Another Incomparable Parsifal under Kiril Petrenko in Munich

GermanyGermany Wagner, Parsifal: Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper, Bayerisches Staatsorchester / Kirill Petrenko (conductor), Nationaltheater, Munich, 28.3.2019. (JMI)

Bayrerische Staatsoper’s Parsifal © R. Walz & W. Hösl


Director – Pierre Audi
Sets – Georg Baselitz
Costumes – Florence von Gerkan
Lighting – Urs Schönebaum


Parsifal – Burkhard Fritz
Kundry – Nina Stemme
Gurnemanz – René Pape
Amfortas – Michael Nagy
Klingsor – Derek Welton
Titurel – Bálint Szabó

My Munich trip has culminated with this performance of Parsifal, and it was magnificent. The vocal cast as a whole perhaps did not quite reach the heights achieved a few months ago in the July Opera Festival, but they were extremely good.

This Pierre Audi production is the one that premiered at last July’s Festival, and I reviewed it at the time: (review click here).

As in July, Kirill Petrenko was the musical leader, and once again this exceptional conductor’s reading was spectacular. He shone in a special way in the third act, which was, in musical terms, the best I have heard in a long time. This great conductor will truly be missed when he leaves Munich. Under his command was the superb Bayerisches Staatsorchester.

Parsifal was played by Burkhard Fritz, and he faced the impossible task of succeeding Jonas Kaufmann, who sang the part in July. The difference is considerable, but Burkhard Fritz gave a correct, though not brilliant, interpretation.

Nina Stemme repeated in the role of Kundry and shone both as a singer and an actress.  She was impressive in the first and third acts, and especially notable in Act II. Gurnemanz was sung again this time by René Pape who was particularly convincing. It was a luxury to have him.

The new Amfortas was Michael Nagy, who offered an attractive and well-suited voice for the role. Derek Welton as Klingsor also did well, although his voice is a little light for the character. I would prefer a bass-baritone.

The Munich Theater was completely sold out. The artists, and especially René Pape and Nina Stemme, were warmly received in the final bows, but the biggest applause went to Kirill Petrenko, who received with a standing ovation.

José M. Irurzun

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