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Maciamo
12-08-06, 00:57
Belgium made not be famous for its classical music composers (if we except that Beethoven's family was originally from Belgium), but many subjects for the great 19th-century operas were inspired by tales or true events that happened in the present territory of Belgium. Here are some examples :

- Egmont (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egmont_%28play%29) : a famous play by Goethe telling the life of the 16-th-century Flemish Count of Egmont fighting the Spanish occupier. He was eventually beheaded on Brussels' Grand Place by Philip II of Spain. Beethoven, maybe nostalgic of his Flemish roots, composed a famous opera based on Goethe's play.

- Lohengrin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lohengrin) : knight of the Holy Grail, son of Parzival, which inspired Wagner for his opera of the same name. Lohengrin's story takes place at the court of the Duke of Brabant (region around Brussels) where he Princess Elsa of Brabant. The story of the Holy Grail had been intimately connected to Belgium since Abbot Dunstan of Glastonbury fled to Flanders around 950 and found refuge in Ghent, where he left a few manuscripts related to the legend. Lohengrin's 'Knight of the Swan' element was known at the time only from tales of (Belgian duke) Godfrey of Bouillon's ancestry, who led to first crusade and become the first Western 'protector of the Holy Sepulcher' (and this is history, not legend).

- Till Eulenspiegel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Till_Eulenspiegel) : More Saxon than Belgian, this medieval folk hero spent part of his life in the Low Countries. According to the 19th-century Belgian novel, he was born in Damme, near Bruges (Belgium), and not near Brunswick (Germany).