Thursday, October 31, 2013

Must see: Parsifal by Romeo Castellucci and Hartmut Haenchen

In the sea of theatrical mediocrity that we are offered to see at the opera houses these days, some gems still get to shine through.
Tcherniakov hits the cord every time he stages a new opera (he managed to sculpt the life-loving story out of Les Carmélites, render Il Trovatore not-racist, return Onegin the Russain romanticism,...); Warlikowski manages to tickle our subconsciousness by his thrillingly complex (emotionally and intellectually) productions; Bieito with his razor-sharp theatrical language finds and conveys a deeper and emotionally or socially engaging content of any given opera to his public. There are a few others that probably match these standards but not to this extent or not as consistently at that level as the above mentioned guys...

Romeo Castellucci is the other kind of gem. He is not an opera producer. He is a hard core avant-garde of today's theater and his take on Parsifal was very peculiar, philosophical, intellectually stimulating, deeply human(izing) and also spectacular [despite its  somewhat unspectacular ending]. It was one of the very few opera productions that remains with your for a very-very long time after the show, haunting your brain and your heart. *

Now, good news is that you can order a copy of DVD of that sensational production of Parsifal that I was more than happy to be able to see at La Monnaie/De Munt in 2011, and then blogged about here.  DVD is never a substitute for the real show but it is the best approximation we might have. I saw the DVD last night and I absolutely loved it although I have trouble focusing at my work today ;)
[Did I say that Anna Larson was by far the best Kundry of all time?!]

Trailer below.

Note that in June/July 2014 La Monnaie will give a new production of Orphée et Eurydice staged by Romeo Castellucci and with an amazing Stéphanie d'Oustrac in the role of Orphée. Do plan your trip to Brussels.

*) This is to date the only opera production signed Romeo Castellucci. If you get to see his "Sul concetto di volto nel figlio di Dio", it is very engaging and deeply touching as well. Unfortunately, when it was given at Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, it was a trigger for the protests of ultra-conservatives who organized the demonstrations in front of the theater every night so that the police special forces had to ensure the minimal security conditions for the shows to happen. The protesters were mostly politically manipulated by those who did not want to understand a deeper meaning of the content of the story but preferred to see the imagery that they found outraging. And yet that was one of the best evenings at a theater I have ever experienced in my life...


  1. The production is being revived in Bologan in Januarywith Anna Larson. Can't wait.

  2. I agree about Anna! I'll try to do an interview from Bologna with her. As I'm back to blogging again, I invite you to follow along on December 8th, 2013, when rehearsals start again for … Romeo Round Two!

  3. OT : why is there no stream of La clemenza on La Monnaie web ? there should have been one since 1.November :(

  4. Thanks to Opera Cake's advice, I managed to see the Monnaie production, and in Madrid I've seen Castelucci's "Hey girl!" and "on the concept ..." Of course, Orphee is on my schedule. :-)

  5. Will be again in Bologna on saturday :-)

  6. The information you have given in the blog really marvelous and more interesting. carmen opera