Parsifal was pretty mind-blowing. Bum-numbing, too, of course, but I didn’t really mind as the music was so good.
I’m not entirely sure, with hindsight, that I ever had a clue what the production was trying to say, but there were a lot of striking stage pictures and musically things were absolutley top notch. My admiration for Stuart Skelton went up another level as he threw himself heart and soul (and frequently bodily as well) into things, armed with that huge and incredibly beautiful voice of his. To maintain such immense beauty even at that scale of volume is astonishing. To play a gawky boy when you are six-foot-odd and built like a - well, like a Wagnerian tenor - is pretty impressive too.
Iain Paterson’s Amfortas was searing and John Tomlinson’s Gurnemanz an anguished, patient, saintly figure - and vocally amazing, especially considering he must be well into his sixties. The three of them made the Kundry pale a little into the background at first, though she fought back. The orchestral playing was shattering.
I just wish I’d known want the heck the director was trying to say. I don’t have a problem with non-traditional productions; but I want them to be coherent; and this wasn’t.
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