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Ortrud


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(Wagner: Lohengrin). Mez. Wife of Telramund, who married her only after Elsa refused him. It is their ambition to gain the throne of Brabant from Elsa's brother Gottfried. She worships pagan gods and practises sorcery. She has turned Gottfried into a swan, which pulls the boat which carries Lohengrin. Ortrud is a strong character, who dominates Telramund. She plots to undermine Elsa's faith in Lohengrin. She convinces Elsa that she has her welfare at heart, but at the wedding of Elsa and Lohengrin, Ortrud shows her true vicious nature, demanding the throne. When Elsa refuses, she declares that Lohengrin also uses sorcery, placing further doubts in Elsa's mind. However, she is finally defeated when Lohengrin's prayers are answered and Gottfried is released from Ortrud's power and returns to claim his throne. Ens. (with Elsa and chorus): Zurück, Elsa! (‘Go back, Elsa!’). A good Ortrud should exude evil from every pore. In the first act she is on stage almost throughout without singing until the last few minutes but, if the role is well characterized, we should always be aware of her presence and her glowering glances. Well‐known interpreters have included Ernestine Schumann‐Heink, Marie Brema, Margarete Klose, Astrid Varnay, Rita Gorr, Christa Ludwig, Ludmilla Dvořáková, Ursula Schröder‐Feinen, Gwyneth Jones, Elizabeth Connell, Eva Randová, and Gabriele Schnaut. Created (1850) by Josephine Fastlinger.

Subjects: Opera.


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