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Parsifal to be broadcast live to cinemas and radio

Listen to all-star cast on BBC Radio 3 on 11 December and in cinemas on 18 December.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

5 December 2013 at 3.03pm | 10 Comments

The Royal Opera’s Parsifal will be broadcast live by BBC Radio 3 on Wednesday 11 December at 4:45pm and screened live in cinemas around the world on 18 December.

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.

The Music

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’.

Read audience reactions to the opening night and add your own review.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

5 December 2013 at 3.03pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged BBC Radio 3, broadcast, by Stephen Langridge, cinema, Film, Live broadcast, movies, Parsifal, Production, radio, relay, Richard Wagner

This article has 10 comments

  1. Chris responded on 6 December 2013 at 3:57pm Reply

    Stefan Herheim’s production?? I wish!

  2. Benedicte responded on 8 December 2013 at 10:02pm Reply

    I have been fortunate enough to be invited by a technician, as a random act of kindness, to the final dress rehearsal...still blown away...and ever so grateful...

  3. T Kinvig responded on 18 December 2013 at 9:39pm Reply

    Booked at local cinema to watch live screening only to be told this evening it had been cancelled. Got money back but totally disappointed.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 18 December 2013 at 11:41pm

      Very sorry to hear that. Could you tell us which cinema you visited?

      Best wishes


  4. Nigel responded on 19 December 2013 at 1:02am Reply

    I found the sound quality really rather poor during the first act; quite distorted, particularly on the brass, and a weird balance (very little treble?).

    Was there a problem with the transmission or was it my cinema, or perhaps just my ears

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 19 December 2013 at 1:06am

      Hi Nigel

      We did have some problems with transmission in some parts of the UK due to the stormy weather. Could I ask which cinema you were in?

      Best wishes


  5. Mrs. Angela Carver responded on 20 December 2013 at 12:17am Reply

    We were in The Odeon Cinema in Telford, Shropshire and were very disappointed as the transmission kept breaking up from the start to the point that the audience and the management of the cinema agreed that there was no point in continuing and offered us our money back! We were told that it was due to too much data traffic through a local transmission mast but got the impression that the staff didn't really know what the problem was. We were most disappointed that this technology seems to be so fragile and would like to know the real reason and the likelihood of its being avoided in future.

  6. Robert Hughes responded on 21 December 2013 at 8:52am Reply

    I thought the opera, the production, the singing and in particular the acting were superb but my local experience was dreadful. i went to a cinema in Burnley. The sound quality in the opening 10 minutes was not good but improved. I was totally entranced until 10 mnutes from the end when the transmission ceased, No apology from the cinema staff. no explanation. When I complained there was talk of the weather being responsible. No offer of a refund.The event was not marketed locally so there was a poor attendance (different from 2 years ago when owned by Vue). There was no soap in the gents and none appeared after I had complained. ROH top marks, local cinema 0 out of 10

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