Richard Wagner's last opera has remained controversial since its first performance for its unique, and, for some, unsavory blending of religious and erotic themes and imagery. Based on one ... See full summary »
Parsifal is a strange and enigmatic work. At the end of his life, did Wagner wish to celebrate asceticism, which he himself had never practised? Did he fall upon his knees before the Cross,... See full summary »
Thomas Johannes Mayer,
Parsifal is not my absolute favourite of Wagner's operas but it is still a wonderful one, thematically and symbolically interesting and the music contains some of Wagner's most beautiful moments. I have seen three Parsifals thus far and I consider this one the best.
The sets are very impressive if naturalistic, not that I have a problem with that. The costumes are well tailored and fitting with the drama and the lighting is very good. The camera angles are often spectacular, the sound is superb and the picture quality is both clear and detailed.
Musically this Parsifal is pretty much faultless, perhaps the beginning of act 3 is a tad too slow and the offstage chorus at the end of act 1 off the beat and pitchy. However, the chorus are much better in act 3, and the whole of act 2 is simply magnificent musically. The orchestra are powerful throughout, and I thought the conducting had a very creative approach to it.
The performances are equally impressive. Waltraud Meier is outstanding and quite sensual as Kundry, she could have been more wild sometimes, but these are outweighed by the many outstanding moments she has here. Bernd Weikl is a great Amfortas, vocally he is excellent, and his acting is compellingly real particularly when he is in pain with the watering mouth and sweating face.
Siegfried Jerusalem conveys the child-like image of Parsifal very well and he is secure vocally too. Franz Mazura is consistently marvellous and shows moments of genuine menace as Klingsor. My favourite though is Kurt Moll's Gurnemanz, I adore his firm voice which is also very beautiful at the same time,and his acting is wise and benevolent. One of my personal favourites in this role, that's for sure.
All in all, thus far this Parsifal's my favourite. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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