Tuesday, January 25, 2011

La Monnaie Parsifal approaching fast

Very likely the most important Wagnerian event this year -- Parsifal, directed by Romeo Castellucci and conducted by Hartmut Haenchen-- should open in two days, Thursday January 27, at La Monnaie/De Munt in Brussels.

Romeo is one of the artistically most fascinating theater directors today but he is a newbie when it comes to opera producing. Maestro Haenchen, on the other hand, is one of the very best Wagnerian conductors of our time, who in this configuration is also in charge of protecting the musical awesomeness of this opera. The antagonism is then easily generated which in fact --when properly tuned-- can be a booster to all creative spirits involved in this production.

We learned from three different sources that the creative process of mounting this production was indeed difficult. So difficult that the house's intendant --and infinitely cool-- Peter de Caluwe had to step in to remedy a few delicate situations, and to re-establish a good balance between theatrical and musical sides of the production.

Ah, passionate people exercising their passion... This Parsifal looks more and more promising to me [watch the birth of this production through a series of videos on La Monnaie website .]

I'll see the second show (next Sunday), and yes  I can't wait!

Below are some rehearsal photos [© ???], in addition to a text by Romeo Castellucci, written before the rehearsal process had begun. 

Romeo Castellucci

Hartmut Haenchen

 Eco-friendly Amfortas: Thomas Johannes Mayer

Beardless & unrecognizable Parsifal: Andrew Richards

Still wearing the apron from Die Meistersinger at the Komische?! : Tómas Tómasson


...and cool

Anna Larsson

... I tried to forget everything I knew. I put myself in the position of someone who does not know anything. So I closed my eyes and listened once, twenty times and then one hundred times to this music, this thing. Again and again. I slept. I ran through the whole of Parsifal in a state of amnesia, from the beginning to the end. A title like this requires a vision which comes from the deep, which tries to encompass everything, not an illustrative strategy. In a way I can say that in order to be faithful we must first forget Parsifal, lose it, and then finally rediscover it. Like new.
Through this repeated listening I managed to expand the material, to multiply the facets of the prism, to reach the maximum tension of the skin, to create an interplay between the parts of the story. Music, like the flow of a river, carried within me the universal and anonymous images of the mind. I saw things. I saw the immense face of the Philosopher who, more than others, considered Music as an essential part of life and who was able to love/hate the Musician better than others. I saw the dance of an albino snake, like the metaphor of His (Wagner's) music, and how his poison could become a medicine. I saw a great wood, a forest which was melting like ice on the ground. I saw men hiding in the wood, not because they are hunters, but because they tremble with fear. I saw two human beings who first sought each other and then pushed each other away and then found each other once more because they really need one another: Kundry and Parsifal. I saw Parsifal's lust for life change into the ontological fear of being - of being born, and the error in all this. The error which becomes a digression.
I saw a clean white room, and an evil magician who conducted the music of emotions; I saw the terrible name of the poisons which kill men. I saw some women tied up and suspended in the air like objects of purely spiritual contemplation.
I saw the female sex of the mother shine like the icy and immobile centre of the drama.
I saw a city overthrown. And then he still walked and the path was his prayer.
I saw city pigeons, but not one white dove. I did not see a chalice, or a sacred spear, or false Middle Ages. I did not see the blood of a race. I did not see a new man. I did not see a people, nor a community, but an anonymous crowd that walked and in the midst of it there I was too. I did not manage to see a swastika, even in the depths, but nor did I see a Christian cross, for that matter.
I saw a lot of pain and in the end - only in the end - I saw the Open appear.
This Parsifal begins in the mountainous forest and ends in the city. The city has always been the tragic setting for human experience. It represents the community at its highest level and represents the ugliness of community life which reaches the individual right at the heart of the crowd, when he notices that he cannot truly communicate: this is a solitude which is more dense and profound, which hits when you are at the heart of a society which you belong to, but from which you feel deeply and definitively separate. The tragic look at the ugliness of the city can transform horror into the revelation of a very new beauty. Tragedy has always fed upon the ugliness of life.
Parsifal is not a category. It is not a thing. It is not a name. It seems to be a verb, a process of evolution, a function that is integral to the universe. His steps are blows with no ego. He represents the anonymous power of man; a man, him, he who has no name, the pure fool.
Impure in what is pure, pure in what is impure.

1 comment: