|Directed by||Hans-Jürgen Syberberg|
|Produced by||Annie Nap-Oleon|
|Written by||Richard Wagner|
|Edited by||Jutta Brandstaedter|
|Distributed by||Zoetrope Studios|
Parsifal is a 1982 West German-French opera film directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, based on the opera of the same name by Richard Wagner. It was shown out of competition at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.
The soundtrack is a complete performance of the opera, but the imagery used is a melange including medieval costume, puppetry, Nazi relics and a giant death mask of Wagner. The Grail itself is represented by Wagner's Bayreuth Theatre, and Parsifal's key transformation is portrayed with a change of actor to an androgynous but deliberately female-suggesting form in order to achieve a union of male and female at the conclusion of Act II.
Prior to making Parsifal, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg had made three films which bring up the subject of Richard Wagner: Ludwig: Requiem for a Virgin King from 1972, The Confessions of Winifred Wagner from 1975 and Hitler: A Film from Germany from 1977. The Confessions of Winifred Wagner had upset the descendants of Wagner, which had the effect that Syberberg was not allowed to use any existing recording of the opera for the soundtrack of Parsifal. A production was instead arranged specifically for the film, with Armin Jordan as conductor. The film was shot entirely in studio in 35 days, in Bavaria Atelier in Munich. The budget was just above three million Deutsche Mark.
The New York Times' John Rockwell wrote: "Hans Jurgen Syberberg's film version of Richard Wagner's music drama, Parsifal, should enthrall both film lovers and Wagner fans. Mr. Syberberg's work represents not only the summation of his career thus far, but is as gripping, strange and, in the end, devotionally faithful a staging as any Wagner opera has received in our time." Rockwell continued: "Just why Mr. Syberberg's scenic innovations don't seem as disturbing as other modern directorial innovations - Patrice Chéreau's Bayreuth Ring, for instance - is hard to explain. ... [I]nstead of their shocking us away from the romantic spell of the music, they reinforce that spell. It's as if Wagner's hypnotic allure and Brecht's intellectualized alienation have been somehow mystically united."Graham Bradshaw wrote in London Review of Books : "Using clever front projection techniques, [Syberberg] provides a rapid background commentary on the main dramatic action: this is sometimes contrived and disruptive, but more frequently suggests the reflexes and ricochets of a mind that is actively engaging with Parsifal."
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.
The Bayreuth Festival is a music festival held annually in Bayreuth, Germany, at which performances of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner are presented. Wagner himself conceived and promoted the idea of a special festival to showcase his own works, in particular his monumental cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen and Parsifal.
Hans-Jürgen Syberberg is a German film director, whose best known film is his lengthy feature Hitler: A Film from Germany.
Wieland Wagner was a German opera director, grandson of Richard Wagner. As co-director of the Bayreuth Festival when it re-opened after World War II, he was noted for innovative new stagings of the operas, departing from the naturalistic scenery and lighting of the originals. His wartime involvement in the development of the V-2 rocket was kept secret for many years.
Martha Mödl was a German soprano, and later a mezzo-soprano. She specialized in large dramatic roles such as Isolde, Brünnhilde, and particularly Kundry, and is considered, along with Astrid Varnay and Birgit Nilsson, one of the three major postwar Wagner sopranos. She was among the preeminent Wagner sopranos—and most compelling singing actresses—of the twentieth century. She was celebrated for her highly individualized interpretations, exceptional acting ability, intense stage presence, and "rich, sexy voice."
Gustav Neidlinger was a German bass-baritone most famous as the pre-eminent leading performer of Wagner's "howling-and-spitting" villains, especially Alberich and Klingsor, from the early 1950s to the early 1970s. Born in Mainz, Neidlinger studied at the Frankfurt conservatory, where he was trained by Otto Rottsieper. He debuted in 1931 at the Stadttheater in Mainz, where he sang until 1934. In 1934 and 1935, he performed at the Stadttheater in Plauen, Sachsen. From 1935 to 1950, he was a member of the Hamburg opera, where In 1937 he took part in the world premiere of the opera Schwarzer Peter by Norbert Schultze. In 1950, he joined the Stuttgart Staatsoper, where he became very popular and was, in 1977, named an honorary member. In Stuttgart, he sang in Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. In 1956 he moved to the Vienna Staatsoper, where he had sung as early as 1941. He also sang at the Paris Opéra (1953–67) and at Covent Garden in London in tandem with the Stuttgart ensemble. He was honored with the title German Kammersänger in 1952.
Thomas Stewart was an American bass-baritone who sang an unusually wide range of roles, earning global acclaim particularly for his performances in Wagner's operas.
Dunja Vejzović is an acclaimed operatic soprano from Croatia.
Anton van Rooy was a Dutch bass-baritone. He had a voice of enormous proportions and is most remembered for his association with the music dramas of Richard Wagner, especially the Ring Cycle, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg and Parsifal.
Waltraud Meier is a Grammy Award–winning German dramatic soprano and mezzo-soprano singer. She is particularly known for her Wagnerian roles as Kundry, Isolde, Ortrud, Venus, Fricka, and Sieglinde, but has also had success in the French and Italian repertoire appearing as Eboli, Amneris, Carmen, and Santuzza. She resides in Munich.
Bernd Weikl is an Austrian operatic baritone, particularly known for his performances in the stage works by Richard Wagner. He also has written books and directed operas.
This is a partial discography of Parsifal, an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner.
Ekkehard Wlaschiha was a German operatic baritone who specialized in Wagnerian "villains", such as Alberich, Klingsor and Friedrich von Telramund. He performed at the Bayreuth Festival and at the Metropolitan Opera, and left many recordings.
Wolfgang Schöne is a German bass-baritone in opera and concert.
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Hannelore Bode is a German operatic soprano. She performed at the Bayreuth Festival from 1968 to 1978, including Elsa in Lohengrin, Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and several parts in the 1976 Jahrhundertring, including Sieglinde in Die Walküre. She performed internationally and recorded operas with conductors such as Eugen Jochum, Silvio Varviso and Pierre Boulez.
Evelyn Herlitzius is a German opera singer, a dramatic soprano. She is known for performing major roles in works by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, such as Brünnhilde, Isolde and Elektra, at the Semperoper, the Bayreuth Festival and leading European opera houses.
Elisabeth Schärtel was a German operatic mezzo-soprano and contralto. A member of the Cologne Opera from 1959 to 1967, she performed leading parts at major European opera houses and regularly at the Bayreuth Festival.
Michael Volle is a German operatic baritone. After engagements at several German and Swiss opera houses, he has worked freelance since 2011. While he first appeared in Mozart roles such as Guglielmo, Papageno and Don Giovanni, he moved on to title roles such as Verdi's Falstaff, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Alban Berg's Wozzeck. He has performed at major opera houses in Europe and the Metropolitan Opera, in roles including Mandryka in Arabella and Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. His awards include Singer of the Year by Opernwelt and Der Faust.
The Bayreuth premiere cast of Parsifal lists the contributors to the new productions of Richard Wagner's inaugural stage play Parsifal, including the premiere, which took place on 26 July 1882 at the Bayreuth Festival.