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on April 03, 2024
This is the page for the performance on April 03, 2024.
Music Richard Wagner Text Richard Wagner
→ Bühnenweihfestspiel in drei Aufzügen

Cast 03.04.2024

Conductor Alexander Soddy
Inszenierung, Bühne & Kostüme Kirill Serebrennikov
Lighting Design Franck Evin
Ko-Regie Evgeny Kulagin
Mitarbeit Bühne Olga Pavliuk
Mitarbeit Kostüm Tatiana Dolmatovskaya
Video & Foto Designer Aleksei Fokin Yurii Karih
Kampfmeister Ran Arthur Braun
Dramaturge Sergio Morabito
Amfortas Michael Nagy
Gurnemanz Günther Groissböck
Titurel Wolfgang Bankl
Parsifal Daniel Frank
Klingsor Werner Van Mechelen
Kundry Elīna Garanča
Der damalige Parsifal Nikolay Sidorenko
1. Gralsritter Katleho Mokhoabane
2. Gralsritter Jusung Gabriel Park
1. Knappe Stephanie Houtzeel
2. Knappe Alma Neuhaus
3. Knappe Norbert Ernst
4. Knappe Ted Black
1. Blumenmädchen/1. Gruppe Ileana Tonca
2. Blumenmädchen/1. Gruppe Miriam Kutrowatz
3. Blumenmädchen/1. Gruppe Anna Bondarenko
1. Blumenmädchen/2. Gruppe Maria Nazarova
2. Blumenmädchen/2. Gruppe Jenni Hietala
3. Blumenmädchen/2. Gruppe Stephanie Maitland


Synopsis: The male circle of the Grail Knights is in crisis. Time and again, knights desert to the counter-realm of the sorcerer Klingsor, who had previously been rejected by the circle of knights. With the help of seductive women, above all Kundry, he succeeds in bringing down the knights. He is even able to tempt the Grail King Amfortas into a misstep. He steals his sacred spear and inflicts an incurable wound. As a result, Amfortas' ritual duty of unveiling the Grail has become an ordeal. Only a pure fool is destined to undo the Grail King's fall from grace and reverse its devastating consequences.

Program booklet (2,50€)

A visit to the performance is recommended from the age of 16


The plot is set in the time of the Christian reconquista on the partially Arab-occupied Spanish peninsula. The men's society of the Grail Knights, which is active there, has fallen into crisis. For time and again, knights desert to the counter-realm of the sorcerer Klingsor, who had emasculated himself in his pursuit of sexual asceticism and had previously been rejected by the circle of knights. His castration gave Klingsor the power to control women. He now uses these to bring down the chaste Christian knights. He was even able to tempt the Grail King Amfortas into a misstep, in which he stole his sacred spear from him and inflicted an incurable wound. As a result, Amfortas' ritual duty of unveiling the Grail has become an ordeal, which he only performs under the pressure of his »dead in the grave« father and completely refuses to do after his death. Only a »Reiner Tor« is destined to undo the fall of the Grail King and to reverse its devastating consequences. A decisive role in this work of redemption is played by an enigmatic woman who travels under different identities both on the territory of the Grail castle and in Klingsor's magical castle.


Wagner's last opera brings together in a magnificent way the problems with which the poet-composer's entire oeuvre confronts us: Avant-garde and Romanticism, dissolution of boundaries and ideology interpenetrate almost indissolubly. The genre designation »Bühnenweihfestspiel« refers to the claim of a religion of art. Until the expiration of the 30-year copyright, the performance was reserved for the Bayreuth Festival: Theater stages itself as a ritual. Racist world views flourished in the vapor circle of the Festspielhaus, which recommended the purity ideology of »Parsifal« for anti-Semitic and »völkisch« use.

But it is not the politically compromised Romantic messages of salvation that compel us to confront Parsifal, but the new aesthetic territory that the ingenious music dramatist opened up: »The Romantic spell has been cast. What remains, since the magic failed? The style, the technique, the spirit. Not the spirit of 'pure folly,' but the spirit of art,« wrote the music writer August Halm in 1916. Of course, even his voice, one of the few level-headed ones, could not prevent the National Socialist abuse that was perpetrated with the work. But it did indirectly point to the pioneers of an emphatic modernism who took up the legitimate, namely creative, legacy of Parsifal's music: the Frenchman Debussy, whose sound world seems to be anticipated in the flower girl scene of the second act, and the Austrian Jews Mahler and Schoenberg. For Mahler's oeuvre, the solemnly striding transformation music of the 1st and 3rd acts, in conjunction with its bell motifs, became a decisive imprint, while the prelude of the 3rd act, in which Wagner touches on atonality, anticipates Schönberg's style.

The not only temporal caesura between the first two and the third act has led director Kirill Serebrennikov, who is also his own set and costume designer, to have the story told by the matured Parsifal, as it were, in flashback, taking us through the events of the first two acts until we arrive in the present of the narrator in Act 3. Serebrennikov associates the dysfunctional male world of Grail Society with the topography of a prison complex, more specifically a maison centrale, a French type of prison where the so-called hopeless, often members of ethnic or religious minorities, are interned and left to fend for themselves. There, the juvenile delinquent Parsifal is confronted with an initiation ritual in the course of which violence and ecstasy are closely juxtaposed. In this hermetic world of men, the only woman on the move is the errant figure of the messenger Kundry - in Serebrennikov's work, a journalist driven by her interest in structures of violence, such as those that characterize such a maison centrale. In doing so, she operates in a gray zone in which she also functions as an accomplice of the detainees.

Attendance at the performance is recommended from the age of 16.