The experience of watching Wagner’s final opera Parsifal is frequently elevated to a spiritual occurrence, and productions have historically emphasized the religious dimension of the opera’s core themes of redemption and the dangers of temptation. Two recent productions, both mounted in recognition of Wagner’s bicentenary, offer a departure from such heady pseudo-sacred conventions, and allow the piece to stand on its own as a challenging, yet rewarding musical journey about the power of one young man—who does not even know his own name—to save a kingdom. Read more »
Those among the cher public who did not find enough Wagner in their Christmas stockings (or who are still reeling from the recent ROH travesty they called a Bühnenweihfestspiel) will be pleased to hear that our good friends at Opera Depot are currently offering a free download of Parsifal conducted by Hans Knappertsbusch at the 1963 Bayreuth Festival.
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato is first among equals in a spectacular cast when she sings the title role of Ariodante in this season’s installment of Carnegie Hall’s critically acclaimed cycle of Handel’s operas in concert. A brilliantly melodic work, the opera features outstanding arias for each of the principal singers, including Ariodante’s melancholy “Scherza infida” and show-stopping “Doppo note.” Harry Bicket and The English Concert bring authentic Handelian brilliance to this marvelous opera. (Photo: Simon Pauly) Get tickets. Read more »
“Is Parsifal, then, a religious artwork, or is it a work ‘about’ religion? Unsurprisingly, the answer turns out to be: both. More profoundly, however, the very material of Wagner’s drama may be understood to lie in exploring the relationship between the two tendencies.” This week, an anti-canard: words of wisdom from the always fascinating Boulezian.
The curious things about accepted wisdom is that sometimes it’s correct.
Could Marek Janowski do for Wagner what the early music movement did for the Baroque and Classical repertory?
Finally some video of Stefan Herheim‘s Salome production shows up on YouTube.
As with all good myths, certainly all the myths at the heart of Wagner’s operas, the juggling of symbols and archetypes and themes in Parsifal opens the piece to a great variety of interpretations.
Like the hero of Parsifal, who finds the Holy Grail after a lifetime of frustrated wandering, the Met’s audience was finally rewarded for its patience.
Wagner is becoming an important calling card for Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre.