Filipino-Chinese composer Jeffrey Ching had always wondered what happened before Lohengrin turned up in Brabant in his swan-shaped boat. So, with a commision to create a chamber work on a fantastical theme, he wrote an opera about it.
Before Brabant premieres in concert version in Hong Kong on 18 March. Ignoring Wagner's murmurs of Parsifal and Monsalvat, Ching's opera is based on a 16th century text by Robert Copland, The Knight of the Swanne. In this story, Lohengrin is one of seven young princes banished to a forest and cursed to turn into swans.
Seven musicians and four singers perform the 70 minute work. Anyone hoping for a Wagner pastiche will be disappointed - the music is apparently atonal, with Chinese influences, although a Wagner quote does pop up at the end.