Waltraud Meier stars as Kundry in a new and provocative production of Parsifal at the Bastille Opera in Paris.
Jorg von Uthmann has a review for Bloomberg News of the production which is directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski.
Uthmann comments that Warlikowski does his best to play down the religious side of the opera. The slow tempi that has been a trademark for this "holy" opera, is rejected by conductor Hartmut Haenchen. I guess his fast reading (3 hours and 55 minutes, according to Uthmann) is part of the de-sanctifying project of this production.
Much of Act I is performed as an oratorio with the singers sitting in front of a screen on which, from time to time, primitive drawings appear. If you know the story, you recognize the Cross, the lance and the chalice. If not, you are as lost as a blameless fool.
Before the prelude of the third act, there were angry protests among the audience when the final scene of Roberto Rossellini's 1948 movie Germany Year Zero, showing the suicide of a boy in the ruins of Berlin, appeared on the curtain.
Uthmann is more satisfied with the orchestra (led by Hartmut Haenchen) and the soloists than the direction. He is satisfied with Waltraud Meier (of course), Evgeny Nikitin (Klingsor), Franz Josef Selig (Gurnemanz) and Victor von Halem (Titurel).
Opera Bastille, Paris
Read Uthmann's review on Bloomberg.com here
Hartmut Haenchen's homepage
International Herald Tribune