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15.04.2022 20:00 (CEST)

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Elīna Garanča and Jonas Kaufmann in Parsifal from the Wiener Staatsoper

Filmed live at the Wiener Staatsoper in April 2021, this brand-new production of Parsifal stars DG artist Elīna Garanča in a hugely acclaimed role debut as Kundry, here a photojournalist, opposite tenor Jonas Kaufmann’s Parsifal (“two icons in prime form” Bachtrack). It is conducted by the Staatsoper’s Music Director and Wagner specialist Philippe Jordan and its updated plot unfolds in a prison and the offices of a magazine run by Klingsor (Wolfgang Koch). Also making his role debut, Ludovic Tézier plays a tormented Amfortas, now a political prisoner, while renowned Wagnerian bass Georg Zeppenfeld plays Gurnemanz as a prison tattooist.

This dark, contemporary interpretation of Wagner’s last opera was directed remotely from Moscow by Kirill Serebrennikov. At the time, the Russian film and stage director was banned from travelling outside his homeland as the result of a controversial court case which many felt had been brought against him because of his outspoken opposition to the Putin regime. Serebrennikov has recently been allowed to leave Russia and is currently in Germany.  

Written in three acts, with libretto by the composer himself, Parsifal was first staged at Bayreuth in 1882, having been expressly written for the unique acoustics of the Festspielhaus. It was inspired by a medieval epic poem about the Arthurian knight Percival’s quest for the Holy Grail, but also by Wagner’s readings on eastern philosophies. The opera deals with the themes of sacrifice, suffering, healing and redemption, drawing on the symbolism of both Christianity and Buddhism. It is traditionally staged at Easter because its third act takes place on Good Friday. While the ultimate meaning of the drama remains open to debate, the power, intensity and beauty of Wagner’s music are beyond question.

Richard Wagner

Jonas Kaufmann Parsifal
Elīna Garanča Kundry
Wolfgang Koch Klingsor
Ludovic Tézier Amfortas
Georg Zeppenfeld Gurnemanz
Stefan Cerny Titurel
Carlos Osuna First Grail Knight
Erik van Heyningen Second Grail Knight
Nikolay Sidorenko Young Parsifal (silent role)

Philippe Jordan conductor
Thomas Lang chorus director
Chor der Wiener Staatsoper
Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper

Kirill Serebrennikov director, set & costume designs
Franck Evin lighting
Aleksei Fokin, Yurii Karih video & photo design
Sergio Morabito dramaturgy

subtitles: English, German

DG Stage