Cher Public

The cup runneth over

Even after more than 30 years as a die-hard opera fan there are still parts of the repertoire I haven’t embraced. Benjamin Britten and myself are really only acquaintances and I’ve met Alban Berg but fear we shall never be friends. I really became an opera fan chronologically backwards starting with Puccini and ending, essentially, with Mozart and Handel. Only then came Wagner.

After distilling all those different musical styles and traditions, Wagner wasn’t really that difficult to wrap my head around, with the exception of Parsifal. I would check the score out from the library and follow along dutifully to the broadcasts waiting for the penny to drop. It was years before I finally understood the lengths of its constructive elements and how broad the expanses of melody and leitmotif were within that structure.  

Still, for all of the score’s extraordinary beauty, it made little sense to me dramatically. I was certain the last Met production, back in 1991, would be the one that finally opened the floodgates for me. Surely, this is exactly what Wagner wanted: n über-traditional staging with monumental sets that morphed before you. Still, no drama. I’ve seen almost every video performance of Wagner’s Bühnenweihfestspiel (“Festival play for the consecration of the stage”…oh, those Germans!) I could lay hands on since but it wasn’t until I sat in my local movie theater last year that every nuance of the story and text clicked in succession and fell over in my head like a row of dominoes. I am grateful to Sony for this new release of the Metropolitan Opera’s latest production of Parsifal and I hope I’m not the only one who discovers what a rich experience this opera can be because of it.

I lay full responsibility for the glories of this performance at the feet of its director François Girard and the team he’s assembled and I will gladly wash them. He of the films Thirty-two Short Films about Glenn Gould and especially The Red Violin has enjoyed a varied theatrical career that encompases Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins mounted for Lyon and the Edinburgh Festival and even two shows for Cirque du Soleil.

Mostly I frown upon a director who stages the overture but here Girard starts the opera behind a mirrored scrim with all the participants in black formal wear facing the audience. As the prelude unfolds the men slowly lose their jackets and ties and the group segreates by gender. The staging is imbued from the first with an opulent starkness and Act I opens on a scorched earth with office chairs. Girard gives this community its own language of gestures and practice that is derived all the way from fundamentalist Christianity to Buddhism and, it seems, everything in between.

This isn’t the first post-apocalyptic setting for Parsifal that I’ve seen but, come to think of it, what sense does it really make to be searching for spirituality in the middle of nature’s bounty? These pilgrims are worshiping, in desperate hope, an earth whose sustaining fruits have withered.

Since there’s so little action the leader of this group is a storyteller of the highest order and René Pape’s Gurnemanz deserves highest praise for finding that magical mix of commanding legato and conversational delivery that keeps the humanity foremost in his performance. He’s particularly commanding during the Act I “time becomes space” monologue which could otherwise have been upstaged by the background videos of Peter Flaherty depicting planet shifting in its orbit before us. But Pape’s power as an interpreter keeps us grounded in the moment so that the atmosphere remains just that.

Katarina Dalayman’s Kundry is made up initially to look older than she is and she’s got layers of religious talismans around her neck indicating her character’s desperate pursuit for redemption. In Act II, when she’s been tarted up for her grand seduction, her performance finds all the lurid links that call into question not only her character’s true identity but her motivations. The horror of Kundry’s conflict has never been more subtly drawn, but is at every moment palpably apparent.

She’s riveting in the long history of Herzeleide, Parisal’s mother, and manages her dark-hued soprano especially well in a role that’s truly zwichenfach. The writing of the last few pages of Act II have actually been called “cruel” by one famous exponent of this role and are certainly infamously difficult. I only caught Dalayman forcing the voice once which must be some kind of record. Her participation in Act III, where she has virtually nothing to sing, brings this entire enterprise to a new level that was deeply satisfying and heart breaking.

Peter Mattei is gently carried on as Amfortas and he sings extraordinarily well for someone who isn’t allowed to ever stand up straight and needs to appear like he’s bleeding to death. He displays an ease in Wagner’s long phrases in spite of his physical torments and he’s gratefully all baritone which makes him more lyrical than most of the bassos who try to creep in.

The Klingsor of Evgeny Nikitin reigns in a dank cavern with a death squadron of flowermaiden clones. He see’s Parsifal coming in the reflection of the ankle deep blood that covers the floor and mobilizes his troops to vanquish him. His voice is hard and dark and eminently suited to the perverse villainy of his part. Carolyn Choa’s choreography gives the maidens fast angular movements that are visually unsettling. Even after haltingly marching an actual bed onstage for Kundry’s wicked purpose they remain sentries throughout the act with their spears and continue to comment on the action with gestures. Mr. Girard shows commendable restraint in an Act II finale that relies more on theatrical presence than stage wizardry.

We should be happy that Jonas Kaufmann decided to change recording labels for it seems to have spurred Sony on to this release and Decca to bringing out his Met Faust from 2011. Although allegations of inaudibility have been leveled at him in these pages recently I find him one of the most satisfying operatic tenors I have ever heard. His outburst towards the end of Act II,”Amfortas! Die Wunde,” just having wrenched himself from the frenzied, soul-sucking kiss of Kundry, finds him at his leonine best with an extraordinary command of the voice and a masculine fervency that I find unmatched amongst todays tenors.

Later in Act III when he appears as blasted and parched as the earth he stands on he renders the most delicate and touching version of,”Wie dünkt mich doch die Aue heut so schön!” I have ever heard. This was only his second performance in the role and from an acting standpoint he’s ernest and involved and in Parsifal that’s most of the work done. The only negative revelation is that in a production that requires his shirt off as much as this one it’s apparent Mr. Kaufmann has rarely seen the inside of a gym.

Daniele Gatti, conducting without a score, draws some of the most diaphanous and transparent playing I have ever heard from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Even in the  parts of the score that can come dangerously close to schmaltz (those Flowermaidens, the Good Friday spell) he finds a simplicity that takes us into the real heart of Wagner’s intention.

If I haven’t yet mentioned the work of set designer Michael Levine it’s because his construction for each act is so organic and true to the whole it will be hard for me to see Parsifal in another setting now. The costumes of Thibault Vancraenenbroeck are brilliant in their simplicity and work to effectuate the director’s vision. All are reinforced by the consummate lighting plot of David Finn. Once again I have to mention the stunning video design of Peter Flaherty, which range from photorealistic banks of rolling clouds to juxtaposed microphotography in one of greatest uses of this technology I’ve ever seen in a theatrical production.

This release is your best reason to buy a Blu-ray player because the picture is so sharp and the sound so glorious I doubt it can be rendered faithfully on a single DVD, in which alternate format Sony will release this performance on April 1.

I’ve tried not give away too much detail for those who may not have seen it yet, but lastly, there’s almost a comfort that the grail is a kitschy gold chalice in this production that otherwise re-thinks nearly every element of itself. I can safely say that this performance supersede all others on video and maybe even a few audio recordings.

  • Dolciamente Pipo

    I’m probably too late in the game to join in on this great discussion of this fascinating work. The Girard production has definitely been one of the high points of my opera-going life and mitigated a lot of the ‘difficulties’ I’ve had with the work over the years.
    One of the reasons I wanted to chime in is because La C’s comments and the discussion around them has been very stimulating (I’m so excited!)…I’ll be thinking about this when I approach the work in the future.
    Still, as an ‘irreligeous dog’ myself, I still wonder about some things.
    First of all, who/what are we meant to think the prophetic celestial voice is at the end of Act 1? Who, for that matter, are all the choral voices that chime in at the end of this act? Wagner does seem to be giving voice to some supernatural agency here.

    I like what you say about the final message of the piece being that everyone is responsible to create his/her own salvation, but in the end of opera Parsifal does perform ‘magic’,and the transformations that happen seem to come about through his intercession…not through each individual’s personal enlightenment through difficulty. Or rather, Amf and Kund have certainly had a difficult journey, but they don’t seem to be enlightened by it until this precise moment. In this way it seems to enforce the Christian idea of ‘I went through this to absolve you of sin’.
    Also, so much is made of the reuniting of the symbols of the chalice and the spear…which again seems to point more toward ‘magic’ than personal responsibility. P certainly doesn’t reject the symbols themselves. I guess you could say he transforms them?

    Even in Girard, the final scene has always been the least satisfying/interesting part of the work. For me, all the important stuff happens in the middle part of the act with those almost unbearably poignant intimate ecounters between K, P and G. And then the great natural transformation in the Good Friday music. In fact, my one beef with Girard (and most other modern productions) is that there is no comparable transformation on stage here. For me, this is a huge moment, and there really should be something. I try not to be overly literal, but when P states, over that extraordinary wave of music, that ‘die Aue’ is so ‘schon’ and he’s looking at a parched wasteland it just makes him seem delusional.

    In the early parts of the opera, there’s always a ‘problematic’ moment for me in Gurnemantz’s big Act I narration when he’s relating Klingsor’s backstory. I don’t have the libretto in front of me, but he says something to the effect of ‘he wanted to be one of us but was just not quite pure enough’…I think reference is made here to his ‘blood’. It’s never clear to me why K is so much worse than all the other knights and this leads me to think that Wagner wants us to make an assumption here, and the assumption I come up with makes me uncomfortable because it does sound like he’s referencing racial purity. It can’t just be because he can’t control his sexual urges…because obviously neither can Amfortas and he’s let off the hook at the end. There was one time where I wondered if we were meant to believe that Kling behaved lustfully toward the other knights. I don’t know. It’s still not entirely clear to me what’s going on here.
    I wonder why Klingsor is the one irredeemable character in this story. What makes him so?

    On the theme of Christianity, it’s a little curious to me that Kun is cursed for laughing at Christ. Doesn’t this go against the central Christian belief in forgiveness? Why would Christ curse her? I’m no expert, but doesn’t that go against the very idea of the Christ? Or is it she that curses herself?…which would go along with the idea of Amfortas’ shame being the real wound. Again, maybe the point here is that idea of Christian forgiveness as a given is bieng supplanted by the idea that it must be gained though self-knowledge and enlightenment.

    There’s more, but I’ve gone on way too long as it is.
    Great conversation! The great thing about ‘Parsifal’ is that there’s almost no end to exploring it. To be honest, I do sometimes wonder if Wagner built that into it or if it’s a result of some confused/contradictory thinking on his part.
    In any case it’s endlessly fascinating and all tied together in that extraordinary matrix of a score.

    • Well, here’s the relevant passage of the text from Act One about Klingsor:

      Die seinem Dienst ihr zugesindet
      auf Pfaden, die kein Sünder findet,
      ihr wisst, dass nur dem Reinen
      vergönnt ist, sich zu einen
      den Brüdern, die zu höchsten Rettungswerken
      des Grales Wunderkräfte stärken.
      Drum blieb es dem, nach dem ihr fragt, verwehrt,
      Klingsor’n, wie hart ihn Müh’ auch drob beschwert.
      Jenseits im Tale war er eingesiedelt;
      darüber hin liegt üpp’ges Heidenland:
      unkund blieb mir, was dorten er gesündigt;
      doch wollt’ er büssen nun, ja heilig werden;
      ohnmächtig, in sich selbst die Sünde zu ertöten,
      an sich legt’ er die Frevlerhand,
      die nun, dem Grale zugewandt,
      verachtungsvoll des’ Hüter von sich stiess.
      Darob die Wut nun Klingsorn unterwies,
      wie seines schmähl’chen Opfers Tat
      ihm gäbe zu bösem Zauber Rat;
      den fand er nun.

      I think you misremembered some of it. Briefly, Gurnemanz says to the Knappen, “Since you were called to the Grail’s service by a path no sinner can find, you know only the pure can become one of the brothers to whom the Grail gives the power to perform the highest ‘Rettungswerk’.”

      Already we have a moment of ambiguity, because “Rettungswerk” can mean literally “rescue work” or the figurative “salvation.” Now, we don’t actually see any Grail brothers doing either of these types of actions in the context of Parsifal, but we do see Lohengrin actually sent to rescue Elsa from a temporal predicament. So at any rate, whatever good deeds the Grail knights do, they are empowered to by the Grail.

      Moving on. “Therefore, it [“the privilege of service”] was denied to Klingsor even though he worked hard at attaining it. He lived in a valley bordering a heathen land; I don’t know what sort of sin he committed there, but he wished mightily to atone. Unable to control his urges, he laid his sinner’s hands upon himself and then reached them out to the Grail…”

      Now, this is so allusive it’s almost impossible to make any specific sense out it but the usual interpretation (supported by source materials?) is that Klingsor castrated himself in order to prevent himself from continuing to commit some sort of carnal sin, and thus disqualified himself for Grail membership.

      And finally, “In his wrath, Klingsor discovered that his ‘shameful act of sacrifice’ gave him the ability to learn black magic, which he then employed.”

      So there is no reference to race or blood there; rather, Klingsor first lacked the self-control to practice the level of sexual continence demanded by the Grail and then, still longing to partake of the Grail’s power, maimed himself thinking that action would satisfy the Grail’s requirements. Klingsor is “worse” than the other knights because he could not or would not practice the sexual continence that (as they believed) was a prerequisite for service to the Grail.

      I think you are very much more on the right track on the subject of Kundry: her curse is caused by “Schadenfreude,” the delight in the misery of another. This is a very particular sort of sin because, as Schopenhauer defines it, this is the precise antithesis of “Mitleid,” i.e., compassion or shared suffering which is the path to enlightenment. What Kundry in that earlier incarnation did is an even worse act of Schadenfreude than most because it was a reaction to the most important act of suffering in the entire Christian cosmology. In a sense, she committed the ultimate sin, which is why her punishment is so extreme and unusual. And, symmetrically, it requires the enlightened Parsifal to understand that even so monstrous a crime can, in fact, be forgiven and the sinner made whole again.

      This too points to the idea that the Grail Brotherhood was an imperfect attempt at realizing the ideal of enlightenment. It is interesting that both Gurnemanz and Parsifal use the term “Pfad,” the path to the Grail. Gurnemanz speaks of this “path” as something clear and well-marked by the outside force of the Grail and therefore fairly easy to follow, whereas Parsifal’s “path” is unclear and overgrown to the point that he has to wrest it out of the wilderness himself step by step. Even at the very end of his journey he is still violently uncertain he has found the right way.

      • PetertheModest

        So, how good a poet is Wagner ?

  • Fidelia

    What a fascinating discussion. I’m coming to it late, but having given the question some consideration during the day, I would say that for me there are two principal reasons that made Parsifal seem somewhat unsavoury until I saw the Girard production.

    Setting aside what I perceived as excessive longueurs when I first tried to listen to recordings, what unsettled me when I watched the Syberberg and Herheim DVDs was the atmosphere of morbidity that pervades the opera until the very end. The suppurating wounds, physical and spiritual, of Amfortas; the life-in-death (or vice-versa?) of Titurel; the moral putrefaction of the Brotherhood, all so vividly expressed in the music, were very hard for me to take. I felt like some sort of voyeur confronted by an unexpected, exceptionally sordid (necrophiliac?) tableau. It’s a true decadent’s vision of life (including the view of woman as a mysterious, poisonous source of deadly pleasure -- Huysmans’ image of La Grande Vérole), and I had the feeling that Wagner was taking some sort of prurient pleasure in the making of it. I actually felt sort of sullied by the whole thing, so I’m not surprised when I read that others find it unhealthy or vile or whatever.

    The Girard production enabled me to get past that point of view and see what you so beautifully described, La Cieca. Thank you for your eloquent and touching expression of the conclusions to be drawn from the Parsifal story. The Girard production helped me to see the way to this idea of spiritual redemption.

    The 2nd reason I had for not feeling at ease with Parsifal was, I think, due to Wagner’s own nebulous philosophical/theological stance coupled with the urge to preach. My husband and I were talking about this at lunch after listening to 3rd act of the glorious Sawallisch Bayreuth Tannhauser (Windgassen, Silja, Bumbry, Waechter…), which left both of us teary. It also left me frustrated, however, because the religious contextof the opera, like Parsifal, leads us to expect something related to Christian doctrine but in fact places us firmly in a theological twilight zone. In some sort of space/time/ warp, Venus coexists with the Christian God, living with her seems to correspond with the Christian idea of hell, and nothing really convinces me that the boredom Tannhauser felt while leading a “sinful” life in the bosom of Venus is really any different from the boredom he will feel living in heaven among the seraphim. Constant commfort as opposed to constant bliss? Tell me more…

    To get back to Parsifal, we are confronted with the same sort of theological casserole. It takes a lot of thought and some awfully good production values to get past the hodgepodge of medieval relics, form vs. substance, 19th century sexual values and religiosity, and traces of Buddhism that Wagner hits us with, before we can find a path to understanding the point he was making, which is finally quite simple.

    That said : Maybe that was his objective. We ourselves must shed all the trappings and become pure fools ourselves in order to perceive his message about the saving grace of compassion.

  • Camille

    I have a simple question about François Girard that perhaps someone may be able to address in a concrete and concise manner, without a lot of spurious speculation.

    To wit: the question of the blood is an overriding theme in his movie The Red Violin. For those of you who have not seen this film, the violin is painted with the blood of the mother who dies in childbirth. Now, M. Girard also has blood permeate our consciousness in the second act of his Parsifal staging. Was this, in fact, supposed to represent the childbirth travail (We know, from Kyndry’s accounting, that Herzeleide, (Parsifal’s mother) does not die in childbirth), OR -- the blood of “Das Wunde”, blood exchanged along with other bodily fluids in sexual intercourse, or WHAT? And this, does M. Girard have some sort of personal trauma involving an accident of birth which makes him explore this concept of staging, as these images are rather remarkable and unusual?

    Since accidentally having seen The Red Violinonce again only a few days prior to (twice) watching the PBS transmission of Parsifal this all became a most striking seeming coincidence(?), and ever since have been curious to know something more about him ever.

    Also, that reminds me, I must get his picture on Glenn Gould, whom I love. Has anyone seen that film and have they anything to say about it? I believe it established his reputation as a film maker.

    Thank you for any and all responses.


    • bluecabochon

      I would like to know the answer as well, Camille. A major source of imagery for this Parsifal was the human body, and you can’t have a body without blood…hmmm.

      Why not write and ask him yourself? He might be flattered!

      This is his current project and they seem to be filming nearby in Connecticut:,0,196564.story

      Production company:

      Informant Media, Inc.
      10866 Wilshire Blvd., 4th Fl., Ste. 422
      Los Angeles, CA 90024
      Ph: 310 440 8587

      You could call the company in California and ask them for the production office’s address so that you can send some material to M. Girard. :)

      • Camille

        Well thanks, blue, but I am way too lazy to do so and want instant gratification and besides, someone around here may have an inside link to the question.

        As it happened that I only incidentally saw the movie a few days before once more seeing the Parsifal transmissions, all Das Blut really hit me in the eye, as it were. I had not connected Girard to the movie previously, or forgotten his association to it, when I first saw the Parsifal.

        Anyway, there has got to be a story…….

        • bluecabochon

          Here’s an interesting article about the Red Stradivarius:

          • Camille

            Yes, it was very nice to hear of this story about the little girl and her grandfather and her violin and to know that, yes, there was some type of historical fact behind the movie. And it is also nice she plays the Chaconne in concerts.

            Blue, how did you rate the Oscars red carpet dresses? I missed Joan Rivers take on it so I am out of the loop.

            • bluecabochon

              Ach, wake me when nude and beige evening gowns are over. They flatter no one. Some of the ladies were beautifully dressed.

              Camille, you may find some amusement at a website called Tom and Lorenzo re:Oscar gowns and celebrity fashion. :)

            • bluecabochon

              …and some of the gents were wonderfully clothed as well. :)

            • Camille

              Nude and beige formal dress gowns? That is vexatious! What, no lime green, madder red, or my fave, cuisses de nymphe émue??

              Gentlemen, I prefer clothed as lightly as possible.

            • bluecabochon

              How lovely that color is, Camille. I’d love to see it on a Red Carpet and watch a TV announcer try to pronounce it!

            • manou

              Meanwhile -- how about this for an Oscar acceptance speech


            • La Valkyrietta


              I am sorry I can’t help you, as I have no interest in Girard or his dreams, obsessions, nightmares or whatever, nor I am interested in his contaminating Wagner. I suspect ‘red’ and ‘blood’ mean different things to those two artists. Perhaps in the future I will be a big fan of Girard, after he composes an opera, maybe.

              By the way, off topic, do you know if Jonas sang last night? Will he sing all Werthers next week? Have a lovely ides of March soon.

            • La Valkyrietta


              I love you. You are an expert on pearls.

            • Rackon

              LaV, yes Jonas sang last night -- tweets say both he and Koch sang the best performances of the run.

              So far so good, and he is still scheduled for performances next week, including HD.

            • Camille

              A kind of class, grace, and true ladylike showmanship which has all but vanished.

              I like her performance in Waterloo Bridge, in particular.

            • Camille

              La Valkyrietta—

              Well he has apparently gone on again and I say thank g-d as the stand-in had the voice of a souped up comprimario and despite being un vrai français, did not do that much in the role—impossible situation for a debut role for that fellow, and fairly understandable.

              Now I look forward to Kaufmann whether he elides properly or not!

            • Batty Masetto

              Camille adorée, I’m glad somebody else was underwhelmed by the understudy, though I have lots of sympathy for him and hope he gets a chance to strut his stuff properly under better circumstances. We didn’t enjoy his sound as it came through on the broadcast.

            • Camille

              Batty mon Amour!!

              I missy you!

              Yes, unfortunately, the poor boy was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. He sounded so contained in the first and second acts that I thought he was surely saving up to let her rip in the all-important third act and epilogue. Not so.

              I was scratching my head when I got home as I had risked my cold and gone out inadvisably, and wanted DESPERATELY to love him! All I could think was he was accustomed to singing in houses half the size of the MET and in fact he has recently sung Des Grieux in Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, as well as in. Attila, again a secondary tenor role. I had heard and loved him in Robert le Diable from London, as Raimbault, and also liked his Cinna in the Théâtre Champs-Élysée presentation of La Vestale, again, a secondary or comprimario role.

              Altogether a promising voice but woefully undersized for a protagonist leading role at a barn like the MET, more than twice the ideal size of Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. I was very disappointed as I was in such a state of émotion, seeing a French opera conducted by and sung by French artists. I imagine pauvre petit Borras was very overwhelmed by the enormity of his situation, substituting for a WeltStar like Jonas. Well, he did not do anything at all embarrassing but, after having been at Bryan Hymel’s second and third performances last year, and listening to his first, I have to say it was in no way a comparable a success or performance. I do hope he continues to develop and gets other opportunities as he is a sympathetic fellow, though. But when Lisette Oropesa sounds like Ethyl Merman in comparison, well, you get the drift.

              I cannot imagine the terror with which he must have approached that stage, for even I was just frozen to my seat in trepidation for him. I look forward to hearing him again someday, either in a smaller theatre or after he has learned to PROjECT his voice into the theatre.

              Pas mal, aber kein Cigar!!!

              Un doux et affectueux salut de ton amie!

    • Fidelia

      Camille, For what it’s worth, I remember reading an interview with Girard where he said that the scene in the 2nd act of Parsifal represents “Das Wunde”, tout court -- no mention of menses or vaginas or whatever. However, I have no reference to give you; sorry.

      • Camille

        Thank you, Lady Fidelia.

        That is at least something and very obliging of you to contribute, and no matter the attribution as I am certain you read what you say.

        Still, I wonder what it is all about, though, as it couldn’t just be coincidence.

        Merci bien!

      • Feldmarschallin

        Fidelia will you be in Paris this week? Just saw this so not sure if she will sing. Hope you are well and we are still trying to figure out how to create an account for the Scala since three of us would like to go to the Elektra there 6.6.

        • Fidelia

          Coucou Feld,

          No, unfortunately I won’t be in Paris this week but will, I hope, finally be enjoying some sunshine here in the south of France where it’s rained continually for the last 3 months.

          I’m going to try to get tickets for the Elektra at La Scala too. We will be going with friends, have yet to set the date, but I’m pushing for 6.6 too in the hope of having the pleasure of another chat with you at intermission!

          I have only gone to la Scala 3 times to date and confess to not understanding their seating plan as compared to the plan at the BSO, which is why I neglected to answer your previous post. Language difficulties get in the way and so I depend on the seating plan on line. Here’s my experience: We splurged on tickets in the orchestra once (expensive but great), first row in a 2nd tier box (“palco”) once -on the side- (still good), and then for Götterdämmerung I bought less expensive tickets in the 2nd row of a side box relatively close to the stage (I think 1st tier, maybe 4 or 5 boxes away from the stage on the right side). My husband and son almost lynched me because you can’t see *anything* from a side box unless you are in the 1st row. Luckily, the people in my men’s box didn’t show up so they were able to move up to the 1st row and I squeezed in too, but otherwise matricide would have been in order. Conclusion : when getting the tickets, try to choose seats opposite the stage or in the *front* row of the palchi. Also, it’s worth noting that if you want box seats, you can only buy 2 tickets per box : any more and you must book for the entire box. (If it is a side box this means you will be playing musical chairs all night and somebody will be hearing but not seeing.) In my opinion it’s probably better being higher up in the galleria and opposite the stage than in being in a lower side box. Take a look at the seating plan beforehand, but do NOT believe the pictures they show of “your view of the stage”. This was what induced me to buy the suicidal 2nd row side box seats and although the photos do show the view from the front row of a box they are not reliable for rear rows.

          When you buy on line, you should have your identity card and credit card on hand. They have a special security process which works here in France, and I suppose you must have the same system in Germany. You choose your seats and ask for the tickets, they shunt you onto another secured ticket-service site, you have to give your name, address and passport or national identity card number, then your bank details. When I have entered my bank details, I then have to wait for an SMS from my bank with a security code. After receiving the security code SMS on my cell phone, I enter it onto the ticket payment site, and the purchase is confirmed. If you don’t already have this sort of SMS security system with your bank, check with them beforehand if you can set it up, because I think it is obligatory for online purchases at La Scala. The process is a little long, but it works and is secure.

          Once you have managed to buy your 1st tickets, it’s easier the 2nd time! Coraggio, pazienza e viva l’Italia!

          … and Manou, thank you for the beautiful Vivien Leigh speech. Concision and elegance: Something she and you attain and some others of us only aspire to!

          • Feldmarschallin

            Thanks Fidelia, we have managed to get into our old account and will opt for the 85€ or 110€ tickets. Once we get them I will let you know. The 6.6 is the only date which works for my friend who is coming from Zürich. She just got a new job and that is the only date which works for her.

  • bluecabochon

    Beautiful lady, gracious speech. Thanks, Manou.

  • La Valkyrietta

    I was at the Met store today. The DVD of this Parsifal there is $30, the Blu-ray $40. They have no CD of this item. I did not get it, maybe next visit after having enough blood orange juice to confuse my perceptions. There were many people hanging around the general areas desperate to see Bryn (not as Wotan), and Emma Thompson, at Avery Fisher. Many Sondheim fans :).