These Opera Guides are ideal companions to the opera. They provide stimulating introductory articles together with the complete text of each opera in English and the original.
More than any other work in the operatic repertory, Parsifal demands a personal commitment and response. As the culmination of half a lifetime’s preoccupation with the issues of compassion and redemption, it has profound philosophical implications. As the ultimate example of Wagner’s idiom it is an extraordinary musical structure. The unique quality of the subject inspired a wholly original musical conception. Here are four very different essays designed, in their variety, to set you thinking about it what it means to you. The translation was commissioned for the first production by English National Opera in 1986.
Richard Wagner (1813–83) was a composer who drew inspiration from Christian and Nordic mythology, as well as the philosophy of Schopenhauer, to pioneer dramatically new forms of music. His concept of the “Total Artwork” led to the construction of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, an opera house he designed specifically for productions of his own operas. He also wrote widely on music and art. His operas include Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and the four parts of Der Ring des Nibelungen.