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Der Fluch des Engelhart: "The Lost Wagner Opera"

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 17 October 2011 | 12:20:00 am

Well, not really but a little bit of pointless Wagner Trivia and part of the final "act".

Gabriel Knight is a series of 3 video adventure games from the 1990s produced for the PC and MAC by Jane Jensen and Roberta Williams. Because I am so lazy I will quote from WIKI which in this case is unusually correct:

All three games in the series focus on the adventures of Gabriel Knight, a New Orleans author and bookstore owner who finds that his destiny is to become aSchattenjäger, or "Shadow Hunter". Gabriel's assistant, sidekick, and sometime romantic interest Grace Nakimura is a major supporting character in Sins of the Fathers. In The Beast Within and Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, she shares the role of protagonist with Gabriel. The player alternates between Gabriel and Grace for different portions of each game.

With a balanced mix of historical facts and fictional elements, as well as an emphasis on character development (e.g. the relationship between Gabriel and Grace is an important subplot throughout the series), the Gabriel Knight games have been praised as outstanding achievements in storytelling. The music in the series, composed by Robert Holmes(Jensen's husband), contributes significantly to the atmosphere.
Of especial interest to us is the second game in the series. Returning to WIKI once again:

The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery

The second game (also known as Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within) follows Gabriel on his second Schattenjäger case. A year after the events of Sins of the Fathers, he has moved to his ancestral home in Bavaria, Germany to write his new novel. The population of Rittersberg, the seat of the Schattenjägers, are well aware of his family's reputation and when word reaches them of what is reported to be a werewolf attack in Munich, they compel Gabriel to go and investigate. Gabriel is joined in Germany by Grace, once she learns that he has begun a new case and hasn't asked her to join him. Whilst Gabriel follows a trail from missing zoo wolves to a mysterious men's hunting club in Munich, Grace conducts research back in Rittersberg and around Bavaria. Her investigations lead her to the history of King Ludwig II, the composer Richard Wagner and a shadowy figure known as the Black Wolf. Eventually the links between the cases become clear, and Grace discovers that the person in the greatest danger has become Gabriel himself.

The game was created using techniques developed in Phantasmagoria, with the characters and many objects captured in real-time video against blue screen backgrounds and appearing on "virtual sets" consisting largely of photographic backgrounds. Although this technique has come in for much criticism from games makers and players alike, The Beast Within was generally well received with the quality of the script and some of the performances coming in for particular praise. Dean Erickson plays Gabriel Knight andJoanne Takahashi plays Grace Nakamura.If you are a Wagner completionist there is a novelization of the game also which while now difficult to get you can at least read on Scribd by going here

So, what does this missing Wagner masterpiece sound and look like? You really want to know? Well, don't say we didn't warn you:

The opera sequence near the end of the game GK2 The Beast Within. It is the first performance of a long lost Wagner opera about werewolves called "Der Fluch des Engelhart" [The Curse of Engelhart] which was composed to 'save' King Ludwig over hundred years ago.

Friedrich von Glower is invited as one of the special guests. Gabriel has made his way on the stage for the third act as Engelhart.