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The Met’s New Parsifal


  1. Sixtus Beckmesser says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful and insightful appraisal. I was fortunate to have seen the HD broadcast on Saturday, and would only add to your remarks that the orchestra played wondrously well, surpassing their usual excellence. This was a performance to treasure; even though it lasted almost five and a half hours with intermissions, I didn’t want it to end.

  2. Ah ha! I finally “get” François Girard’s final interpretive thrust for this rendition :

    Parsifal’s words (paraphrase of the poem): “The Holy Blood on the spear longs to join the Holy Blood in the Grail cup.

    The action (a la Girard): Parsifal inserts the spear tip into the Grail cup, upheld by Kundry, who, on a musical accent (also reflected in a spear movement by Parsifal), will suddenly begin her expiration ritual, leading to a gentle death, while meanwhile, the shadowy ensemble of women who have been ever-pesent but separate from the men, move as individuals to members of the opposite sex, and they all join hands as couples.

    My goodness! We’ve got some good ol’ Dan Brown going here (Da Vinci Code). The phallic spear and the vaginal cup. All that alternative Gospel of Thomas stuff (Christ married and parental, etc.) and a union of opposites into a perfectly balanced whole (Yin & Yang), represented through the sexual symbolism of the objects at hand. My my! Took me long enough (well, I saw it at the Met 2/21 and from the distance of Dress Circle, one could not see all the details, but seeing it live in HD yesterday filled in the blanks, so i suppose I can forgive myself this untimely lapse of cognition).

    A wonderful production that really works. The wonderful performances and musical interpretation, combined with Girard’s on-the-mark realizations truly evokes the “Mitlied” Wagner intended and brought tears on many occasions throughout the rendition. Kudos to all.

  3. I saw the HD-cast of this production rather than in person, so obviously my perspective is limited that way. Within that limitation, though, I was quite impressed with this production, as a non-Wagnerian. I’ve never seen Levine conduct ‘Parsifal’, so I’ve nothing to compare it to, but nothing was lacking that I could tell in Daniele Gatti’s conducting, from memory without a net, in a manner of speaking. Marvelous cast, where Rene Pape was my own favorite of the bunch.

    If the Met decides to dump the “machine” version of the ‘Ring’, they could do worse than recruit Girard to come up with his own version, although Girard might want some time to study the ‘Ring’, comparable to the 5 years he spent getting ready for this ‘Parsifal’.

  4. I saw the performance of March 5, and your description of the brillance of this production rings true. At last, Gelb hired someone who knows how to get Wagner right! Seeing vocalists (and actors!) of the quality of Kaufmann, Mattei and Pape on the same stage was a thrill. For my performance, Dalayman was indisposed. Her second, Michaela Martins, was a confident Kundry, fully able to meet the vocal demands of the role, including the high notes. The conceptual design of this Parsifal was staggering in effect, fully bringing out the tone of redemption at the end.

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