Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bayreuth 2006: Parsifal

The Christoph Schlingensief production of Parsifal came back to the Bayreuth Festival for its third consecutive year. Which means that for the third consecutive year overwhelming boos have mingled with applause for this enigmatic, and some might say, disgusting production of Richard Wagner's last work. The first two years of this production were led by Pierre Boulez who added unquestionable charm and tradition to the event. He also decided to take the work at blinding speed. Was it that he could not stand looking at Schlingensief's mish-mash for too long? I had never heard such a fast Parsifal in my life: the first act last year was done in all of ninety minutes: Incredible! Of course, Pierre Boulez retired last year, and this production was handed over to Adam Fischer, who perhaps decided that he had a stronger stomach for this production, and he went ahead with a slower reading of this score.

There is not much to report about the production from just listening to it. This is a Parsifal for the eyes, more than for the ears. There is something absolutely wrong when one has to admit that, but it is so true. What I heard was a good reading of the score, although some voices do not really belong at the Bayreuth Festival, in my opinion, and would fare better at a provincial opera house elsewhere. The star of this show is Christoph Schlingensief, who was booed louder than on previous years.

This Parsifal will play again next year, and then it will be retired. That's an unusually short tenure for a Bayreuth staging. I guess the management (Wolfgang Wagner) has read the awful reviews, and the loud audience reactions. No information has yet been disclosed as to who will conceive the next production of this work.


Terry said...

Thank God...get rid of it!

Vincent Vargas said...

Well, let's give it at least one more year. I would actually like to see what it actually looks like.

Anonymous said...

It was the worst Parsifal I have ever seen in my whole life! I think Wagner was turning in his grave. That explains why it moved two feet.