Saturday, February 16, 2013

Parsifal: the Met's knights to remember

The most enthralling section of Met’s new production of Parsifal is a portion that, in most productions, is the most dreaded: the first two-thirds of Act 3. Too often it's a bore, but here it’s hypnotic, sinking the audience deeply into the ritualistic and the very slow, from the music to the movements onstage. It is drama like this--grave and mysterious--that this production does best.

In many ways this performance was a big win for the Met. This is a musically outstanding Parsifal with great performances that balance the human and the mythic. There are many disturbing and sad things in it. The production is beautiful and has some striking visual moments. But these moments aren’t quite enough to make an interpretation, and I was left moved but with some big questions.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

[Tenor] + Wagner

It's Wagner Year. In case you did not remember that the composer was born in 1813, two very prominent German tenors would like to remind you with their new CDs. (It's Verdi Year too, but he'll have to wait.)

Saturday, February 09, 2013

A Parsifal Leitmotiv guide

they left out the Ni-Motiv.
The Met's new production of Parsifal, premiering on February 15, is one of the most-anticipated events of the season in New York. (For me, at least. See also.) In my continuing quest to be useful, and as a sequel to my Ring Leitmotiv guide of last year, here is a guide to the motives and other recurring themes of Parsifal for your reference and appreciation. This one I did not make myself, it is from an old public domain piano-vocal edition of the score. Not all the terms and associations are really up with current thinking on this piece, but if you're just getting started it should suit you fine. After the jump you can find it as an embedded PDF (which you can download here as well), with my translations of the German terms following.