Lohengrin
Richard Wagner

201

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Wagner has 7 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame — the same amount as Schubert and Handel — and this is the fourth. It has featured in 18 of the 20th Hall of Fame countdowns and reached its highest position of 127 in 2002.

First performed in 1850, Lohengrin's popularity was not particularly embraced by the composer. Wagner wrote after the premiere: "If I could have everything my way, Lohengrin — the libretto of which I wrote in 1845 — would be long forgotten in favour of new works that prove, even to me, that I have made progress". It's certainly packed full of drama: a noblewoman loves and loses a mysterious knight with no name who rides giant swans. Not to be forgotten is the famous Bridal Chorus, (better known as Here Comes the Bride), the soundtrack to nuptial celebrations across the globe.

Scene from Wagner's Lohengrin, as performed at the London premiere by Arthur Thiele (1875).