5 December 2013 at 3.03pm | 10 Comments
The production features a stellar cast including Gerald Finley as Amfortas, Simon O’Neill as Parsifal, Angela Denoke as Kundry, René Pape as Gurnemanz and Willard W. White as Klingsor, conducted by Music Director Antonio Pappano. Watch an interview with Gerald Finley about taking on the role of Amfortas.
An epic and transcendental work, Parsifal explores sensual temptation and spiritual redemption. The score features sections of great beauty, such as the Act I Prologue and the closing scene of the opera. Wagner's final opera contrasts the sacred with the sensual, from stark processional music to dialogues of great sensuality. Read more about how the composer uses church music in Parsifal. To add to the majesty of the work, the score also features bells that toll through the transition scenes. Read more about the use of bells in Parsifal.
The Story and the Production
The opera, loosely based on Wolfram von Eschenbach’s medieval romance Parzifal, tells the story of an innocent young man who arrives at the Kingdom of the Holy Grail. The Grail community, in despair due to the sickness of its ruler, believes he might be the ‘pure fool, enlightened by compassion’ who, it has been prophesized, will heal the community. Director Stephen Langridge and Designer Alison Chitty, the creative team also behind The Royal Opera's The Minotaur, have created an inventive new staging to emphasize the timeless and universal nature of the Parsifal story. Our Opera Essentials piece covers all the background.
Parsifal had its premiere at Bayreuth in 1882, following which an embargo was placed on the work forbidding performances outside the festival. When the embargo was lifted in 1914, the opera was performed across the globe.
Stephen Langridge’s production of Wagner’s masterpiece had its world premiere on 30 November, and was described by critics as a musical performance of exceptional sensitivity, with ‘oodles of sensuousness and disarming tenderness’.