janet grau

Mein lieber Schwan

Mein lieber Schwan! Ein Wechselspiel mit Richard Wagners ‘Lohengrin’

Participatory project, installation, video, 2012

In 2011, I was asked to create an exhibition for the Richard-Wagner-Stätten Graupa that would reach a wide audience and draw attention to their new exhibition space – the Jagdschloss in Graupa. I decided to focus on just one of Richard Wagner’s operas, the opera Lohengrin, which Wagner had worked on in Graupa in the summer of 1846. And I decided to work with local high school students to create a video about this opera for the exhibition.

The video Mein lieber Schwan! Ein Wechselspiel mit Richard Wagners ‘Lohengrin’ shows an entertaining and poetic attempt by these young women to get to know the opera, without any prior knowledge or even an opinion about Wagner. Just as the girls playfully find their way to Wagner’s opera, the audience is invited to do the same.

While rehearsing and filming at the Lohengrinhaus / Richard-Wagner-Stätten Graupa, we developed various playful responses to the opera. These always moved between the reception of the opera on the one hand and our own imagination, which was awakened by Wagner’s music and the story of the knight Lohengrin, on the other. I then used these recordings for the video to tell the story of this creative process.

We focused on the appearance of the knight at the end of the first act of Wagner’s opera: Lohengrin arrives in Brabant to defend the accused maiden Elsa in a court of God. The scene is not only musically and dramaturgically very exciting, but has always held a great fascination. It is also a challenge for every new production, as Lohengrin does not simply step onto the stage, but is pulled up by a swan while standing on a boat! The scene is magical, enigmatic, strange and beautiful at the same time.

"Don't be afraid of Wagner!" is the gesture of this unpretentious presentation. A pink-coloured piece of furniture – simultaneously an arena and a boat – invites you to stay a while. The swan is omnipresent, specially embroidered on the cushions for the visitors."

The video was presented in an installation that refers associatively to elements of the opera (with the shape reminiscent of the little boat, the pillows embroidered with a pattern of swans). The seating construction was created in collaboration with the architect Roland Züger.

Radio feature by Birgit Fritz, MDR Figaro:

Many thanks to the brave young women who dared to join me for this experiment: Elli, Kitty, Lena, Lilly, Lizzy & Wiebke

Mein lieber Schwan
More info about the project
Mein lieber Schwan
WordPress Cookie Plugin by Real Cookie Banner