Wagner's Parsifal

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Saturday, March 02, 2013

René Pape as Gurnemanz in Wagner's 'Parsifal' René Pape as Gurnemanz in Wagner's 'Parsifal' (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

French-Canadian director Francois Girard directs a modern staging of Parsifal, Wagner's last great project. Wagner envisioned this opera as a work of consecration for the stage at Bayreuth and he intended it to be performed only there. While his wish was honored for a number of years after his death, it has since become an epic undertaking for international opera companies.

The story is drawn from the legends of the Holy Grail, as transformed by medieval poets. It is full of religious overtones, from the evil Klingsor and his magic domain to Parsifal's (Jonas Kaufmann) acts of compassion to win salvation for the suffering Amfortas (Peter Mattei), the humble Kundry (Katarina Dalayman) and the fellowship of the Holy Grail.

Conductor: Daniele Gatti

Kundry: Katarina Dalayman

Parsifal: Jonas Kaufmann

Amfortas: Peter Mattei

Klingsor: Evgeny Nikitin

Gurnemanz: René Pape

Comments [10]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

WAGNER'S PARSIFAL is one of the rare ecumenical operas. Spirituality, rather than a specific religion, although one assumes Christianity, is the all-pervasive pedal point of this music drama.
The incandescent beauty and intoxicating spirituality are so transformational that any religious belief may be accommodated and synthesized to replicate the sense of selfless empathy for the welfare of others that the sacrificed UNICO represents to us all. That may explain why so many famous JEWISH singers, not listed earlier GEORGE LONDON, RICHARD TAUBER, HERMANN JADLOWKER, MELANIE KURT, JONAS KAUFMANN, OTTILIE METZGER, LILLI LEHMANN, HERMANN WEIL, DESZO ERNSTER, HERTA GLAZ, SOPHIE BRASLAU, WALTER OLITZKY, ESTELLE LIEBLING, MONA PAULEE, GUNTHER TREPTOW, PAULA LENCHNER, ALMA GLUCK, ADOLF ROBINSON, IRENE JESSNER, MAX BLOCH, ERNESTINE SCHUMANN-HEINK, HERMANN SCHRAMM, PAUL KALISCH, ETC], conductors GEORG SOLTI, WALTER AND LEOPOLD DAMROSCH, RICHARD FRANK GOLDMAN AND HIS FATHER THE FOUNDER OIF THE GOLDMAN BAND THAT PERFORMED BRASS INSTRUMENT VERSIONS OF THE WAGNER "REP," FRITZ REINER, SERGE KOUSSEVITZKY, FABIEN SEVITSKY, ERICH LEINSDORF, HERMANN LEVI, ETC. and stage directors HERBERT GRAF AND LEOPOLD SACHSE.

Mar. 05 2013 05:03 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

SOME HAVE MENTIONED HOW ECUMENICAL ONE CAN VIEW PARSIFAL SINCE SO MANY JEWISH PERFORMERS WERE FAMED PARSIFAL PERFORMERS [INCLUDING CONDUCTORS, OF COURSE] NAMING ONLY A FEW: ALFRED HERTZ, THE CONDUCTOR FOR THE 1903 MET OPERA PREMIERE IN AMERICA, DANIEL BARENBOIM, JAMES LEVINE, GEORG SOLTI, FRIEDRICH SCHORR, ALEXANDER KIPNIS, ERICH LEINDDORF, HERMAN LEVI [THE OPERA'S PREMIERE CONDUCTOR AT BAYREUTH], FRITZ BUSCH, BRUNO WALTER, MARGARETE MATZENAUER, ETC. WAGNER'S PUTATIVE FATHER WAS LUDWIG GEYER, A JEWISH TENOR, PAINTER IN OILS AND COMPOSER. WAGNER'S ANTI-SEMITISM MAY BE ASCRIBED TO THE FACT THAT OUTSIDE OF KING LUDWIG THE SECOND ALMOST ALL OF WAGNER'S FINANCIAL SUPPORTERS WERE JEWISH. LENDERS, UNABLE TO REPAY, OFTEN TURN AGGRESSIVE TO THEIR BENEFACTORS. IT IS KNOWN THAT WAGNER ADORED LUDWIG WHO MARRIED JOHANNA AND UNTIL LUDWIG GEYER DIED THE COMPOSERS NAME WAS WILHELM RICHARD GEYER. JOHANNA RETURNED HER SON'S NAME TO WAGNER FEARING THE JEWISH NAME OF GEYER WOULD JEOPARDIZE HIS FUTURE. I am an opera composer, Wagnerian heldentenor and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute. www.WagnerOpera.com

Mar. 03 2013 07:50 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

THE MET'S PARSIFAL performance concluded at 5:55 PM. In all respects sonically the broadcast was epochal considering the lack of voices the size and timbre of MELCHIOR, FLAGSTAD, SCHORR AND KIPNIS. JONAS KAUFMANN WAS AS FINE A PARSIFAL AS THE MET OPERA HAS EVER PRESENTED SINCE MELCHIOR. RENE PAPE HAS GURNEMANZ TO HIMSELF WITH HIS NOBILITY OF VOICE QUALITY, TIMBRE. KATARINA DALAYMAN, THE KUNDRY SINGS THE NOTES WITH A FLOURISH EVEN THE SOARING, HIGH TESSITURA OF THE ACT 2 SCENE WITH PARSIFAL. PETER MATTEI AS AMFORTAS MAKES THE HALLUCINATORY TRISTAN OF TRISTAN'S ACT 3 SEEM PLACID. KUDOS TO MATTEI. EVGENY NIKITIN AS KLINGSOR MENACES AUTHORITARIANLY. MAESTRO DANIELE GATTI CONVINCES US THAT SPIRITUALITY IN OPERA CAN BE AN ECSTATIC, THRILLING EXPERIENCE. THE ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS PERFORM WITH ELAN AND FULL-THROTTLE GUSTO WHERE AND WHEN IT IS APPROPRIATE. THIS WAS A TRULY MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE. I have studied voice and been coached in the Wagner heldentenor roles by legendary artists who made history with their MET OPERA PARSIFAL performnces: ALEXANDER KIPNIS AS GURNEMANZ, MARTIAL SINGHER AND FRIEDRICH SCHORR AS AMFORTAS, MARGARETE MATAZENAUER AS THE AMERICAN PREMIERE KUNDRY AT THE MET, and the buffo baritone GERHARD PECHNER as Klingor. I am the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute where I coach all the Wagner and Shakespeare roles.

Mar. 02 2013 07:16 PM
Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt from Sarasota, FL

One of the great spiritual operas of the world. In this performance I lack dynamics. The voices as are great.
I totally agree with the comments of Lochlan from Manhattan. Excellent ! There is nothing more to say. Thanks Lochlan.
cell:941.350.9888

Mar. 02 2013 04:11 PM
Lochlan from Manhattan

Am I doing this twice? If so, all to the point that we are listening in earnest to this opera. For all reasons. There is the Bible, The Bhagavad Gita, the Holocaust, The Catholic Church, The Tao ... History, human suffering and the saving grace of compassion. Kundry. Women. The resurrection of the Sun in the Spring. I'll leave off, but the Holy Grail is at this point, WQXR, and we have found it, we who have searched for so long. For those of us who are stuck in reality, this is a shot in the arm. Most beneficial. Best regards, Lochlan

Mar. 02 2013 01:50 PM
Frank from UWS

This is the cast that includes the singer who had the alleged swastika tattoo. Funny how that hasn't been a bigger issue during this run.

http://www.wqxr.org/#!/blogs/operavore/2012/jul/24/singer-says-swastika-tattoo-not-political/

Mar. 02 2013 12:26 PM

Neither length nor religion have anything to do with my love of this opera. It is the music, wonderfully played by the Met orch, & the singing by some great voices.

Mar. 02 2013 10:29 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

CBC: Of course I will be moved. Auguri

Mar. 02 2013 09:35 AM
Paul Martin

A piercing, moving, soul-deepening event, whatever your spiritual persuaion.. truly sublime. Yes, it is long, but the soul appreciates what is long also, as it depends upon eternity... Not to be missed.

Mar. 02 2013 01:08 AM

CBC Parsifal is so sublime. I can listen to it all the time. The sonic beauty of the score, makes me exclaim, more, more. Pape, Kaufmann, & Dalyman are 1st rate - can't say anything bad about their talent Enjoy & be moved by this wonderful music.

Mar. 01 2013 10:32 PM

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