Eric Laufenberg Explains The Meaning Of His Parsifal
Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 26 July 2016 | 2:00:00 pm
In a recent interview with DW, Eric Laufenberg had this to say about his interpretation of Parsifal:
This piece basically focuses on the religion of Christianity. On one
hand, the grail knights in "Parsifal" inhabit a realm of charity,
empathy and sympathy, and they come to the aid of the needy. Then
there's the other side: a crucified God, blood rituals and military
I believe that Wagner wanted to bring out the factors of benevolence and
mystery in this work. Not to openly criticize religion, but to enable
one to experience it. That's interesting in our own times of widespread
religious fundamentalism - but also in times of a Pope Francis, who has
been de-emphasizing the institutional side of the Catholic Church and
stressing the factors of mercy, grace and benevolence.
It's always been pertinent to ask: What are religions doing, and are
they allowing themselves to be abused for ideological purposes? What do
they really stand for?
If you just consider the text, "Parsifal" is difficult, yes. You need
the music. It explains so much in detail, and you have to get a sense of
that. Such is the case with the happy ending. Wagner knew this would be
his last work. At the final uncovering of the Holy Grail, the violins
soar upwards, the harmonies become clearer, and everything finally
dissipates into nothingness. It's like a final breath, the utopia of a
dying man, as it were - a very beautiful, holy, peaceful utopia.