Bavarian State Opera tickets 23 July 2024 - Parsifal | GoComGo.com

Parsifal

Bavarian State Opera, National Theatre, Munich, Germany
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Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Munich, Germany
Starts at: 17:00
Acts: 3
Intervals: 2
Duration: 5h 15min
Sung in: German
Titles in: English,German

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Cast
Performers
Conductor: Ádám Fischer
Baritone: Gerald Finley (Amfortas)
Bass: Bálint Szabó (Titurel)
Orchestra: Bavarian State Orchestra
Chorus: Chorus of the Bavarian State Opera
Tenor: Clay Hilley (Parsifal)
Baritone: Jochen Schmeckenbecher (Klingsor)
Soprano: Nina Stemme (Kundry)
Bass: Tareq Nazmi (Gurnemanz)
Creators
Composer: Richard Wagner
Director: Pierre Audi
Librettist: Richard Wagner
Poet: Wolfram von Eschenbach
Festival

Munich Opera Festival 2024

The tradition of the Munich Opera Festival dates back to 1875, when a "Festive Summer" was organized for the first time. This tradition will continue under the directorship of Serge Dorny. The 2024 Munich Opera Festival will showcase the new productions of the season, based on the central theme of "A Fountain That Looks to Heaven."

Overview

Richard Wagner’s final musical drama addresses wounds which fester both within individuals, as well as in society as a whole, before proffering miracle remedies with the ability to ease the pain.

Neither balsam, nor medicinal herbs can provide relief to the wounded and ailing Amfortas, ruler of the Grail kingdom. His path to recovery proves to be a complex one. No member of the Grail community can reclaim the spear which inflicted the wound, but only an outsider, a “pure fool”, enlightened by compassion. Only by the tip of this spear touching Amfortas’s wound can he be healed. On his journey of self-discovery, towards his destiny as chosen deliverer, Parsifal is accompanied, not only by the skilful Grail Knight Gurnemanz, but also by the enigmatic and seductive Kundry, who opens his eyes to sensuality and extrasensory experience.

Parsifal, a „Bühnenweihfestspiel“ („A Stage Inauguration Festival Play“), was first performed in Bayreuth in 1882.

History
Premiere of this production: 26 July 1882, Bayreuth Festspielhaus

Parsifal is an opera in three acts by German composer 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).

Synopsis

Background 

The knights Titurel and Gurnemanz have founded an Order of the Grail together, in order to protect the Grail and the Spear; the chalice from the Last Supper, in which the blood of the crucified Jesus Christ was collected, and the Spear with which a Roman soldier pierced his side on the cross. Those who are called to protect these must take a solemn vow of celibacy. Klingsor, another knight, wished to join the Order, but was unable to keep his vow and castrated himself. However, Titurel would still not accept him into the Order. Thereupon, Klingsor built his own kingdom of temptresses, who shall seduce the puritanical knights and consequently diminish the power of the Order of the Grail. Titurel hands his crown to his son Amfortas, and the new King of the Grail desires the destruction of Klingsor’s empire. As Amfortas manages to make his way, armed with the Holy Spear, to Klingsor’s castle, he is met by Kundry, who then seduces him. This mystical creature once laughed at Christ on his way to the crucifixion, and now, in order to atone for her sin, wanders restlessly through countless lives, as a helpful servant, in the hope of meeting her redeemer. And yet, she is Klingsor’s most effective way of seducing the Knights of the Grail. Thanks to her, the Spear is now in Klingsor’s hands, and he has inflicted upon Amfortas a wound that does not to heal. 

Act 1

Gurnemanz, together with other knights and squires, awaits the ailing Amfortas so that he may prepare a bath for him to relieve his pain. Instead, Amfortas receives some balsam from Kundry, knowing full well that this will also only alleviate the pain for a short while. Y Z The squires attempt to attack Kundry, but Gurnemanz holds them back, telling them the story of the first King of the Grail, Titurel, and his son Amfortas. He knows, of course, that Amfortas’s wound can only be healed when a pure fool, enlightened by compassion, touches it with the Spear. The peace in the forest is disturbed when a swan, a sacred animal, is shot in flight, yet the marksman feels no remorse. When confronted by his actions, it becomes clear that he knows neither his name nor his origins. Only the name of his mother, whom he left, is known: Herzeleide. Kundry, who has been listening in, knows about his past and tells him bluntly that his mother is dead, causing the young knight to try and kill her. Gurnemanz calms him down; he believes that this youngster may be the promised, compassionate fool. Full of hope, he leads him to the Knights of the Grail. Amfortas curses Titurel’s request to finally reveal the grail. Should this happen, the Knights would be recuperated by the power of the Grail. For Amfortas, however, such a move would mean continued excruciating pain. Ultimately, the ruling King of the Grail backs down. The unknown youngster follows the ceremony, but his immaturity ensures that he is unable to show any compassion. Feeling cheated by the young knight, the disappointed Gurnemanz sends him away. 

Act 2

Klingsor senses danger within the youngster and wants Kundry to kill him. As he wakes her from a deathlike sleep, she utters a wretched scream. After seductive temptresses threateningly surround the errant youngster, Kundry addresses him by his real name: Parsifal. She tells him of his mother, who died after her son had left her. Parsifal, now stricken with remorse, is comforted by Kundry, who explains that he must first get to know the meaning of love before he may grow and leave his guilt behind. She kisses him. Parsifal now realises what his mission is. He must recapture the Spear, use it to close Amfortas’s wound and liberate the Order from its sorrows. Kundry also sees her redeemer in Parsifal. But, as Parsifal rejects her advances, she calls Klingsor in desperation. He throws the Spear at Parsifal, but the youngster is able to avert the danger and retrieve the Spear. He leaves Klingsor’s kingdom before it collapses. 

Act 3

Gurnemanz, now living alone and abandoned in the forest, discovers Kundry, almost unable to speak and wishing only to serve. A knight approaches the two. Gurnemanz recognises the youngster he once banished, and, him being dressed in armour and carrying the Spear, realises that the chosen one stands before him. He tells Parsifal of the hopeless situation regarding the Kingdom of the Grail, and that Titurel has died due to Amfortas’s refusal to reveal the Grail. Kundry washes Parsifal’s feet, while Gurnemanz addresses him as the new King and, as such, performs his first royal duty by baptising Kundry. It is Good Friday, and everyone is enjoying the beauty and purity of nature before setting off for Titurel’s wake. In honour of his deceased father, Amfortas steadfastly refuses to reveal the Grail. Parsifal steps forth and, as the new crowned King of the Grail, stands before the Order and releases Amfortas from his suffering.  

Benedikt Stampfli, translation James McCallum

Place: Near the seat of the Grail

Act I

n a forest near the home of the Grail and its Knights, Gurnemanz, eldest Knight of the Grail, wakes his young squires and leads them in prayer. He sees Amfortas, King of the Grail Knights, and his entourage approaching. Amfortas has been injured by his own Holy Spear, and the wound will not heal.

Vorspiel

Musical introduction to the work with a duration of c. 9–13 minutes.

Scene 1

Gurnemanz asks the lead Knight for news of the King's health. The Knight says the King has suffered during the night and is going early to bathe in the holy lake. The squires ask Gurnemanz to explain how the King's injury can be healed, but he evades their question and a wild woman – Kundry – bursts in. She gives Gurnemanz a vial of balsam, brought from Arabia, to ease the King's pain and then collapses, exhausted.

Amfortas arrives, borne on a stretcher by Knights of the Grail. He calls out for Gawain, whose attempt at relieving the King's pain had failed. He is told that Gawain has left again, seeking a better remedy. Raising himself somewhat, the King says going off without leave ("Ohn' Urlaub?") is the sort of impulsiveness which led himself into Klingsor's realm and to his downfall. He accepts the potion from Gurnemanz and tries to thank Kundry, but she answers abruptly that thanks will not help and urges him onward to his bath.

The procession leaves. The squires eye Kundry with mistrust and question her. After a brief retort, she falls silent. Gurnemanz tells them Kundry has often helped the Grail Knights but that she comes and goes unpredictably. When he asks directly why she does not stay to help, she answers, "I never help! ("Ich helfe nie!"). The squires think she is a witch and sneer that if she does so much, why will she not find the Holy Spear for them? Gurnemanz reveals that this deed is destined for someone else. He says Amfortas was given guardianship of the Spear, but lost it as he was seduced by an irresistibly attractive woman in Klingsor's domain. Klingsor grabbed the Spear and stabbed Amfortas. The wound causes Amfortas both suffering and shame, and will never heal on its own.

Squires returning from the King's bath tell Gurnemanz that the balsam has eased the King's suffering. Gurnemanz's own squires ask how it is that he knew Klingsor. He solemnly tells them how both the Holy Spear, which pierced the side of the Redeemer on the Cross, and the Holy Grail, which caught the flowing blood, had come to Monsalvat to be guarded by the Knights of the Grail under the rule of Titurel, father of Amfortas. Klingsor had yearned to join the Knights but, unable to keep impure thoughts from his mind, resorted to self-castration, causing him to be expelled from the Order. Klingsor then set himself up in opposition to the realm of the Grail, learning dark arts, claiming the valley domain below and filling it with beautiful Flowermaidens to seduce and enthrall wayward Grail Knights. It was here that Amfortas lost the Holy Spear, kept by Klingsor as he schemes to get hold of the Grail as well. Gurnemanz tells how Amfortas later had a holy vision which told him to wait for a "pure fool, enlightened by compassion" ("Durch Mitleid wissend, der reine Tor") who will finally heal the wound.

At this moment, cries are heard from the Knights ("Weh! Weh!"): a flying swan has been shot, and a young man is brought forth, a bow in his hand and a quiver of matching arrows. Gurnemanz speaks sternly to the lad, saying this is a holy place. He asks him outright if he shot the swan, and the lad boasts that if it flies, he can hit it ("Im Fluge treff' ich was fliegt!") Gurnemanz tells him that the swan is a holy animal, and asks what harm the swan had done him, and shows the youth its lifeless body. Now remorseful, the young man breaks his bow and casts it aside. Gurnemanz asks him why he is here, who his father is, how he found this place and, lastly, his name. To each question the lad replies, "I don't know." The elder Knight sends his squires away to help the King and now asks the boy to tell what he does know. The young man says he has a mother, Herzeleide (Heart's Sorrow) and that he made the bow himself. Kundry has been listening and now tells them that this boy's father was Gamuret, a knight killed in battle, and also how the lad's mother had forbidden her son to use a sword, fearing that he would meet the same fate as his father. The youth now recalls that upon seeing knights pass through his forest, he had left his home and mother to follow them. Kundry laughs and tells the young man that, as she rode by, she saw Herzeleide die of grief. Hearing this, the lad first lunges at Kundry but then collapses in grief. Kundry herself is now weary for sleep, but cries out that she must not sleep and wishes that she might never again waken. She disappears into the undergrowth.

Gurnemanz knows that the Grail draws only the pious to Monsalvat and invites the boy to observe the Grail rite. The youth does not know what the Grail is, but remarks that as they walk he seems to scarcely move, yet feels as if he is traveling far. Gurnemanz says that in this realm time becomes space ("Zum Raum wird hier die Zeit").

Verwandlungsmusik (Transformation)

An orchestral interlude of about 4 minutes.

Scene 2

They arrive at the Hall of the Grail, where the Knights are assembling to receive Holy Communion ("Zum letzten Liebesmahle"). The voice of Titurel is heard, telling his son, Amfortas, to uncover the Grail. Amfortas is wracked with shame and suffering ("Wehvolles Erbe, dem ich verfallen"). He is the guardian of these holy relics yet has succumbed to temptation and lost the Spear. He declares himself unworthy of his office. He cries out for forgiveness ("Erbarmen!") but hears only the promise that he will one day be redeemed by the pure fool.

On hearing Amfortas' cry, the youth appears to suffer with him, clutching at his heart. The knights and Titurel urge Amfortas to reveal the Grail ("Enthüllet den Gral"), and he finally does. The dark hall is now bathed in the light of the Grail as the Knights eat. Gurnemanz motions to the youth to participate, but he seems entranced and does not. Amfortas does not share in taking communion and, as the ceremony ends, collapses in pain and is carried away. Slowly the hall empties leaving only the young man and Gurnemanz, who asks him if he has understood what he has seen. When the lad cannot answer, Gurnemanz dismisses him as just a fool and sends him out with a warning to hunt geese, if he must, but to leave the swans alone. A voice from high above repeats the promise: "The pure fool, enlightened by compassion".

Act II

Vorspiel

Musical introduction of c. 2–3 minutes.

Scene 1

Klingsor's magic castle. Klingsor conjures up Kundry, waking her from her sleep. He calls her by many names: First Sorceress (Urteufelin), Hell's Rose (Höllenrose), Herodias, Gundryggia and, lastly, Kundry. She is now transformed into an incredibly alluring woman, as when she once seduced Amfortas. She mocks Klingsor's mutilated condition by sarcastically inquiring if he is chaste ("Ha ha! Bist du keusch?"), but she cannot resist his power. Klingsor observes that Parsifal is approaching and summons his enchanted knights to fight the boy. Klingsor watches as Parsifal overcomes his knights, and they flee. Klingsor wishes destruction on their whole race.

Klingsor sees this young man stray into his Flowermaiden garden and calls to Kundry to seek the boy out and seduce him, but when he turns, he sees that Kundry has already left on her mission.

Scene 2

The triumphant youth finds himself in a wondrous garden, surrounded by beautiful and seductive Flowermaidens. They call to him and entwine themselves about him while chiding him for wounding their lovers ("Komm, komm, holder Knabe!"). They soon fight and bicker among themselves to win his devotion, to the point that he is about to flee, but then a voice calls out, "Parsifal!" He now recalls this name is what his mother called him when she appeared in his dreams. The Flowermaidens back away from him and call him a fool as they leave him and Kundry alone.

Parsifal wonders if the Garden is a dream and asks how it is that Kundry knows his name. Kundry tells him she learned it from his mother ("Ich sah das Kind an seiner Mutter Brust"), who had loved him and tried to shield him from his father's fate, the mother he had abandoned and who had finally died of grief. She reveals many parts of Parsifal's history to him and he is stricken with remorse, blaming himself for his mother's death. He thinks himself very stupid to have forgotten her. Kundry says this realization is a first sign of understanding and that, with a kiss, she can help him understand his mother's love. As they kiss Parsifal suddenly recoils in pain and cries out Amfortas' name: he feels the wounded king's pain burning in his own side and now understands Amfortas' passion during the Grail Ceremony ("Amfortas! Die Wunde! Die Wunde!"). Filled with this compassion, Parsifal rejects Kundry's advances.

Furious that her ploy has failed, Kundry tells Parsifal that if he can feel compassion for Amfortas, then he should be able to feel it for her as well. She has been cursed for centuries, unable to rest, because she saw Christ on the cross and laughed at His pains. Now she can never weep, only jeer, and she is enslaved to Klingsor as well. Parsifal rejects her again but then asks her to lead him to Amfortas. She begs him to stay with her for just one hour, and then she will take him to Amfortas. When he still refuses, she curses him to wander without ever finding the Kingdom of the Grail, and finally calls on her master Klingsor to help her.

Klingsor appears and throws the Spear at Parsifal, but it stops in midair, above his head. Parsifal takes it and makes the sign of the Cross with it. The castle crumbles and the enchanted garden withers. As Parsifal leaves, he tells Kundry that she knows where she can find him.

Act III

Vorspiel

Musical introduction of c. 4–6 minutes.

Scene 1

The scene is the same as that of the opening of the opera, in the domain of the Grail, but many years later. Gurnemanz is now aged and bent. It is Good Friday. He hears moaning near his hermit's hut and discovers Kundry unconscious in the brush, as he had many years before ("Sie! Wieder da!"). He revives her using water from the Holy Spring, but she will only speak the word "serve" ("Dienen"). Gurnemanz wonders if there is any significance to her reappearance on this special day. Looking into the forest, he sees a figure approaching, armed and in full armour. The stranger wears a helmet and the hermit cannot see who it is. Gurnemanz queries him and chides him for being armed on sanctified ground and on a holy day, but gets no response. Finally, the apparition removes the helmet and Gurnemanz recognizes the lad who shot the swan, and joyfully sees that he bears the Holy Spear.

Parsifal tells of his desire to return to Amfortas ("Zu ihm, des tiefe Klagen"). He relates his long journey, how he wandered for years, unable to find a path back to the Grail. He had often been forced to fight, but never wielded the Spear in battle. Gurnemanz tells him that the curse preventing Parsifal from finding his right path has now been lifted, but that in his absence Amfortas has never unveiled the Grail, and lack of its sustaining properties has caused the death of Titurel. Parsifal is overcome with remorse, blaming himself for this state of affairs. Gurnemanz tells him that today is the day of Titurel's funeral, and that Parsifal has a great duty to perform. Kundry washes Parsifal's feet and Gurnemanz anoints him with water from the Holy Spring, recognizing him as the pure fool, now enlightened by compassion, and as the new King of the Knights of the Grail.

Parsifal looks about and comments on the beauty of the meadow. Gurnemanz explains that today is Good Friday, when all the world is renewed. Parsifal baptizes the weeping Kundry. Tolling bells are heard in the distance. Gurnemanz says "Midday: the hour has come. My lord, permit your servant to guide you!" ("Mittag: – Die Stund ist da: gestatte Herr, dass dich dein Knecht geleite") – and all three set off for the castle of the Grail. A dark orchestral interlude ("Mittag") leads into the solemn gathering of the knights.

Scene 2

Within the castle of the Grail, Amfortas is brought before the Grail shrine and Titurel's coffin. He cries out, asking his dead father to grant him rest from his sufferings and expresses the desire to join him in death ("Mein Vater! Hochgesegneter der Helden!"). The Knights of the Grail passionately urge Amfortas to uncover the Grail again but Amfortas, in a frenzy, says he will never again show the Grail. He commands the Knights, instead, to kill him and end his suffering and the shame he has brought on the Knighthood. At this moment, Parsifal steps forth and says that only one weapon can heal the wound ("Nur eine Waffe taugt"). He touches Amfortas' side with the Spear and both heals and absolves him. Parsifal commands the unveiling of the Grail. As all present kneel, Kundry, released from her curse, sinks lifeless to the ground as a white dove descends and hovers above Parsifal.

Venue Info

Bavarian State Opera - Munich
Location   Max-Joseph-Platz 2

The Bavarian State Opera or the National Theatre (Nationaltheater) on Max-Joseph-Platz in Munich, Germany, is a historic opera house and the main theatre of Munich, home of the Bavarian State Opera, Bavarian State Orchestra, and the Bavarian State Ballet.

During its early years, the National Theatre saw the premières of a significant number of operas, including many by German composers. These included Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (1865), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1868), Das Rheingold (1869) and Die Walküre (1870), after which Wagner chose to build the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth and held further premières of his works there.

During the latter part of the 19th century, it was Richard Strauss who would make his mark on the theatre in the city in which he was born in 1864. After accepting the position of conductor for a short time, Strauss returned to the theatre to become principal conductor from 1894 to 1898. In the pre-War period, his Friedenstag (1938) and Capriccio were premièred in Munich. In the post-War period, the house has seen significant productions and many world premieres.

First theatre – 1818 to 1823
The first theatre was commissioned in 1810 by King Maximilian I of Bavaria because the nearby Cuvilliés Theatre had too little space. It was designed by Karl von Fischer, with the 1782 Odéon in Paris as architectural precedent. Construction began on 26 October 1811 but was interrupted in 1813 by financing problems. In 1817 a fire occurred in the unfinished building.

The new theatre finally opened on 12 October 1818 with a performance of Die Weihe by Ferdinand Fränzl, but was soon destroyed by another fire on 14 January 1823; the stage décor caught fire during a performance of Die beyden Füchse by Étienne Méhul and the fire could not be put out because the water supply was frozen. Coincidentally the Paris Odéon itself burnt down in 1818.

Second theatre – 1825 to 1943
Designed by Leo von Klenze, the second theatre incorporated Neo-Grec features in its portico and triangular pediment and an entrance supported by Corinthian columns. In 1925 it was modified to create an enlarged stage area with updated equipment. The building was gutted in an air raid on the night of 3 October 1943.

Third theatre – 1963 to present
The third and present theatre (1963) recreates Karl von Fischer's original neo-classical design, though on a slightly larger, 2,100-seat scale. The magnificent royal box is the center of the interior rondel, decorated with two large caryatids. The new stage covers 2,500 square meters (3,000 sq yd), and is thus the world's third largest, after the Opéra Bastille in Paris and the Grand Theatre, Warsaw.

Through the consistent use of wood as a building material, the auditorium has excellent acoustics. Architect Gerhard Moritz Graubner closely preserved the original look of the foyer and main staircase. It opened on 21 November 1963 with an invitation-only performance of Die Frau ohne Schatten under the baton of Joseph Keilberth. Two nights later came the first public performance, of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, again under Keilberth.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Munich, Germany
Starts at: 17:00
Acts: 3
Intervals: 2
Duration: 5h 15min
Sung in: German
Titles in: English,German
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