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Parsifal (1982)

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 »

Director:

(as Hans Jürgen Syberberg)

Writer:

(libretto)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Armin Jordan ... Amfortas
Martin Sperr ... Titurel
Robert Lloyd ... Gurnemanz
Michael Kutter ... Parsifal 1
Karin Krick ... Parsifal 2
Aage Haugland ... Klingsor
Edith Clever ... Kundry
Rudolph Gabler ... Gralsritter
Urban von Klebelsberg ... Gralsritter
Bruno Romani-Versteeg ... Gralsritter
Monika Gärtner ... Knappen (as Monika Gaertner)
Thomas Fink ... Knappen
David Meyer ... Knappen
Judith Schmidt ... Knappen
Anahita Farroschad ... Klingsors Zaubermädchen, Höchste und mittlere Höhen
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Storyline

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 Roger Downey

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Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

May 1982 (West Germany)  »

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Box Office

Budget:

DEM 3,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(3 parts)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Connections

Version of Parsifal (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The pacing is glacial
18 August 1998 | by See all my reviews

Admittedly, Parsifal is not an opera that can appeal to everyone, although it is a favourite of mine, Knappertsbusch, 1951, in particular. Syberberg's entire approach is so static. Whenever the music suddenly begins to swell ... Syberberg keeps the cast moving at the same pace. The takes on Amfortas and Klingsor are endless. Whatever happened to film editing? The result is physically exhausting to watch. The viewer is never spiritually transported. Your impulse is to rush home and play a recording again to confirm that Wagner got it right, Syberberg got it wrong. And that set decoration with those "clever" reminders of Wagner's anti-Semitism -- will there ever be a viewer of this film with no prior knowledge of Wagner?


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