Parsifal represents the culmination of Wagner’s work as a revolutionary composer of opera. In it he created a powerful allegory on the conflict between Christianity and paganism, good and evil, light and dark, physical passion and spiritual abstinence. This dramatic production by the brilliant German stage director Harry Kupfer marked Daniel Barenboim’s appointment as the artistic director of the Berlin State Opera in 1992. The cast is made up of the finest Wagnerian singers of the period, all of whom enjoyed substantial international careers. Barenboim’s superb conducting reveals Wagner’s multi-layered score in all its glory.
Parsifal (WWV 111) is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a 13th-century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival (Percival) and his quest for the Holy Grail (12th century). Wagner first conceived the work in April 1857 but did not finish it until twenty-five years later. It was Wagner's last completed opera and in composing it he took advantage of the particular acoustics of his Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Parsifal was first produced at the second Bayreuth Festival in 1882. The Bayreuth Festival maintained a monopoly on Parsifal productions until 1903, when the opera was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Wolfgang Wagner’s arrestingly beautiful production, filmed live at Bayreuth in 1981 and directed by Brian Large, features a stellar cast led by Eva Randova, Bernd Weikl and Siegfried Jerusalem. “A production and performance that showed the festival at its finest… Wolfgang Wagner’s Bayreuth production of his grandfather’s “farewell to the world” has “an unusual beauty and logic of its own… There is an air of magic and mystery about the staging… The performance was excellent… Horst Stein [conducted] a beautifully proportioned Parsifal.” (The New York Times)
Parsifal (WWV 111) is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a 13th-century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival (Percival) and his quest for the Holy Grail (12 ?.). Wagner first conceived the work in April 1857 but did not finish it until twenty-five years later. It was to be Wagner's last completed opera and in composing it he took advantage of the particular acoustics of his Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Parsifal was first produced at the second Bayreuth Festival in 1882. The Bayreuth Festival maintained a monopoly on Parsifal productions until 1903, when the opera was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
The third issue in PentaTone's ambitious project to record ten mature Wagner operas by the time of the composer's bicentenary in 2013 proves to be the finest so far released. The live recording was made on April 8, 2011 in the Philharmonie, Berlin, with an exceptional international cast of soloists under the direction of Marek Janowski and the superb contribution of the Rundfunkchor, Berlin, a vital component in the success of this undertaking… From the opening bars of the Prelude one is struck by the luminous and pellucid sonic quality that the engineers have achieved. The ethereal string playing benefits from the unexpectedly spacious acoustic, and when the brass enter they are rich and weighty in tone. Janowski imparts a wonderful sense of purpose to the music and the clarity of execution that he achieves from his orchestra is remarkable.
A timelessly classical Parsifal from the 1998 Bayreuth Festival in a mystically poetic staging that exerts an unbroken fascination not least as a result of its expressive lighting effects. Under the direction of the great Wagner conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli, the four main roles are taken by Poul Elming, Linda Watson, Falk Struckmann and Hans Sotin - one of the strongest line-ups in Bayreuth´s more recent history. "Giuseppe Sinopoli coaxed an outstanding performance from the Festival Orchestra and Chorus, throwing light on the elaborate score from an agreeable distance and investing the music with a meditatively flowing quality rather than the usual bombast" (Opernglas)
Most of the familiar orchestral versions of Richard Wagner’s operatic music were arranged either by him or his followers in the 19th century, so the Overture & Venusberg Music from Tannhäuser & the Prelude to Act III from Lohengrin have long been performed in these special concert formats. But the main work of this SACD is the 1993 suite arranged by Henk de Vlieger, Parsifal, an Orchestral Quest, which is a fresh adaptation of the key moments from Wagner’s final music drama. The work was commissioned by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, after de Vlieger, the ensemble’s percussionist, had successfully arranged music from Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen into a similar orchestral vehicle for them. Parsifal, an Orchestral Quest was premiered on RCA in 1997 by Edo de Waart, & Neeme Järvi leads the 2nd recorded performance on this 2010 release on Chandos.
Parsifal, Wagner’s last opera, was premièred in Bayreuth in 1882. In the fifty years of his artistic life Wagner did not only mature and outline more and more clearly the aesthetic ideals that formed the intellectual substratum of his composing activity but definitely upset the course of the history of music and of the music theatre. The wide range of his cultural interests, his operational daring, ability to blend elements of different origin, complete rejection of any form of operatic routine and grandiosity of conception make of each and every opera that he wrote a sort of artistic case in its own, where the experiences of previous works are salvaged or abandoned according to the expressive needs, which are never subordinate to contingent necessities. Performing this complex work is no simple task, but the cast on stage at Teatro La Fenice in Venice did so with flying colours.