A „Bühnenweihfestspiel“ in three acts - 1882

Composer Richard Wagner · Libretto by the composer
In German with English and German surtitles

Munich Opera Festival
Thursday, 28. June 2018
04:00 pm – 09:20 pm

Alexander Kluge hat sich intensiv mit Georg Baselitz' Bühnenbild zu Parsifal auseinandergesetzt. Entstanden sind drei kurze Filme, die während der Pausen im Foyer im 1. Rang vor der Königsloge gezeigt werden.

Duration est. 5 hours 20 minutes · 1. Akt (est. 04:00 pm - 05:45 pm ) · Interval (est. 05:45 pm - 06:25 pm ) · 2. Akt (est. 06:25 pm - 07:25 pm ) · Interval (est. 07:25 pm - 08:05 pm ) · 3. Akt (est. 08:05 pm - 09:15 pm )

Prices V

Premiere at 28. June 2018


This production will be broadcast live on BR-KLASSIK

Download Cast List (PDF)
  • gefördert durch

To List of Performances


Kirill Petrenko
Pierre Audi
Set Design
Georg Baselitz
Set Design
Christof Hetzer
Costume Design
Florence von Gerkan
Costume Design Assistant
Tristan Sczesny
Urs Schönebaum
Klaus Bertisch, Benedikt Stampfli
Sören Eckhoff
Stellario Fagone

Christian Gerhaher
Bálint Szabó
René Pape
Jonas Kaufmann
Wolfgang Koch
Nina Stemme
Erster Gralsritter
Kevin Conners
Zweiter Gralsritter
Callum Thorpe
Stimme aus der Höhe
Rachael Wilson
Erster Knappe
Paula Iancic
Zweiter Knappe
Tara Erraught
Dritter Knappe
Manuel Günther
Vierter Knappe
Matthew Grills
Klingsors Zaubermädchen
Golda Schultz
Klingsors Zaubermädchen
Selene Zanetti
Klingsors Zaubermädchen
Tara Erraught
Klingsors Zaubermädchen
Vuvu Mpofu
Klingsors Zaubermädchen
Paula Iancic
Klingsors Zaubermädchen
Rachael Wilson
Children‘s Chorus
Kinderchor der Bayerischen Staatsoper
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
  • Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper
To List of Performances


To List of Performances

Learn more

Neither balsam, nor medicinal herbs can provide relief to the wounded and ailing Amfortas, ruler of the Grail kingdom. His path to recovery proves to be a complex one. No member of the Grail community can reclaim the spear which inflicted the wound, but only an outsider, a “pure fool”, enlightened by compassion. Only by the tip of this spear touching Amfortas’s wound can he be healed. On his journey of self-discovery, towards his destiny as chosen deliverer, Parsifal is accompanied, not only by the skilful Grail Knight Gurnemanz, but also by the enigmatic and seductive Kundry, who opens his eyes to sensuality and extrasensory experience.

Parsifal, a „Bühnenweihfestspiel“ („A Stage Inauguration Festival Play“), was first performed in Bayreuth in 1882. Richard Wagner’s final musical drama addresses wounds which fester both within individuals, as well as in society as a whole, before proffering miracle remedies with the ability to ease the pain.



The knights Titurel and Gurnemanz have founded an Order of the Grail together, in order to protect the Grail and the Spear; the chalice from the Last Supper, in which the blood of the crucified Jesus Christ was collected, and the Spear with which a Roman soldier pierced his side on the cross. Those who are called to protect these must take a solemn vow of celibacy. Klingsor, another knight, wished to join the Order, but was unable to keep his vow and castrated himself. However, Titurel would still not accept him into the Order. Thereupon, Klingsor built his own kingdom of temptresses, who shall seduce the puritanical knights and consequently diminish the power of the Order of the Grail. Titurel hands his crown to his son Amfortas, and the new King of the Grail desires the destruction of Klingsor’s empire. As Amfortas manages to make his way, armed with the Holy Spear, to Klingsor’s castle, he is met by Kundry, who then seduces him. This mystical creature once laughed at Christ on his way to the crucifixion, and now, in order to atone for her sin, wanders restlessly through countless lives, as a helpful servant, in the hope of meeting her redeemer. And yet, she is Klingsor’s most effective way of seducing the Knights of the Grail. Thanks to her, the Spear is now in Klingsor’s hands, and he has inflicted upon Amfortas a wound that does not to heal. 

First Act 

Gurnemanz, together with other knights and squires, awaits the ailing Amfortas so that he may prepare a bath for him to relieve his pain. Instead, Amfortas receives some balsam from Kundry, knowing full well that this will also only alleviate the pain for a short while. Y Z The squires attempt to attack Kundry, but Gurnemanz holds them back, telling them the story of the first King of the Grail, Titurel, and his son Amfortas. He knows, of course, that Amfortas’s wound can only be healed when a pure fool, enlightened by compassion, touches it with the Spear. The peace in the forest is disturbed when a swan, a sacred animal, is shot in flight, yet the marksman feels no remorse. When confronted by his actions, it becomes clear that he knows neither his name nor his origins. Only the name of his mother, whom he left, is known: Herzeleide. Kundry, who has been listening in, knows about his past and tells him bluntly that his mother is dead, causing the young knight to try and kill her. Gurnemanz calms him down; he believes that this youngster may be the promised, compassionate fool. Full of hope, he leads him to the Knights of the Grail. Amfortas curses Titurel’s request to finally reveal the grail. Should this happen, the Knights would be recuperated by the power of the Grail. For Amfortas, however, such a move would mean continued excruciating pain. Ultimately, the ruling King of the Grail backs down. The unknown youngster follows the ceremony, but his immaturity ensures that he is unable to show any compassion. Feeling cheated by the young knight, the disappointed Gurnemanz sends him away. 

Second Act 

Klingsor senses danger within the youngster and wants Kundry to kill him. As he wakes her from a deathlike sleep, she utters a wretched scream. After seductive temptresses threateningly surround the errant youngster, Kundry addresses him by his real name: Parsifal. She tells him of his mother, who died after her son had left her. Parsifal, now stricken with remorse, is comforted by Kundry, who explains that he must first get to know the meaning of love before he may grow and leave his guilt behind. She kisses him. Parsifal now realises what his mission is. He must recapture the Spear, use it to close Amfortas’s wound and liberate the Order from its sorrows. Kundry also sees her redeemer in Parsifal. But, as Parsifal rejects her advances, she calls Klingsor in desperation. He throws the Spear at Parsifal, but the youngster is able to avert the danger and retrieve the Spear. He leaves Klingsor’s kingdom before it collapses. 

Third Act 

Gurnemanz, now living alone and abandoned in the forest, discovers Kundry, almost unable to speak and wishing only to serve. A knight approaches the two. Gurnemanz recognises the youngster he once banished, and, him being dressed in armour and carrying the Spear, realises that the chosen one stands before him. He tells Parsifal of the hopeless situation regarding the Kingdom of the Grail, and that Titurel has died due to Amfortas’s refusal to reveal the Grail. Kundry washes Parsifal’s feet, while Gurnemanz addresses him as the new King and, as such, performs his first royal duty by baptising Kundry. It is Good Friday, and everyone is enjoying the beauty and purity of nature before setting off for Titurel’s wake. In honour of his deceased father, Amfortas steadfastly refuses to reveal the Grail. Parsifal steps forth and, as the new crowned King of the Grail, stands before the Order and releases Amfortas from his suffering.  

Benedikt Stampfli, translation James McCallum

To List of Performances


Kirill Petrenko was born in Omsk in 1972 where he studied piano at the College of Music. At the age of eleven he gave his first public performance as a pianist with the Omsk Symphony Orchestra. In 1990 his family (his father a violinist and his mother a musicologist) relocated to Vorarlberg where his father worked as an orchestra musician and music teacher. Petrenko first continued his studies in Feldkirch before moving to Vienna to study conducting at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts. 

His first job after graduation took him directly to the Vienna Volksoper where he was hired by Nikolaus Bachler as Kapellmeister. From 1999 until 2002 Kirill Petrenko was General Music Director at the Meininger Theater. It was in 2001 in his role as conductor of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, in the production by Christine Mielitz and with scenery by Alfred Hrdlicka, that he first achieved international acclaim. In 2002 Kirill Petrenko became General Music Director of the Komische Oper Berlin where, until 2007, he was credited with a series of highly significant productions.

During his time in Meiningen and Berlin his international career also began to flourish. In 2000 Kirill Petrenko made his debut at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, in 2001 at the Vienna Staatsoper and the Dresden Semperoper, in 2003 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Opéra National de Paris, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the New York Metropolitan Opera and in 2005 at the Oper Frankfurt. In Lyon, in collaboration with Peter Stein, he conducted all three Pushkin-inspired operas by Tchaikovsky (Mazeppa, Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame) from 2006 until 2008, which were also performed as a cycle in early 2010.

After moving on from the Komische Oper Berlin Kirill Petrenko worked as a freelance conductor. During this period his projects included conducting a new production of Leoš Janáček's Jenůfa (Production: Barbara Frey) at the Bayerische Staatsoper in 2009. In Frankfurt he conducted Pfitzner's Palestrina (Production: Harry Kupfer) and Puccini's Tosca (Production: Andreas Kriegenburg). In 2011 he worked on two new productions of Tristan and Isolde at the Opéra National de Lyon and at the Ruhrtriennale.

To date, the most important orchestras Kirill Petrenko has been invited to conduct include the Berlin Philharmonic, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the BR Symphony Orchestra, the Bayerische Staatsorchester, the WDR Cologne Symphony Orchestra, the Hamburg Philharmonic and the NDR Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt Opern- und Museumsorchester, the Amsterdam Concertgebouworkest, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, the RAI National Symphony Orchestra in Turin and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Kirill Petrenko has also conducted concerts at the Bregenz and Salzburg Festivals. From 2013 to 2015 he swung his baton for the new production of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen during the Bayreuth Festival.

Since September 2013 Kirill Petrenko has been General Music Director at the Bayerische Staatsoper. He has held this position until the end of the 2019/20 season. Since 2013, he has taken to the rostrum for premieres of Die Frau ohne SchattenLa clemenza di TitoDie SoldatenLucia di Lammermoor, Lulu, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsenk District and Tannhäuser as well as the world premiere of Miroslav Srnka’s South Pole and a revival of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen among other works. In June 2015, Kirill Petrenko was named future Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, starting this position in autumn 2019.

In the current season at the Bayerische Staatsoper Kirill Petrenko led an new production of Verdi's Otello  and Strauss' Salome. Furthermore, Kirill Petrenko conducts revivals of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Fidelio, and Parsifal as well as two Academy Concerts with the Bayerische Staatsorchester.

read more

To List of Performances