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Wagner's Lohengrin

Set in tenth-century Antwerp, Lohengrin was inspired by medieval Germanic legends of knights in search of the Holy Grail. The title character is a Knight of the Swan, imbued with mystical powers, who travels in a boat drawn by swans to rescue maidens in distress. In the photograph, Lauritz Melchior (1890–1973), the preeminent Wagnerian tenor from the 1920s through the 1940s, is shown in a traditional costume for Wagner's Knight of the Swan. Completed in 1848, Lohengrin followed shortly after Wagner's Tannhäuser (1845); these operas represent the middle period of Wagner's output. Wagner's firmly held convictions about all aspects of his music dramas are reflected in his voluminous correspondence, including his letter to conductor Rudolf Schöneck (1829–1904) in which Wagner discusses Lohengrin and expresses his satisfaction with Schöneck's 1853 production of Tannhäuser.
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