synopsis of my interpretation of "Lohengrin"

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synopsis of my interpretation of "Lohengrin"

Post by alberich00 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:53 am

Dear members and visitors to's discussion forum:

Well over a decade ago I posted an introduction to the content and scope of my prospective book on Wagner's seven repertory operas and music-dramas from "The Flying Dutchman" through "Parsifal" (the four-part "Ring" reckoned here as a single work), "The Wound That Will Never Heal," at Included in this introduction were thumbnail sketches of my interpretations of all seven works, so that readers could obtain an overview of how I construe these artworks as conceived by Wagner within one single conceptual frame of reference. I am posting in this discussion forum my synopses of Wagner's seven canonic operas and music-dramas, from 'Dutchman" through "Parsifal," so readers can see in brief how I relate one artwork to another in context.

Here is my synopsis of my interpretation of "Lohengrin":

This chapter demonstrates how Wagner followed up his Feuerbachian critique of heaven and divinity as being nothing more than man’s sensual longings masquerading as spiritual (as found in Tannhaeuser), in the notion that it is the ostensibly divine, immortal, celibate Lohengrin who needs redemption from his faux divinity through Elsa’s earthly love. Elsa offers to help Lohengrin keep the secret of his true identity - i.e., that he is in fact an earthly being, not divine, who poses as divine through the magic of art, which is the implication of Ortrud’s and Frederick’s accusations - and protect him from the “Noth” (danger, anguish) which he would suffer if the truth were exposed. Elsa’s offer, which Lohengrin does not accept, is the basis for Bruennhilde’s offer to hear Wotan’s confession of his divine “Noth”, which Wotan does accept. Since for Wagner the male represents conscious conceptual thought (power), the word, and the female represents unconscious artistic inspiration, aesthetic intuition, or music (the language of the unconscious mind, which Wagner identifies with love), Wotan’s acquiescence in Bruennhilde’s wish is seen as the conceptual foundation of Wagner’s revolutionary transition from romantic opera - in which music is still only mechanically related to the poetic text - to the music dramas, in which poem and music are fused in an ecstatic union. Lohengrin provides the last step in the evolution of Wagner’s concept that the heroine is the artist-hero’s unconscious mind, his source of artistic inspiration and redemption, prior to its full flowering in Bruennhilde. As Wagner said, “Elsa showed me the way to this man [Siegfried].” It is thanks to Wotan’s acquiescence in Bruennhilde’s request to hear his confession of his divine “Noth”, i.e., the repression of his unbearable self-knowledge into his unconscious mind, that he is reborn as Siegfried. Siegfried does not know who he is because Bruennhilde holds this self-knowledge for him, and he is fearless because Bruennhilde’s loving magic protects him, at the front, from his (Wotan’s) foreknowledge of his inevitable, shameful end.
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