Further details here.
Traditionalists may initially be uplifted by the though that director Wolfgang Weber takes all Wagner´s so-called intentions including the 10th century Lohengrin setting very serious. Beware, the optimism may be short-lived, though: The dark middle ages have never been more genuinely dark and medieval than in this Vienna staging...
The staging "allows the singers plenty of room to develop" - indeed, as stage direction seems absent from this production. Though the director may disagree, dressing Ortrud in red is not enough to create compelling drama...
In brief: This staging is unbearably boring and tedious. Trapped in the dark middle ages with no escape indeed...
Once and for all: I do not care about Plácido Domingo´s German diction when he sings and acts like he does here. Though, technically speaking, his diction is excellent. His German is not. I´ll spare readers a lenghty explanation of just why Plácido Domingo is the best tenor in this repertoire for as long time back as I can remember, but keywords include: Legato singing, dramatic presence, beautiful barytonal glow, convincing interpretation.
Cheryl Studer is a vocally a very fine and moving Elsa, though rather monodimensional on stage. However, the Queen of monodimensionalism is Dunja Vejzovic´s very passive Ortrud, who constantly looks bored more than anything else. Matched by the slightly more energetic, though wooden Hartmut Welker. Robert Lloyd´s nasal singing frankly irritates me as Heinrich, and overshadows whatever additional qualities he may have.
Claudio Abbado conducts with transparent beauty and myriad of details. In the perfect world he would have added more energy and intensity as well. And chosen another stage director..
In short: Not recommended despite excellent performances from Domingo, Studer and Abbado.
Plácido Domingo and Cheryl Studer, 3rd act confrontation (the highlight of the DVD):
The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):
Plácido Domingo: 5
Cheryl Studer: 4
Dunja Vejzovic: 2
Hartmut Welker: 2-3
Robert Lloyd: 2
Wolfgang Weber´s production: 1
Claudio Abbado: 4-5
Overall impression: 2