An Insiders Guide To Parsifal: Lyric Opera Of Chicago

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 | 7:36:00 pm

"Compassion and redemption. Yes, one is very dependent on the other. The theme of redemption – Parsifal’s redemption – is entirely tied up with whether or not he learns compassion. That’s the fundamental story of the work..." John Caird

"In the case of Wagner, knowing as I’m sure he did that this was his last major piece, there is a sense that he is writing his own Requiem Mass, or Missa Solemnis – a piece that he knows will be his final artistic and intellectual statement" 
John Caird

"It is a religious piece – there's no question of that. Wagner’s decision to present the dénoument of the work on Good Friday and to infuse Parsifal’s quest with so much Christian imagery – it can’t be regarded as a completely secular work. But I think it’s also a deeply philosophical work" 
John Caird

"As with all stage directions, some of them are useful, some less so. A lot of the stage directions were written in order to prove to his producers at the time that what he was writing was possible, and to help explain how elements of the music could be interpreted visually – perhaps because he started with a visual inspiration for which he then created music. Getting the visual elements right is crucial, but slavishly copying what Wagner has suggested is not so important" 
John Caird

Part of Lyric Opera Of Chicago's run-up to the premiere of their new Parsifal. A video preview with general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming.
You might also want to read an interview with Director John Caird by clicking here.