Make Brabant Great Again

Yuval Sharon’s Lohengrin in 2018 at the Bayreuth Festival was the first production there by an American director and, perhaps unsurprisingly, there are echoes of contemporary events in the US in the show.  Specifically Sharon’s Brabant is a conformist theocracy in which society has regressed technologically.  Some of the action takes place in and around a prominently placed disused electrical installation of some kind.  The Brabanters are cowardly and subservient, initially to Telramund and then, equally, to Lohengrin.  The advent of a charismatic leader. does not necessarily equate to liberation or full citizenship.  Sharon also claims in his director’s notes that the real dissenter is Ortrud and that it is her actions that liberate Elsa and Gottfried.  Whether the staging supports this is, I think, questionable.

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