Work of the Week - Richard Wagner: Parsifal
Schott Music has been involved with the publishing of Wagner’s operas for over 150 years and to mark the bicentenary, new complete editions with performance material along with the first ever urtext piano scores have been prepared. Among tese editions are the opera Parsifal, traditionally performed on Good Friday.
Parsifal was the final large-scale stage work by Richard Wagner who died just one year after the opera had been completed in 1882. Sketches for the work, however, began as early as 1853:
"On Good Friday I woke up to complete sunshine: the garden was green, the birds sang and finally I could sit down peacefully by our cottage in silence. Next I suddenly reminded myself that today was Good Friday and I remembered how poignant I found this moment in Wolfram’s “Parsifal”. Not since my stay in Marienbad where I drafted “Meistersinger” and “Lohengrin” had I thought of this poem; now its impact struck me in and based on this thought I quickly sketched the whole drama." -Richard Wagner, in: My Life - autobiography
Parsifal held a special place in Wagner’s oeuvre. The composer considered the opera, about a boy from the woods who becomes king and saviour of the holy grail, as the high point of his career. Unlike his earlier operas, the action takes place predominantly in the background while the story focuses on the central figures and their fate. This approach allows Wagner’s leitmotifs to heighten the relationships, connections and feelings of the characters, making the large work accessible on a personal level.
The performance of Parsifal takes place on 18 April at the Staatstheater Darmstadt, Germany directed by John Dew. Later, the Gustav Mahler Youth orchestra performs the Vorspiel and Karfreitagszauber from the opera at their concerts on 19 and 20 April at Interlaken, Switzerland.
- Richard Wagner – Composer profile
- History - Franz Schott and Richard Wagner
- Staatstheater Darmstadt
- Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester
photo: Staatstheater Darmstadt / Barbara Aumüller