Bühnenweihfestspiel by Richard Wagner
Tribune de Genève
On stage rehearsals
Infos & Cast
Infos & Cast
Bühnenweihfestspiel by Richard Wagner
Libretto by the composer
First performed in 1882 at the Bayreuth Festival
Last performed at the Grand Théâtre de Genève 2009-2010
25, 27, 31 January and 2 February 2023 – 6pm
29 January and 5 February 2023 – 3pm
Duration: approx. 5h with two intermissions included
Musical Director Jonathan Nott
Stage Director Michael Thalheimer
Scenography Henrik Ahr
Costumes Michaela Barth
Lighting Designer Stefan Bolliger
Dramaturgy Bettina Auer
Choir director Alan Woodbridge
Parsifal Daniel Johansson
Amfortas Christopher Maltman
Gurnemanz Tareq Nazmi
Kundry Tanja Ariane Baumgartner
Klingsor Martin Gantner
Titurel William Meinert
Flowermaidens Julieth Lozano, Tineke van Ingelgem, Louise Foor, Valeriia Savinskaia, Ena Pongrac, Ramya Roy
Grail Knights Louis Zaitoun, William Meinert
Esquires Julieth Lozano, Ena Pongrac, Omar Mancini, José Pazos
A Voice from Above Ena Pongrac
Grand Théâtre de Genève Chorus
Maîtrise du Conservatoire populaire de Genève
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Coproduction with the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg
MADAME BRIGITTE LESCURE
MONSIEUR ET MADAME GUY ET FRANÇOISE DEMOLE
Something is rotten in the state of the Grail knights! Their king, Amfortas, has been wounded by their archenemy Klingsor and has lost the “Holy Spear” to the fiend. Amfortas is crushed by pain and guilt, with a wound that will not heal. The brotherhood of the Grail knights is at a loss about what to think or do. According to a prophecy, the only thing that will help the king is the compassion of an “innocent fool”, the only one who can bring the Holy Spear back to the Castle of the Grail. In the midst of this ailing world, the young Parsifal appears. He is apprehended and interrogated by the Grail knights who think they might find in him the “innocent fool” they are searching for. Trials and temptations ensue for Parsifal who overcomes them all. A few years later, he manages even to wrest the Holy Spear from Klingsor’s clutches. Amfortas may now die. Parsifal, saviour of the knighthood, takes Amfortas’ place as king. To the male brotherhood of the knights, Wagner opposes one single woman: Kundry. He describes her as a “wild female”, scorned – or secretly desired by the knights. Kundry’s only way to escape the oppression of male society is to seduce it: Having already seduced Amfortas and Klingsor, she now tempts Parsifal, who rejects her advances. But this initial rejection will make Kundry and Parsifal reach a state of chaste proximity, beyond corrupting seduction.
German director Michael Thalheimer sees the precarious condition of the Grail knighthood as neither hopeful nor hopeless. Beyond the “festival play for the consecration of the stage” as Wagner called Parsifal, the work carries all the symbols of decline. Thalheimer sees it as a farewell to the world. The world bids farewell to the Grail knighthood, the knights bid farewell to their lives and worldly works. Looking back on their past times and existences has marked the brotherhood, who must all live with the condition of being “wounded”. Wagner designed Parsifal for the Bayreuth Festival Theatre and composed it for its recessed and hooded orchestra pit. This feature was responsible for the astounding mix of sound between singers and orchestra at the premiere. There will be no hooded pit in Geneva but with Jonathan Nott as musical director at the head of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, expect to hear finally a unique mix of transparency and vitality as they unfold the masterpiece’s state of matter. Alongside Tanja Ariane Baumgartner, back as Kundry after her impressive Clytemnestra, the young German bass Tareq Nazmi as Gurnemanz and Daniel Johansson as Parsifal, a memorable Pierre Bezukhov in our War and Peace last season, along with some of the best Wagnerian voices of the moment, are all on deck for this spiritual voyage.
Parsifal at La Plage
Check out all the various events connected with the production.
45 minutes before the performance
45 minutes before the bells call you into the house, it’s time to refresh your memory and go back to the beginnings of the opera: we offer a brief introduction to remind you what the work is all about and what kind of magical, apocalyptic, critical or hyper-realistic worlds the people behind the production have in store for you. Lickety-split, there’s just enough time to grab some bubbly before you take your seats under the star-studded ceiling of a thousand and one operas!
45 minutes before each performance
Free admittance with performance tickets
Foyer of the GTG
Thursday, January 19 at 6:30PM
A special evening to get ready for the Parsifal experience or simply to gather around the two great masters and two exceptional performers.
In the Wagnerian maze that would finally lead to the creation of Parsifal in 1882, Richard Wagner‘s last work, the Wesendonck Lieder are at the start of the tortuous path, created in 1862. Based on five poems by Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of his host in Zürich, they were composed while Richard was in exile after taking part in the Dresden riots: the chromaticism of Tristan und Isolde can already be heard.
In 1853, ten years before the beginning of the relationship between his daughter Cosima and the composer, Franz Liszt published Les harmonies poétiques et religieuses. Inspired in part by Lamartine’s poems, the collection includes pieces for solo piano, the most frequently performed of which is this transcendent meditation, reminiscent of the endless passage of time in Parsifal.
The young mezzo-soprano Eugénie Joneau, who won the Victoires de la Musique last year, will be joined on the piano by the pianist Cédric Pescia.
> discover the programme
Thursday, January 19, 2023
At 6:30 PM
First drink included (except cocktails and champagne)
In the foyer of the GTG
Saturday, January 21 at 11AM
Singing and orchestra introduction workshop
For the first time, the Grand Théâtre and the Orchestre de Suisse Romande join their efforts for a special public workshop on Parsifal. Dive into Wagner’s universe with the bass Markus Hollop and 4 musicians from the OSR.
Through various excerpts, you will explore the specifics of this great composer’s writing, the lyrical voice and the orchestral parts of Parsifal. At the end of the workshop, it will be your turn to play and you will even be able to try out some of the orchestra’s instruments!
Saturday, January 21 2023
From 12 years old
Entry CHF 15.–
A the Grand Foyer of the Grand Théâtre de Genève
Tuesday, January 24 at 6:30PM
PARSIFAL : La scène et le sacré
Que Parsifal soit une œuvre empreinte d’une forme de sacralité ne fait aucun doute. Mais à quels saints vouer ce “Bühnenweihfestspiel” (“festival scénique sacré”) ? Wagner s’est-il “effondré au pied de la Croix” comme l’affirme Nietzsche ? Parsifal peut-il être tenu pour une œuvre chrétienne ? Et que faire des influences manifestes de la pensée bouddhiste dans l’œuvre ? Quelle est donc cette divinité qui rassemble les “pèlerins” autour de la “colline sacrée” de Bayreuth ?
On tentera de suivre quelques fils de la pelote complexe où s’entretissent art et religion, dans l’ultime chef-d’œuvre de Richard Wagner.
Une conférence présentée par Christophe Imperiali en collaboration avec l’Association genevoise des amis de l’opéra et du ballet et le Cercle Romand Richard Wagner.
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
At the Théâtre de l’Espérance
Sunday, February 5
Haven’t you ever wondered what it’s like on the other side, when the curtain falls on a performance? How does all the technical machinery work? What do the stagehands have to do to get things back into working order? Or maybe just bump into one of the stars of the show?
So let us raise the curtain on all this for you. With every production, we give our patrons an opportunity to come backstage with us, raise their eyes to the flies and take a good look at what’s behind the sets. It may be dark in the wings but there’s a whole lot going on there! And because it’s a really busy place, we can’t really do this more than once per performance run. You will need to book your visit beforehand, so don’t delay!
A member of the theatre staff who can answer all your questions and show you some of the very impressive features of our opera house takes you backstage for free.
After the February 5 performance, a member of the theatre staff who can answer all your questions and show you some of the very impressive features of our opera house takes you backstage for free.
The “En coulisse” tour lasts about 20 minutes, starts 15 minutes after the performance, is free of charge on prior reservation with our box office service by email [email protected].
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Réfugiés épuisés attendant sous la chaleur. Lesbos, Grèce, 2015
© Paolo Pellegrin
Répétitions de Parsifal © GTG / Carole Parodi