The Hidden Story Behind “Bridal Chorus” by Wagner

This article was written by Phin Upham

You might not have heard of “Bridal Chorus” by name, but you have heard the tune if you’ve ever been to a wedding. You might have heard it called “Here Comes the Bride,” which is a play on the lyrics that match the tune. The tune is centerpiece to almost every wedding movie ever made, and you’ve probably heard it played on anything from an organ to a kazoo. It’s the international signal that the bride is forthcoming, but it’s not the true meaning behind the

It comes from an opera called Lohengrin, which is a tale of murder and love to rival Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet. It begins in strife, as the Duchy of Brabant is filled with conflict. The King prays for a knight to come and deliver the land from the violence and unrest. The Knight is Lohengrin, who betroths himself to the lady Elsa during these discussions. The two retreat to Elsa’s chambers when her handmaidens sing for them.

Lohengrin is set to express his love for Elsa when the two are interrupted by the king’s henchman. Lohengrin quarrels with the henchman, killing five of them. He brings the bodies to the king and explains that he cannot deliver the land from strife because he is needed to protect the Holy Grail. The marriage between Elsa and Lohengrin is brief, lasting only two songs before he abandons his bride. Elsa dies of grief as her hero floats away on his magic swan, back to the land he is sworn to protect. So, while the organ music might elicit happiness at a wedding, there are dark undertones just beneath the happy chords.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.