Bühnenweihfestspiel (»A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage«) in three acts by Richard Wagner
- Set Designer
- Costume Designer
- Chorus Master
Introductory matinee on 22 MARCH 2015
The all-male order of the Grail Knights lives in a forsaken location, subjecting
themselves to a life of strict asceticism and giving up their former
lives for the holy service. They believe they can achieve immortality.m
Gurnemanz tells the younger members of the brotherhood the story of
the founding and the rise of the community, founded many years ago by
Titurel. Since its founding, Titurel has been the guard of two relics, the
chalice from which Jesus Christ drank at the Last Supper and the spear
used to wound him on the cross.
Titurel’s son Amfortas was wounded in a fight against Klingsor, who was
driven from the brotherhood and since then has been seeking vengeance
against the Grail Knights. The reason for Amfortas’ defeat, according to
Gurnemanz, was his passion for a beautiful woman that Klingsor sent
him. Klingsor stole the holy spear and injures Amfortas with a wound
that refuses to heal. Since then, Amfortas has been suffering inhumane
Kundry brings a miraculous balsam, she tries everything to ameliorate
Amfortas’ suffering. But the wound, according to prophecy, can only be
healed by a “pure fool, enlightened by compassion.”
The Knights take a foreign youth, who has shot a swan, prisoner, and
Gurnemanz scolds him for his deed. The youth cannot provide any information
about himself: he doesn’t even know his own name. He only
remembers his mother, with whom he lived in the forest and whom he
left behind. Kundry explains to him that his mother is dead, and the news
shocks the young man.
Gurnemanz hopes to have found the “pure fool,” and introduces him to
the brotherhood. Parsifial partakes in the holy rituals. Titurel calls on his
son to complete the ritual, which causes Amfortas great suffering every
time. Amfortas is tortured not just by wound, but even more by an awareness
of his sin.
The Grail Knights believe that this ritual is the only thing that nourishes
them and keeps them alive.
But Parsifal does not understand what he sees, and Gurnemanz dismisses
Klingsor, who was driven away by the Grail Knights and is therefore seeking
vengeance, has created a realm of his own, where he lives with many
women, his countless daughters, the Flower Maidens.
In constant war with the Grail Knights, he tries anything to discredit them
and destroy the brotherhood.
Klingsor asks his daughter Kundry help him: she should seduce Parsifal as
she once seduced Amfortas. Parsifal should lose his purity, so that he is no
longer a danger for Klingsor. Kundry refuses in despair.
Parsifal approaches Klingsor’s realm. The Flower Maidens surround Parsifal
and play their boisterous games.
Kundry asks the maidens to leave her alone with Parisfal. She calls him
by name, reminds him of his past, tells him of his mother, how much
Herzeleide loved her son, how she suffered from his departure and finally
died without seeing her son once more. Parsifal thinks he is guilty of his
mother’s death and despairs.
To comfort the distraught Parsifal, Kundry opens her arms to him. Horrified
by the passion he suddenly feels, Parsifal tears himself from Kundry’s
arms, frantically recalls Amfortas’ wound and screams that now such a
wound burns within him.
Kundry tries to free Parsifal of his confusion, but he is possessed by the
idea of freeing the grail from Amfortas’ sinful hands.
Kundry asks for understanding and compassion, but Parsifal rejects her
in anger and disgust, calling her a whore and a reveler. To stop Parsifal,
Kundry cries out for help.
Klingsor rushes in to strike Parisfal with the spear that gave Amfortas
his wound, but Parsifal rips the spear from Klingsor’s hands and destroys
Klingsor and his realm.
Many years have past.
The order of the Holy Grail has disintegrated. Old Titurel has died. The
Knights no longer gather for Holy service, the Grail lies hidden in its
Gurnemanz suffers greatly from what has happened, and has left the
Suddenly, he finds Kundry lying unconscious on the floor. Gurnemanz
awakens her. Kundry is full of humility, she has come to serve.
A stranger appears. Gurnemanz and Kundry fail to recognize him as
Parsifal is carrying the holy spear with him. Gurnemanz triumphs: the
prophecy has been fulfilled, the sacred relics have been returned, and the
brotherhood can rise again with Parsifal as its leader.
The Grail Knights meet for Holy service, and due the death of his father,
Amfortas promised to take up the suffering one last time. But suddenly
he refuses, and asks for death as the only redemption from his suffering.
Parsifal returns the lost spear to Amfortas.