18 Nov 2014
Wagner’s last opera, Parsifal, is a work of intense humanity. It narrates the story of a troubled community ultimately healed through one mans realization of the power of compassion.
Created in honour of the bicentenary of Wagner’s birth, Stephen Langridge’s new production, with designs by Alison Chitty, distils with intellectual fibre and visual eloquence (Financial Times) the timeless and universal nature of the Parsifal story. The cast includes great Wagnerian tenor Simon O’Neill in the title role. René Pape as Gurnemanz is immaculate (Guardian), Gerald Finley as Amfortas is compelling (Telegraph) and Angela Denoke as Kundry is dramatically electrifying (Telegraph). The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House under Royal Opera Music Director Antonio Pappano give a ravishing rendition of Wagner’s sublime score.
‘As music, this production is the stuff of wonder, prepared with immaculate and loving care by Mr. Pappano to the point where every detail is in place, secure, unsweated, and his focus can take in the longer view of Wagner’s sweeping architectural span. In generally good form these days, the Covent Garden orchestra excels itself with fine ensemble playing, and a fair approximation of the sonic halo that surrounds and integrates the textures when you hear them at Bayreuth. Which is to say, it feels authentic. Vocally, the stars are René Pape, whose Gurnemanz is easy, conversational but cavernously strong, and Gerald Finley as Amfortas.’ (New York Times)
Orchestra: Royal Opera House
Conductor: Antonio Pappano
Number of discs: 2
Label: Opus Arte