwelcome tidings for them. (A substantial part of his exposition, during which he explains why he must now reveal his name and lineage, was cut in the performance.) The cylinder ends just before Lohengrin begins his famous narration, "In fernem Land," and Mapleson adds his announcement (which, in the IRCC 78 rpm issue, was placed before the music).

[original]

CHORUS

Pronti di già noi ti attendiam,
con te alla gloria ci apprestiam!

LOHENGRIN
Mein Herr und König, lass dir melden:
die ich berief, die kühnen Helden,
zum Streit sie führen darf ich nicht!

KING and CHORUS
O Ciel! che intesi! Che mai parlò!

LOHENGRIN
Als Streitgenoss bin ich nicht herkommen:
als Klager sei ich jetzt von euch vernommen!
Zum ersten klage laut ich vor euch Allen,
und frag' um Spruch nach Recht und Fug:
da dieser Mann zur Nacht mich überfallen,
sagt, ob ich ihn mit Recht erschlug?

KING and CHORUS
Siccome la terra tu lo punisti,
per sempre il dinni il ciel fra i tristi!

* * *

LOHENGRIN
So hört, ob ich an Adel euch nicht gleich!

CHORUS
Ciel, qual mistero deggio or io ascoltar!
Ah! possa ancor l'arcano a noi celar!

KING
Was muss ich nun erfahren?
O, könnt' er die Kunde sich ersparen!

[translation]

CHORUS

Ready for battle, we await you;
led by you, certain of victory.

LOHENGRIN
My Lord and King, be informed:
these proud heroes whom I summoned--
I may not lead them into battle!

KING and CHORUS
God help us! What bitter words he speaks!

LOHENGRIN
I come here, not as your companion in arms:
as a plaintiff let me now be heard by you!
First, I charge aloud before you all,
and ask for judgement before the law:
since this man tried to slay me by night,
say, whether I was right to slay him?

KING and CHORUS
Just as your hand struck him on earth,
so God's punishment will fall on him now!

* * *

LOHENGRIN
Now hear, if I am not your equal in lineage!

CHORUS
Heaven, what mystery must I now hear!
Oh, could this secret but remain concealed from us!

KING
What mystery must I now hear!
Oh, could this secret but remain concealed!


     Wagner: LOHENGRIN   [Includes RealAudio Selections]      Table of Contents      Wagner: TANNHÄUSER   [Includes RealAudio Selections]