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Parsifal at Theatre des Champs Elysees. Orchestra National de France, Choire de Radio France. In front from left Detlef Roth (Amfortas), Kurt Rydl (Gurnemanz), Christopher Ventris (Parsifal). Foto Henning Høholt, from the applause.

PARIS. Orchestre National de France, conducted by Daniel Gatti with choire, and a long list of excellent solists presented a concert production of Richard Wagners opera Parsifal, in a way: “Wagner, when it´s at its best”.

Review by Henning Høholt

Without score Daniele Gatti conducted the 5 hour and 20 minutes long concert verion, inclusicve two breaks of at all one hour.

Daniele Gatti

The result is amazing and very representative for Radio France.

We specially enjoyed the orchestral sound, and the many very beautiful details in the performance, inclusive the many good soloparts in all the orners on the stage, and even of stage.. It all started with the great trumpet solo very early, and through that the niveau was placed very high up, and this was the way that the ensemble with orchestre, choir (choiremaster Matthias Brauer), and soloists followed.

In the first act we also enjoyed the childrens choir of stage, (Maitrise de Radio France), and noticed specially two very good sounding boy sopranos clear on the top of it all. Directed by Sofi Jeannin. 

Parsifal at Theatre des Champs Elysees. Orchestra National de France, Choire de Radio France. In front from left Detlef Roth (Amfortas), Kurt Rydl (Gurnemanz), Christopher Ventris (Parsifal). Foto Henning Høholt, from the applause.

The role list is long, very long,. honestly, i should wish that it has been possible to mention all of them but the the review will be to long. Parifal was taken good hands of by Christopher Ventris. Closely followed by his mother Kundry performed by Mihoko Fujimura.  Which showed a beautiful sounding voice, i specially enjoyed the beauty in and the extraordinary sound in the deeper part. Gurnemanz was Kurt Rydl he has the right type of voice for this role, he is playing an old priest, and therefore his too much vibrato in his long lines can be accepted, but it was only disturbing in the long lines, else perfect.  Amfortas, Detlef Roth, was wonderful, clear, direct, and his singing up to the developing of the Gral wass extraodrinay well made.  Good followed by the very relaxed part after. Klingsor, Lucio Gallo, was the magician he has to be, and did a great job. Andreas Hörl sung Titurell.

Parsifal is full of beatiful themes, like his later using of leding themes, and Daniele Gatti in a way underlined these themes, so it was clear for us all what and when we were where in the history. In addition I enjoyed the tempi that mr. Gatti gave his version of Parsifal, i had a good feeling all the evening.

The flover girls was refreshing sung by Julia Borchert, Martina Rüping, Carola Guber, Christiane Kohl, Jutta Maria Böhnert and Katharina Peetz. 

In fact, Tuesday night, it was good that this was not a stage performance, but a concert version. Then we could concentrate ton the music, and were not being disturbed by a regissørs strange ideas, some time to fill up the stage with effeccts. This was clear, and i had a feeling inside me, that Richard Wagner would have liked this performance, Only small details didn´t work perfect on tuesday, During the way two harps are articipating but in the very end two more are added, the were not together all the time, or even not so often. But this is a detail, and I am sure that this will be taken care of until the direct radio performance on friday evening from Theatre des Champs Elysées. The choir has an amazing sound.

Historic:

Parsifal  is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on Wolfram von Eschenbach\ s Parzival, the 13th century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival (Percival) and his quest for the Holy Grail, and on Chrétien de Troyes´Perceval, the Story of the Grail.

Wagner first conceived the work in April 1857 but it was not finished until twenty-five years later. It was to be Wagner’s last completed opera and in composing it he took advantage of the particular acoustics of his Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Where Parsifal was first produced at the second in 1882. Which maintained a monopoly on Parsifal productions until 1903, when the opera was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Wagner preferred to describe Parsifal not as an opera, but as “ein Bühnenweihfestspiel” – “A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage”. At Bayreuth a tradition has arisen that there is no applaus after the first act of the opera.

Wagner’s spelling of Parsifal instead of the Parzival he had used up to 1877 is informed by an erroneous etymology of the name Percivalderiving it from a supposedly Arabic origin, Fal Parsi meaning “pure fool”.

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