Written November 30, 2014
Ah ha! I finally "get" François Girard's final interpretive thrust for this rendition :
Parsifal's words (paraphrase): "The Holy Blood on the spear longs to join the Holy Blood in the Grail cup.
The action: 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 sudden grasp of Girard's interpretation: 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.
Written February 01, 2015
Long opera, but not your typical German opera. The singing is phenomenal and was the orchestra. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Written August 01, 2015
The Met's Parsifal tries unsuccessfully to take the myth into a modern or post-modern world. Unfortunately, to do that you have to also change the very clear Christian wording in the libretto. Moreover, the new sets are just plain awful--dark, depressing--the VERY antithesis of the uplifting, spiritual message that the myth portrays. How about a soaring cathedral-like (or mosque-like or synagogue-like) structure with luminous windows in Act I rather than a drab, dark field with men in white shirts. How about white robes? The blood bath sert in Hell in Act II is equally unimpressive and sounds the wrong note. How about a modern corporate office with its temptations? The dissonance these false sets with archaic language create makes for an uncomfortable viewing experiencing despite the vocal quality of the cast. I left after the second act!!
Written September 03, 2015
Magnificent singing, orchestral playing, and conducting. And of course the music is sublime. But the staging, much of it, is absurd. Wagner audibly groaning in his grave. When directors (François Girard, in this instance) radically "interpret" a work to make an individual, narcissistic statement, blithely disregarding and contradicting some of the basic features envisioned by its creator, things can go amiss, as they do here in the third act. Schade.... But of course seeing it live in HD is better than actually being at the Met itself.
Written July 29, 2015
"Parsifal" is at its heart another rousing Wagner fairytale. There are magic objects and a clueless youth who yearns for his mother and doesn't know his father. Unlike the pagan myth of the Ring, however, the Christian component of this fairytale equates sex not with liberating love but with bloody uncleanness. The knights and the female worshippers are always separate. Blood soaks Amfortas and his helper knights and contaminates the holy spring's stream in Act. I because he had embraced a female. In Act II at blood-coiffed sorcerer Klingsor's castle, the unclean "flower maidens" pole dance on spears, their costumes soaking up the red pools on the floor. Blood appears under Kundry as she tries to seduces Parsifal.
Then in Act III,Parsifal sings "I was appointed for deliverance but deliverance escapes me, lost in hopeless error!" Was Wagner blaming the progress-obstructing myth of man's guilt?: Much thought and theatrics, all cloaked in magical music performed beautifully. RF