The Wagner Journal

Opening up the Grail: Katherine Syer applauds an inclusive approach to ‘Parsifal’

Opening up the Grail: Katherine Syer applauds an inclusive approach to ‘Parsifal’

Regular price £2.00 GBP
Regular price Sale price £2.00 GBP
Sale Sold out
Taxes included.
Who's Buying?

Review of Parsifal, directed Caird, conducted Davis, Chicago, 2013.

March 2014, Volume 8, Number 1, 68–70.

In recent decades many efforts have been made to overcome the gender imbalance in Parsifal, a work whose closing scene (as we all know) portrays the demise of the only female character occasionally to inhabit the grail realm. Wolfgang Wagner, in a revival of his 1975 Bayreuth production, opted not to have Kundry die. The centenary production of Parsifal at Bayreuth, in 1982, went further. Götz Friedrich directed the Flowermaidens to return to the stage in the work’s closing bars, bathed in a redemptive light, following Kundry’s death. In the early 1990s, in Harry Kupfer’s production at the Berlin Staatsoper, Amfortas died at the uncanny harmonic progression that recalls a mysterious passage in the Act I communion service. Kundry, Parsifal and Gurnemanz then became separated by the stage curtain from the rest of the grail community, left to stand facing the audience while the male knights in the thrall of the holy relics were concealed from view. Of the many such revisionist approaches to Wagner’s final opera that I have experienced, that recently developed by John Caird and his production team for the Chicago Lyric Opera is by far the most inclusive.

View full details