My teacher is currently imposing on me the study of the aria In Fernem Land, an archival aria of the Wagnerian opera Lohengrin. There are many interpretations on the Internet, from the honeyed Kaufmann to the imposing Windgassen. It is a melody that can play in the romantic pathos of Germanic or become more human, almost approaching the American musical. It’s probably a little like that, I guess, Wagner.
For me, the exercise is exhausting. I am a small, oldish tenor and, without any supervision, the dramatic throws of a single A look more like a miserable note without echo. In this air, Lohengrin describes that in a remote region, in a castle called Montsalvat, there is a temple that holds a precious treasure. “It’s the Grail!” he exclaims as he sings this dangerous E - A. When I sing that, I choke, I squeak, I shock, and from time to time, I produce about what it takes.
Misery of the Holy Grail! It seems that this simple interval describes my current existence…
I’m at this point, trying to move like a drunken old, almost dead peacock. Sometimes I think it’s because I don’t believe in the text. I can’t really feel it, or feel it this Lohengrin. That’s not me, Wagner… I have more pleasure singing Lensky’s tearful aria. I also wonder why I insist, why I continue. Certainly not to go sing that in front of an audience….
Well, a E - A here, a E - A there. At least, it evacuates the mucus….