Romantic opera in three acts by Richard Wagner
Count Telramund brings charges before King Heinrich I against Elsa of Brabant. He accuses her of having murdered her younger brother Gottfried in order to win the throne of Brabant for herself. The King orders trial by ordeal: a duel between Telramund and a champion who will fight on Elsa’s behalf shall decide her innocence or guilt, but no-one will take up Elsa’s cause. Then a miracle occurs. A stranger whom Elsa had seen in a dream takes up the challenge and vanquishes Telramund. The unknown man offers Elsa his hand in marriage under the condition that she never asks his name or provenance. Elsa is thus made solely responsible for whether the new ruler, celebrated as a hero by the Brabantines, stays or not. Ortrud, who had pressed her husband Telramund to the false accusations against Elsa, concocts new plans for revenge in the wake of the defeat. Feigning friendship and sympathy, she sows doubt about the nameless knight in Elsa’s heart. In front of the cathedral at the wedding the next day, matters come to a head. Ortrud and Telramund accuse the foreign hero of sorcery and fraud. Once more he puts to Elsa the question of confidence which she answers with an unequivocal declaration to her husband. Once alone with her protector Elsa cannot resist the forbidden question any longer. At that very moment Telramund bursts into the bridal chamber with his co-conspirators to kill the foreign hero. Elsa herself hands him the weapon with which Telramund is fatally struck. The stranger now wishes to reveal his secret publicly. Before the King and assembled deputies Lohengrin proclaims his name and background. Ortrud rejoices over failure of his mission, but her triumph does not last. Through prayer Lohengrin brings about the return of the boy Gottfried, the legitimate heir who had been believed dead.