Since 2005, the prize-winning conductor Simone Young has been director of the Staatsoper Hamburg and GMD of the Philharmoniker Hamburg. Here, she has already directed a great number of premieres and repertoire performances ranging from Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Wagner, Strauss to Hindemith, Britten, Henze. At the Hamburgische Staatsoper and at the Philharmoniker Hamburg she celebrated great triumphs with world and German premieres. Engagements have led the Sydney-born conductor to the world´s leading opera houses, for example in Paris, London, Munich, New York, Los Angeles. Apart from her opera conducting, she has also made a name for herself on the world´s concert podiums. From 1999 to 2002 she was chief conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, from 2001 to 2003 she was Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Australian Opera in Sydney/Melbourne. Since 2007 she is also Permanent Guest Conductor of the Lisbon Gulbenkian Orchestra. She made her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 1993 with La Bohème and has since then conducted 25 opus and approximately 130 evenings, among them premieres of La Juive, Osud and Le villi.
Kwangchul Youn was born in Korea and studied at the Chong-Ju University as well as in Sofia and Berlin and was awarded several prizes. In 1988 he made his debut in Seoul, sang at the Korean State Opera in 1989/1990 and then came to Europe. From 1994 until 2004 he was member of the ensemble of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, to which he remains closely linked and where he has for example sung in Aida, La Bohème, Don Carlo, Don Giovanni, Elektra, Fidelio, Nozze di Figaro, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Parsifal, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde and Die Zauberflöte. He has received invitations to the Opera National de Paris and the Paris Theatre du Chatelet, to the RuhrTriennale, to the Dresdner Musikfestspielen, to Barcelona, Valencia, the Salzburger and Bayreuther Festspiele, to the Ravinia Festival, the Met. He is also an internationally successful concert singer. He made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2002 as Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and has sung Leporello, Ramfis, König Heinrich, Gurnemanz (Parsifal), Philippe II., Mephistopheles and Sarastro here.
EVGENY NIKITIN was born in Murmansk and studied at the music academy in St. Petersburg. Already during his studies, he debuted at the Mariinski theatre and was soon invited to important opera houses and renowned festivals world-wide. In 2002 he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in Krieg und Frieden and also sang Colline, Pogner, Fasolt, Orest, Wanderer, Rangoni and Klingsor there. He debuted at the Paris Opera in 2005 in Der Dämon and sang, respectively still sings Boris Godunow, Jochanaan, Klingsor, Tomski, Gunther, Orest there. He made his first appearance as Jochanaan at the Bayerische Staatsoper in 2008 and also performed Telramund there. Furthermore he sang the leading role in Der fliegende Holländer and Philipp II. (Baden-Baden), Amfortas (Berlin), Jochanaan (Zurich and Verbier), Boris Godunow, Amfortas, Wotan, Wanderer, Don Giovanni (Mariinski), Don Pizarro (Valencia). Amongst his current performances are his debut as Telramund in Amsterdam and as Scarpia in Chicago.
Petra Lang was born in Frankfurt am Main, she studied singing under Gertie Charlent and Ingrid Bjoner after completing a violin degree and worked on her Wagner roles with Astrid Varnay. She currently studies with the Italian tenor Angelo Loforese. After staring in the lyric mezzo field, she became known for her Wagner roles (Ortrud, Kundry, Sieglinde, Venus, Brangäne, Waltraute), Judith (Blaubarts Burg), Cassandre (Les Troyens), Marie (Wozzeck) and Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos). The singer has sung in the big opera houses on both sides of the Atlantic, recently among others at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, at the Lyric Opera Chicago, the Deutschen Oper Berlin, the Budapest Staatsoper, the Munich Staatsoper, the San Francisco Opera, the Paris Opera, in Luzern, Bayreuth, Santiago, Salzburg, Edinburgh, Seville and Amsterdam. She is also successful as a lied and concert singer. she made her debut at the Vienna State Opera in 2002 as Fricka (Walküre) and has since also sung Fricka (Rheingold), Waltraute (Götterdämmerung), Ortud, Kundry and Brangäne.
With Hungary threatening East Francia after a nine-year truce, King Henry I is visiting all his duchies and counties to assemble a large army. He also travels to Brabant, where there is little enthusiasm for taking part in a campaign so far from home. To make matters worse, the king must settle a dispute about the Brabantian succession: Elsa, daughter of the deceased Duke of Brabant, has been accused by Friedrich of Telramund of having murdered her brother Gottfried. Telramund is supported in his accusation by his wife Ortrud, who comes from an old family that formerly ruled Brabant. Ortrud, who is in fact responsible for Gottfried's disappearance, plans not only to win back sovereignty over Brabant for herself and her family, but also to restore the old pagan religion and the associated customs and practices. Elsa, who is challenged by King Henry to respond to the accusation, instead tells the assembled company of a dream in which a knight appeared to her, offering to defend her. When a trial by combat is proclaimed, the knight of whom Elsa dreamed actually appears in a small boat drawn by a swan. He offers Elsa protection and marriage, on the condition that she never ask his name and where he comes from. Elsa promises solemnly, and the unknown knight defeats Telramund in combat, proving Elsa's innocence. Ortrud, who cannot reconcile herself to the outcome of the trial by combat, once again persuades Telramund of Elsa's supposed guilt. She also tries to sow doubt in Elsa's heart about the mysterious nature of the unknown knight. When on the day of her wedding Elsa walks to the wedding altar with the knight, Ortrud disputes her precedence, since Elsa cannot even state the name of her future husband. For his part, Telramund accuses the knight of sorcery. Although Ortrud and Telramund are rebuffed, the seeds of doubt now begin to grow in Elsa's breast. After the wedding, Elsa and her husband are led to the bridal chamber, where they face each other alone for the first time. Plagued by growing doubts, Elsa finally poses the forbidden question precisely at the moment when Telramund bursts into the room to kill the unknown knight. In the ensuing fight, Telramund is killed, but this victory is of no benefit to Elsa. When the soldiers gather the next morning to go off to battle alongside King Henry and led by the unknown knight whom all admire, he reveals his secret: he is Lohengrin, the son of Parsifal, King of the Grail Knights. Since his identity is now known, he must leave Elsa and Brabant. When Ortrud triumphantly declares that she herself transformed Elsa's brother Gottfried into Lohengrin's swan, before he disappears Lohengrin breaks the spell with a prayer, thereby restoring Gottfried's human form.