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 ...
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The story of the legendary King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845-1886), his opera interest and friendship with theatre personalities such as Richard Wagner and Joseph Kainz, and at the same time a reflection of the German 1800s.
Director Hans-Jurgen Syberberg examines the rise and fall of the Third Reich in this brooding seven-hour masterpiece, which incorporates puppetry, rear-screen projection, and a Wagnerian ... See full summary »
Mouchette is a young girl living in the country. Her mother is dying and her father does not take care of her. Mouchette remains silent in the face of the humiliations she undergoes. One ... See full summary »
Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine goes up against a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as "The Filthiest Person Alive".
Peter Glahn is released after years of incarceration as a political prisoner and is now returning to his homeland, the mythical Mandragora where the sun never sets. On board the ship home, ... See full summary »
Middle-aged Antonin and his friends, the major, now retired, and the canon, are in the river, swimming and philosophizing. Then it starts to rain. It just seems to be that sort of summer. ... See full summary »
A six hour long monologue performed by Edith Clever, who reads texts by Syberberg, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Heinrich von Kleist, Plato, Friedrich Hölderlin, Novalis, Friedrich Nietzsche,... See full summary »
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 of the medieval epic romances of King Arthur and the search for the holy grail (the chalice touched by the lips of Christ at the last supper), it recounts over three long acts how a "wild child" unwittingly invades the sacred precincts of the grail, fulfilling a prophecy that only such a one can save the grail's protectors from a curse fallen upon them. Interpreters of the work have found everything from mystical revelation to proto-fascist propaganda in it. Hans-Jurgen Syberberg's production doesn't avoid either aspect, but tries synthesize them by seeking their roots in the divided soul of Wagner himself. The action unfolds on a craggy landscape which turns out to be a gigantic enlargement of the composer's death mask, among deliberately tatty theatrical devices: puppets, scale models, ...Written by
Among the severed heads at the base of the broken phallus in Klingsor's castle (symbolizing the self-castration that gave the wizard his powers - this is one weird opera) are those of Karl Marx, Wagner himself...and Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher who was one of Wagner's most devoted champions until he broke with him over this very opera (he despised Christianity as a "slave" religion and thought Wagner had caved in to bourgeois morality). See more »
I love Wagner a great deal, but boy don't his operas take a lot of stamina to perform and I would be lying if I said they were easy to direct too. Parsifal is difficult to pull off effectively, and while it is flawed this production does commendably.
Where this Parsifal falls down is in the pacing. It is a lengthy opera, but in some ways the pace is very glacial here making the first act especially exhausting to watch on first viewing. Then there is some of the symbolism. I want to credit Syberberg for his work here, he is a clearly ambitious director and a lot of scenes are very well staged. This Parsifal is very visually striking too with wonderful costumes, sets and lighting particularly in Act 2 and there is some clever video directing, but as intriguing and as striking as the symbolism is, considering Parsifal is quite a symbolic work there were times when it got too much.
The cast are mostly very good. I wasn't however taken with Michael Kutter's Parsifal 1, he seems uncomfortable here. Faring much better though is Karin Krick as Parsifal 2, who is extraordinarily good. Of the cast for me the standouts are Robert Lloyd's superb Gurnemanz and Aughe Haugland's truly excellent Klingsor. Also Edith Clever is a very effective Kundry.
On a musical front I have nothing to fault this production. Then again, this is Wagner, all the haunting yet very beautiful motifs and lush orchestration are there. The orchestra perform this score wonderfully, and the conducting is adept without plodding too much.
Overall, a flawed production, but a good and interesting one. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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