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Wagner: Parsifal / Wolfgang Koch, Milcho Borovinov, Stephen Milling, Johan Botha. Christian Thielemann [2 DVD]

Notes & Reviews:

Christian Thielemann launches a new era for the Salzburg Easter Festival, with a groundbreaking performance of Wagner's 'Easter opera', to be available in a 2-DVD set, and on Blu-ray.

Earlier in Wagner bicentenary year, Christian Thielemann put his stamp on the Salzburg Easter Festival with a triumphant 'Parsifal'. In his first year as Artistic Director he has launched a new era, with a performance on the one hand firmly rooted in tradition, whilst pushing visual and artistic boundaries along the way.

The evening marked something of a homecoming for the acclaimed Wagnerian, who worked on the opera in Salzburg with his mentor Herbert von Karajan in the Eighties. As he told the Daily Telegraph: "They were without a pianist for Parsifal, so everything began from there."

For the first time, the man the Daily Telegraph called "Germany's most sought-after conductor", brought the Dresden Staatskapelle to open the festival - an orchestra that can trace its heritage back to 1548.

Hailing a new tradition, the performance was greeted with tumultuous applause from the Festival audience and hailed by international critics; The Financial Times said: "... his Parsifal is definitive. Every detail is superlatively controlled, sober and transparent. Every word of the text is clearly audible. It is neither intoxicating nor transcendent, but it is beautiful, and as close to perfection as humans can get." The cast of leading Wagnerians includes the great heldentenor Johan Botha in the title role, Michaela Schuster as the enigmatic Kundry, Danish bass Stephen Milling as Gurnemanz and, in another break with tradition, Wolfgang Koch in the two baritone roles of Amfortas and Klingsor.

Unlike the deep pit of Bayreuth, where the opera was first performed, the orchestra in the Große Festspielhaus is placed on a raised platform, bringing it closer to the heart of the drama and revealing the full precision and refinement of Dresden's great opera orchestra - captured for this DVD in glorious Deutsche Grammophon sound.

Financial Times
... a near-perfect rendition of Wagner's score.

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Works Details

>Wagner, Richard : Parsifal
  • Performers: Wolfgang Koch; Milcho Borovinov; Stephen Milling; Johan Botha; Michaela Schuster; Thomas Ebenstein; Derek Welton; Annika Ritlewski; Carolin Neukamm; Mauro Peter; Attilio Glaser
  • Conductor: Christian Thielemann
  • Ensemble: Staatskapelle Dresden
  • Running Time: 242 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Studio/Live: Live