PARSIFAL from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
In the first of our series bringing you opera productions from London’s Royal Opera House, a chance to enjoy the company’s new staging of Richard Wagner’s epic, his final masterpiece, directed by Stephen Langridge, with designs by Alison Chitty.
A young man ignorant of everything, including his own name, arrives at the Kingdom of the Holy Grail. Is he the ‘pure fool, enlightened by compassion’, who, it has been prophesied, will purify the kingdom?
Parsifal, Wagner’s final opera, was first given at Bayreuth in 1882. For many years, at the insistence of Wagner and then his widow Cosima, performances outside the Bayreuth Festival were banned. This embargo was lifted in January 1914; by August of the same year Parsifal had been performed at more than fifty opera houses throughout Europe.
Wagner loosely based the opera on scenes from Wolfram von Eschenbach’s medieval romance Parzifal. The score contrasts the sacred with the sensual, from the stark magnificence of the music for the procession to the Grail Hall in Act I to the richly orchestrated scene in which Kundry attempts to seduce Parsifal in Act II. There are sections of almost unearthly beauty such as the Act I Prologue, the Good Friday music in Act III, and the closing scene of the opera, in which Parsifal reveals the Grail to the knights.
Act One will last for about 1 hour 50 minutes, followed by a 40 minute interval. Act Two will last for about 1 hour 10 minutes, followed by a 30 minute interval. Act Three will last for about 1 hour 20 minutes.
An unforgettable experience!