101 YEARS OLD AND STILL OF­FER­ING MAR­I­TAL AD­VICE...

Daily Express - - LETTERS -

HAV­ING just seen a glo­ri­ous per­for­mance of Wag­ner’s Lo­hen­grin at the Royal Opera House, I am left with the feel­ing that young ladies ought to give the mat­ter greater thought be­fore rush­ing into mar­riage.

The plot of the opera fea­tures the usual myth­i­cal bat­tle be­tween good and evil with the for­mer rep­re­sented by Elsa and the hero Lo­hen­grin who rides in on a swan to res­cue her from a false ac­cu­sa­tion of frat­ri­cide made by her guardian Friedrich von Tel­ra­mund.

Rather than of­fer ev­i­dence to sup­port his claim, Tel­ra­mund chal­lenges any de­fender of Elsa to trial by com­bat ex­pect­ing no one to ac­cept. In the nick of time how­ever Lo­hen­grin swans in and mag­i­cally de­feats him. In ex­change, Elsa agrees to marry him, which the hero goes along with on the one con­di­tion that she never asks him his name or his back­ground.

On the day of the wed­ding, we see her putting on a wed­ding dress which de­scends from the sky. And that’s the first mo­ment when I think she should have be­gan to have doubts. It seems to me that this ap­pear­ance of the dress in­di­cates that it was bought from Ama­zon and de­liv­ered by drone. Is that all not a bit cheap and rushed?

Af­ter the wed­ding, she suf­fers a bad at­tack of PMT (Post-Mar­i­tal Ten­sion) and breaks her vow about not ask­ing him to re­veal his name and ori­gins. He gets very an­gry at this, be­cause he is a Knight of the Holy Grail and re­veal­ing his iden­tity will break the spell that en­abled him to save her. Now he must tell all who he is, leave Elsa and re­turn to Grail-land whence he came.

The ob­vi­ous le­gal prob­lems that will prob­a­bly en­sue are not touched upon but I feel sure she will sue him for aban­don­ment, he will try to have the mar­riage an­nulled on the grounds of non-con­sum­ma­tion and the in­tro­duc­tion of a new timetable for swans will be de­layed for months.

Had Elsa paused to think about it, all these prob­lems could so eas­ily have been avoided. In­stead of break­ing her vow, she could surely have looked on the mar­riage cer­tifi­cate to find out his name. Even if she couldn’t read his sig­na­ture, his name would al­most cer­tainly have been printed leg­i­bly next to the word “hus­band”.

Even if that failed, she could have use one of her life­lines to ask the au­di­ence. We had all read the syn­op­sis in the pro­gramme and knew very well that his name was Lo­hen­grin. It’s even there in big let­ters on the front as it is, af­ter all, the ti­tle of the opera.

The moral of the myth, I sup­pose, is that any young lady ought not to rush things when she is saved from dis­as­ter and swept off her feet by a fel­low with the good looks of a mati­nee idol and long, swept back blond hair, who is dressed all in white and makes a rather over-dra­matic en­try rid­ing in on a boat pulled by a swan.

One can so eas­ily be swayed by first ap­pear­ances and Lo­hen­grin’s flam­boy­ant ar­rival should have made her think twice.

Per­son­ally, I al­ways ask peo­ple’s names be­fore mar­ry­ing them. Be­sot­ted young ladies would be well ad­vised to fol­low that ad­vice.

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