PARSIFAL - RICHARD WAGNER
PARSIFAL - RICHARD WAGNER
VICTORIAN OPERA PRESENTS PARSIFAL STAGE DEDICATION FESTIVAL PLAY (BÜHNENWEIHFESTSPIEL) IN THREE ACTS Composer and Librettist Richard Wagner Parsifal Burkhard Fritz Gurnemanz Peter Rose Klingsor* Derek Welton Grail Knights Stephen Marsh, Timothy Reynolds Flower Maidens Kathryn Radcliffe, Rebecca Rashleigh, Emily Uhlrich, Georgia Wilkinson, Shakira Dugan, Juel Riggall Kundry Katarina Dalayman Amfortas James Roser Titurel Teddy Tahu Rhodes Squires Georgia Wilkinson, Shakira Dugan, Carlos E. Bárcenas, Paul Biencourt The Voice from Above Heather Fletcher Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO) 20, 22 and 24 FEBRUARY 2019 Palais Theatre, St Kilda Original premiere 26 July 1882, Bayreuth Festival Approximate timings: Act One 105 minutes / Dinner Break 90 minutes / Act Two 65 minutes / Interval 20 minutes / Act Three 75 minutes Finishing time: 10:25pm (weekdays) / 8:55pm (Sunday) Sung in German with English surtitles *The Richard Wagner Society Inc (Vic) is supporting the role of Klingsor In the rehearsal room: James Roser (Amfortas) Conductor Richard Mills AM Set Designer Richard Roberts Lighting Designer Matt Scott Assistant Director Brock Roberts Director Roger Hodgman Costume Designer Christina Smith Associate Conductor Daniel Carter Choreographer Elizabeth Hill-Cooper CAST PRESENTING PARTNER 3
PRODUCTION PRODUCTION TEAM Production Manager Eduard Inglés Deputy Production Manager Peter Darby Stage Manager Felicity Hollingbery Deputy Stage Manager Liam Murray Assistant Stage Manager Carli Griffin MUSIC STAFF Music and Chorus Preparation Richard Mills, Phoebe Briggs, Phillipa Safey CHORUS ORCHESTRA VIOLIN 1 Annabelle Traves Concertmaster Leanne McGowan Jasmine Baric Grace Wu Emily Beauchamp Sola Hughes Marcus Michelsen Darcy Dauth Samantha Chiu Eleanor Hill Liam Freisberg Lily McCann Julian Duthoit Rachel Kim VIOLIN 2 Phoebe Masel Principal Scarlett Gallery Runa Murase Clare Cooney Rebekah Hall Noam Yaffe Harry Egerton Jade Blanchard-Paterson Jordan Hall Robyn Blann Georgina Chan Molly Kennedy-Moore VIOLA Kate Worley Principal Hayasa Tanaka Ruby Shirres Isabella Fonti Phoebe Gilbert Ariel Postmus Murray Kearney Matthew Ryan Andrew Crothers Jonathan Bruhl CELLO Caleb Wong Principal Caleb Murray Hamish Jamieson Michael Gibson Mason Stanton Nick McManus Tess Hickey Joe Kelly DOUBLE BASS David Barlow Principal Monty Wain Bryn Keane Adrian Whitehall Holly Little Meg McWilliams FLUTE Cassie Slater Principal Megan Barbetti Kyla-Rae Ashworth OBOE Callum Hogan Principal Alexandra Allan Mikaela Sukkar COR ANGLAIS Kate Mostert Principal CLARINET Andrew Fong Principal Claudia Jelic Clare Fox BASS CLARINET Jarrad Linke Principal BASSOON Alison Wormell Principal Tasman Compton Nicholas Zengoski CONTRABASSOON Emma Morrison Principal HORN Timothy Allen-Ankins Principal Oscar Schmidt Sunga Lee Christian Fisalli Gemma Lawton TRUMPET Sophie Spencer Principal Alfred Carslake Laura Jones TROMBONE Jarrod Callaghan Principal Will Kinmont BASS TROMBONE Phillip Soalheira Principal TUBA Marcel Kocbek-Malepa Principal TIMPANI Thomas Robertson Principal Huon Bourne Blue PERCUSSION Jet Kye Chong Principal HARP Isla Biffin Principal Kate Moloney BANDA – TRUMPET Matthew Carter Darcy O’Malley BANDA – TROMBONE Jessica Gregory Gregory Bennett Harrison Steele-Holmes BANDA – BASS TROMBONE Kiran Samuel Soprano Kate Amos, Eleanor Blythman, Kirilie Blythman, Saffrey Brown*, Grace Gallur*, Alexandra Ioan, Eliza O’Connor*, Cristina Russo, Diana Simpson, Caitlin Toohey*, Nicole Wallace, Barbara Zavros Tenor Jonathon Bam, Paul Batey, Ryan Bentley*, Ernst Ens, Irving Dekterev, Michael Dimovski, Tom Harvey, Jack Jordan*, Douglas Kelly, Joshua Morton-Galea*, Timothy Reynolds, Nathan Wright* Mezzo Soprano Kerrie Bolton, Lisette Bolton*, Rebecca Crabtree, Frederica Cunningham, Heather Fletcher, Millie Leaver*, Kristen Leich, Lisha Ooi*, Ursula Paez, Belinda Paterson, Anna Plotka, Elizabeth Potter* Bass Darcy Carroll, Nicholas Christie*, Nick Cowall, James Emerson*, Jerzy Kozlowski, Nathan Lay, Oliver Mann, Aidan McGartland*, Alexander Owens*, Alex Pokryshevsky, Kiran Rajasingam, Raphael Wong *In association with the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne Victorian Opera Youth Chorus Ensemble (VOYCE) Prepared by Angus Grant William Clarke, Georgia Costa, Mia Costanzo, Maia Hanrahan, Olivia Harrison, Georgia Harrison, Oscar Harwood, Hayley Jobson, Tiernan Maclaren, Saskia Mascitti, Annabella Merakis, Zac Mistri, Chloe Taylor, Anushka Tiwari, Emilie Washington, Olivia White, Danielle Zuccala, Michael Zuccala ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Victorian Opera would like to thank Jim Atkins, Sounds Solo, Norwest, Show Works, Element Rigging, Quality Event Hire, Onsite Portables, Kent Specialised Storage, Classic Piano Carriers, BaacLight, Arts Centre Melbourne, MediaVision, Phaseshift Productions, Capricorn Rigging, Simons Boilers.
Surtitles Courtesy of Opera Australia 4 5
How can we understand suffering, desire, love and death? How can mankind live rightly and well in the face of these imponderable absolutes? These questions form the basis of the consummate musical dramaturgy of Parsifal through which Wagner embarks on an epic quest, both through the individual journeys of the fascinating characters and through parallel philosophical, spiritual and metaphysical mirrors; a quest which extends their predicament forward and backwards across the horizons of time, space and spectrum of human experience through the power of a unique musical and poetic language.
The music creates a synthesis from the great German traditions of sacred music and the unique resources of Wagner’s own complex and completely individual musical style.
The result of this is quite unlike anything else in opera; the piece moves and breathes with an immense heartbeat which encompasses the epic and universal nature of its subject matter. Its local details of musical invention have a prodigious energy, yet the forward motion of the music is never abandoned in an oasis of temporal indulgence. We are in the hands and heart of the great storyteller from the first note of the Prelude to the mystic afterglow of the Act Three finale.
These performances are at the core of Victorian Opera’s mission ‘to re-imagine the potential of opera, for everyone’. We have assembled a cast that would be admired and respected anywhere in the world, with notable Australians like Derek Welton and James Roser returning home in the company of great international stars. But this star power is being shared by our local artists: our Flower Maidens, Knights and Squires as well as by our chorus and the young singers from the Victorian Opera Youth Chorus Ensemble (VOYCE). Completing our outreach to developing musicians is our wonderful partnership with the Australian Youth Orchestra, our star orchestra of young musical Olympians who will encounter the uncompromising genius of Wagner WELCOME Wagner’s final opera is one of our culture’s greatest treasures.
It is so much more than just a great opera: it takes the artform into the realms of philosophy and mystic visions, as well as being a profound exploration of the great questions at the core of our human experience.
at the beginning of their lives – an encounter which they will never forget, and a challenge which they will rise to with their usual spirit. This is a matrix where tradition is made anew, where youth meets experience, where the transforming riches of cultural heritage are manifested with unique energy of our company. It is with great pride that I welcome you to these performances. RICHARD MILLS Artistic Director, Victorian Opera In the rehearsal room: Richard Mills (Conductor) and Roger Hodgman (Director) 6 7
DIRECTOR’S NOTE When I first met with Richard Roberts, Christina Smith and Matt Scott (all valued long term collaborators) to discuss the design, we were faced with the inevitable question – what is it about? Many books have been written on the subject (with remarkably different interpretations) and although the central theme of redemption achieved through empathy seems clear, as Bryan Magee writes in his terrific Wagner and Philosophy ‘there is no way that anyone can explain to anyone in five minutes what Parsifal is about’.
We rejected the idea of a ‘conceptual’ production – setting the piece in some specific time or place with some implied interpretation. There have been numerous such versions including, for example, one set in the future with images of spaceships, one placed during the Holocaust or one with the Flower Maidens in hajibs. Some of these have been wonderful, but we felt as we were slowly discovering and coming to love this remarkable piece, we wanted the audience to have the same experience. We sought to achieve this by a very simple and dynamic space that puts the focus squarely on the performers, the music and the slowly revealed story.
In fact, the action of the opera really represents the last part of a story – the earlier parts of which are revealed through the evening.
We felt that Wagner’s elaborate descriptions of the location of the various scenes are impractical to achieve in a contemporary production and would take the focus away from the incredibly intense (almost slow motion) nature of the story telling and the divine music. The design does hint at some elements in the story – the already partly fractured world of the Grail community, its modest, devout asceticism and the contrasting, outlandish, almost inhuman world of Klingsor. And we agreed to embrace stillness. ROGER HODGMAN Director Parsifal presents fascinating challenges for directors and designers.
In the rehearsal room: Roger Hodgman (Director) 8
SYNOPSIS ACT ONE In the forest, Gurnemanz, a senior Grail knight, and two squires prepare for King Amfortas’s bath. Amfortas is in agony from a wound in his side that will not heal. A wild, dishevelled woman called Kundry rushes in with a balsam for Amfortas’s pain. The squires begin to torment her, but Gurnemanz defends Kundry’s loyalty to the knights. Gurnemanz tells of how Amfortas’s wound was inflicted by the sorcerer Klingsor using the Sacred Spear. The Spear and the Holy Grail were originally entrusted to Titurel, Amfortas’s father, who formed the brotherhood of knights to protect the relics.
Klingsor, a former knight rejected from the brotherhood despite having castrated himself to prove his chastity, created a garden of bliss to lure the knights into damnation. After Amfortas assumed the kingship, he tried to defeat Klingsor but was distracted by the lures of a beautiful woman, allowing Klingsor to seize the Spear. As Amfortas prayed for salvation a prophesy told him to await ‘an innocent fool, enlightened by compassion.’ Suddenly, a swan is shot out of the sky by the youth Parsifal, who is brought before Gurnemanz and rebuked for his recklessness. Parsifal says he was raised by his widowed mother in the woods but ran away to follow a group of knights.
Gurnemanz suspects that Parsifal is the innocent fool they have been waiting for. He invites Parsifal to join the knights for their feast, stating that if he is pure the Grail will give him food and drink. At the gathering, Titurel orders Amfortas to uncover the Grail so that his life might be prolonged another day. Amfortas hesitates, as doing so will reopen his wound, but he relents and unveils the Grail. Angered at the lack of reaction from Parsifal, Gurnemanz is convinced that Parsifal is simply a fool and throws him out of the hall. ACT TWO From his castle, Klingsor spots Parsifal approaching and summons Kundry to bring about the youth’s destruction.
She cries out for death and Klingsor tells her that only the one who resists her can set her free.
Parsifal enters Klingsor’s magic garden where a group of Flower Maidens throw themselves at him, inviting him to play with them. Parsifal hears his name, which he remembers his mother using in dream. He turns to find Kundry who has been transformed into a woman of beauty. She tells him of his mother’s death and offers him a mother’s blessing, pressing her lips to his. Suddenly understanding the significance of Amfortas’s wound, Parsifal attempts to escape. Kundry tries to seduce him again. She reveals that she is cursed to walk the earth eternally because she laughed at Christ during his crucifixion.
Parsifal rejects her a second time and Kundry calls for help. Klingsor appears with the Spear and hurls it at Parsifal, but the Spear stops, suspended above Parsifal’s head. Parsifal grabs the spear and makes the sign of the cross with it, causing the castle to collapse and the garden to vanish.
ACT THREE Years later, it is Good Friday morning. Gurnemanz is now a hermit and Kundry, a penitent woman. An unknown figure wearing black approaches. Gurnemanz berates him for being dressed in such a way on a holy day. He removes his helmet and they recognise him as the boy who killed the swan. Gurnemanz sees that Parsifal is carrying the Spear and rejoices that he is alive to see its return. Parsifal tells Gurnemanz about his wanderings and how he kept the Spear undefiled through many battles. Parsifal learns that the knights are in a pitiful state now that Amfortas refuses to unveil the Grail.
Without the Grail to prolong his life, Titurel has died. Moved by Parsifal’s remorse, Gurnemanz realises that he is the one for whom the Grail knights have been waiting. Kundry washes his feet and Gurnemanz anoints him as the new Grail king. As his first duty, Parsifal baptises Kundry.
Together they proceed to the Grail Hall. Knights enter carrying Titurel’s coffin. The knights demand that Amfortas unveil the Grail, but he resists and begs them to kill him. Parsifal steps forward and places the tip of the spear on Amfortas’s wound, miraculously curing him. The Grail glows brightly. Kundry sinks lifeless to the ground as Gurnemanz and Amfortas kneel in respect, and Parsifal offers the Grail’s blessing to the knights. 1 0 1 1
CHRISTINA SMITH Costume Designer Christina has worked extensively as a set and costume designer over the last 20 years, designing for companies including Victorian Opera, New Zealand Opera, Seattle Opera, State Opera of South Australia, Opera Queensland, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Playbox, Black Swan State Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre Company, The Production Company, Belvoir, Sydney Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, WA Ballet and Australian Ballet.
Recent productions for Victorian Opera include Voyage to the Moon, Banquet of Secrets, and The Flying Dutchman (set). Christina is also currently a Performance Design lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts. MATT SCOTT Lighting Designer Matt is one of Australia’s leading lighting designers with 23 years experience in the industry designing more than 200 productions for Theatre, Opera, Dance and Music Theatre. He returns to Victorian Opera having previously lit Banquet of Secrets, Voyage to the Moon, The Flying Dutchman, Nixon in China, Baroque Triple Bill, Turn of the Screw, Xerxes and Orphee et Eurydice for the Company.
Other more recent work includes The Lady in the Van, The Architect (MTC); The Dance of Death (Belvoir); A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (The Production Company) and The Pearlfishers (SOSA). DANIEL CARTER Associate Conductor Recently appointed Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, Daniel Carter has been Kapellmeister at Theater Freiburg since 2015. During this time his conducted repertoire includes The Tales of Hoffmann, Katja Kabanova, La Bohème, Angels in America (Eötvös), Love Life (also for Bern Opera), Eugene Onegin, Die Fledermaus, Pelleas and Melisande, Don Giovanni, Hulda (Franck),and numerous symphonic programs.
Daniel has also made his debuts at Cologne Opera (La Bohème), and with the Munich Chamber Orchestra and the Academy of the Bavarian Radio Orchestra. Simone Young’s assistant and repetiteur at Hamburg State Opera from 2013 - 2015, Daniel has also conducted for Victorian Opera, Opera Australia, the Sydney and Queensland Symphony Orchestras and the AYO.
BIOGRAPHIES RICHARD MILLS Conductor Richard is one of Australia’s most prolific and internationally recognised composers. He pursues a diverse career as a composer, conductor and artistic director, and has an extensive discography of orchestral works including his own compositions. He has held numerous prestigious posts, and received many scholarships, fellowships and awards including an AM in 1999. He is currently Artistic Director of Victorian Opera, and was Artistic Director of West Australian Opera 1997 – 2012, Director of the Australian Music Project for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra 2002 – 2008 and Musica Viva’s Composer of the Year in 2008.
This year Richard conducts Victorian Opera’s Parsifal, The Barber of Seville and Heroic Bel Canto.
ROGER HODGMAN Director Roger has directed well over a hundred plays, musicals and operas in Australia and internationally as well as many hours of television drama. He was Artistic Director of MTC for twelve years. He has won Green Room Awards for Best Director of a Play, Musical and Opera (for The Flying Dutchman). He has a Helpmann Award for Best Director (Music Theatre) and numerous nominations for both awards. Operas include Cenerentola and Rigoletto for Opera Queensland, Lakme, Rigoletto and Don Pasquale for Opera Australia and for Victorian Opera: Xerxes (also NZ Opera), Baroque Triple Bill, Nixon in China (Green Room Award for Best Producton), The Flying Dutchman and Banquet of Secrets.
RICHARD ROBERTS Set Designer Richard’s designs include: Cunning Little Vixen, Nixon in China, The Magic Flute, Baroque Triple Bill, The Marriage of Figaro; The Coronation Of Poppea, Don Giovanni (Victorian Opera); Rigoletto, Don Pasquale, The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus (Opera Australia); Rigoletto (New Zealand Opera); Ruddigore (Opera Queensland). Dance: Requiem, Molto Vivace, Raymonda (The Australian Ballet); La Sylphide (WA Ballet); La Fille mal gardée (WA Ballet/Queensland Ballet). Theatre: The Season (Sydney Festival); Fiddler on the Roof (TML); Death of a Salesman, Noises Off, Much Ado About Nothing (Queensland Theatre); Last Man Standing, Solomon and Marion, Next to Normal, The Gift (MTC); True West, Australia Day (STC); The Caucasian Chalk Circle, (Black Swan); The Sapphires (Belvoir).
BIOGRAPHIES 1 3 1 2
BURKHARD FRITZ Parsifal Hamburg born Heldentenor Burkhard Fritz has been a fest member of the Berlin State Opera and has worked as a freelance artist since 2010. His repertoire includes: Florestan (Fidelio), Bacchus (Ariadne auf Naxos), Kaiser (Die Frau ohne Schatten), Max (Der Freischütz), Lohengrin, Parsifal, Stolzing (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Paul (Die tote Stadt), Siegfried (Siegfried), Don José (Carmen), Faust (La damnation de Faust), Hoffmann (Les contes d’Hoffmann) Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Cavaradossi (Tosca), Alvaro (La Forza Del Destino).
Fritz has appeared at Salzburg and Bayreuth Festivals, Scala di Milano, Amsterdam, State Opera Munich, State Opera Vienna, La Monnaie in Brussels, Teatro Real in Madrid, Lyric Opera Chicago, Opera Leipzig, Frankfurt Opera, Semperoper Dresden, State Opera Hamburg. KATARINA DALAYMAN Kundry With a reputation for strong, dramatic interpretations married with impeccable musicianship, Swedish soprano Katarina Dalayman has sustained a long and prestigious international career in the dramatic repertoire.
Dalayman has performed a wide range of roles including Isolde (Tristan und Isolde), Marie (Wozzeck), Lisa (Queen of Spades), Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos), Katarina Ismailova (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) and the title role of Elektra and Salome. With a strong association to Wagner’s Brünnhilde, Dalayman has appeared in Ring cycles at The Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Wiener and Bayerische staatsopers, Teatro alla Scala, and Deutsche Oper Berlin. Kundry in Parsifal is an other celebrated role that she has interpreted in New York, Paris, Dresden and Stockholm.
PETER ROSE Gurnemanz Born in Canterbury UK, Peter Rose is a regular guest at the world’s greatest opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera New York; Covent Garden; La Scala Milan; Vienna; Paris; Rome; Barcelona; Berlin and the Salzburg and Bayreuth Festivals.
His enormous repertoire includes Daland, King Marke, Basilio, Banquo, Philip II, Boris, Prince Gremin, Leporello, Zaccaria, La Roche, Claggart and Falstaff. Engagements this season include Baron Ochs Der Rosenkavalier at Wiener Staatsoper and Dresden Semperoper, Osmin Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Gorjančikov From the House of the Dead for the Bayerische Staatsoper and Arkel Pelléas et Mélisande for Dutch National Opera.
JAMES ROSER Amfortas Baritone James Roser initially began a career as an environmental scientist, having completed a Bachelor of Advanced Science in Sydney, before commencing his musical studies. He has performed in operatic roles including Rigoletto, Beckmesser (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Gunther (Götterdämmerung), Wotan (Das Rheingold), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Don Giovanni, Il Conte (Le Nozze di Figaro), Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte), Escamillo (Carmen), Owen Wingrave, Peter (Hänsel und Gretel), Johann (Werther), Mr.
Gobineau (The Medium), Melchior (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Der Feenkönig and Harald (Die Feen), with the Wiener Staatsoper, Staatstheater Cottbus, Tiroler Festspiele Erl and Opera Australia.
DEREK WELTON Klingsor Hailed as a major Wagnerian voice of the future, bass- baritone Derek Welton has been a soloist at the Deutsche Oper Berlin since 2015, with roles including Klingsor, Wotan/Das Rheingold, Prus/Makropulos Case, Mr Flint/Billy Budd, Saint-Bris/Les Huguenots. Guest engagements include Pandolfe/ Cendrillon (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Reimann’s Lear (Salzburg Festival), Heerrufer/Lohengrin (Semperoper Dresden), Escamillo (Hamburg State Opera), Mozart’s Figaro (Glyndebourne). As Klingsor, Welton has also appeared at the Bayreuth Festival and will début shortly at the Bavarian State Opera.
Recent concert highlights include Martinů’s Epic of Gilgamesh (Czech Philharmonic), A Child of Our Time (Leipzig Gewandhaus), St Matthew Passion (Rotterdam Philharmonic), and Bruckner’s Mass in F minor (BBC Proms).
The Richard Wagner Society Inc (Vic) is supporting the role of Klingsor. TEDDY TAHU RHODES Titurel Teddy has performed in major houses throughout the USA and Europe including San Francisco, New York, Hamburg, Paris, Vienna, Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera companies. Roles include: Escamillo (Hamburg, Paris, Munich, Bilbao, Metropolitan Opera, OA), Don Giovanni (OA, WA Opera), Scarpia (WA Opera), Emille de bec/ South Pacific (OA) , King of Siam/The King and I (OA), Méphistophélès (OA, SOSA, WA Opera), Sweeney Todd (Victorian Opera/NZO), Melcthal/ William Tell, Lorenzo/ I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Victorian Opera).
Teddy has been awarded an ARIA, two Helpmann Awards, a Limelight Award, a Green Room Award plus a MO Award.
In 2018 Teddy released his CD, I’ll Walk Beside You with ABC Classics. BIOGRAPHIES 1 5 1 4
IN DEPTH Durch Mitleid wissend - ‘Enlightened through compassion’ was the motto theme of Parsifal almost from its conception. This Stage Dedication Festival Play, as Richard Wagner called it, is his most subtle and many-layered work and the product of a lifetime’s reading and reflection. Where to begin? Actually, there were two beginnings. The first occurred in 1845 when the composer was taking a rest cure at the spa at Marienbad in Bohemia and immersed himself in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s early thirteenth century romance Parzival (as the name was originally spelt).
The immediate result was a ‘Romantic Opera in Three Acts’ about Lohengrin, Parzival’s son. Wagner was unsure if, or how, he could use other aspects of Wolfram’s poem and, some years later, he briefly considered introducing the character Parzival into the third act of Tristan und Isolde.
The second beginning for Parsifal occurred on a spring day in 1857. The exiled Wagner and his first wife Minna had moved to the estate of Otto and Mathilde Wesendonck on the outskirts of Zürich. Wagner associated the tranquil scene of reawakened nature with the world’s ‘new beginning’ achieved through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross on Good Friday. His mind went back to Wolfram’s poem with its references to Good Friday, and the juxtaposition of these ideas provided the spark that ignited his imagination. In the earliest legends, the Grail was neither a chalice nor the cup of the Last Supper.
Those associations came later. In Chrétien de Troyes’s poem of about 1180, the Grail was a serving bowl; in Wolfram’s version it was a magic stone fallen from heaven. Even before the Grail was given its Christian gloss by poets like Robert de Boron in the twelfth century, it was described as possessing miraculous powers, including the ability to provide all kinds of food and drink and to extend the lives of those who gazed upon it. What we see in the Grail Temple in Act Two of Parsifal is not a service of Holy Communion but an adaptation of these medieval legends.
There were other important influences too. The philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer and the teachings and legends of Indian religions loomed large Wisdom Through Compassion In the rehearsal room: Derek Welton (Klingsor) and Katarina Dalayman (Kundry) 1 7
during the creation of Parsifal, as they did with Tristan und Isolde and much of Der Ring des Nibelungen. Schopenhauer described compassion as the source of morality, renunciation as the only authentic act of free will, and our world of phenomena as illusory. These ideas had much in common with the ancient religions of India which Schopenhauer admired and to which Wagner was drawn after the mid-1850s.
In May 1856 Wagner drafted a sketch for a music drama to be called Die Sieger (The Victors) which dealt with an event in the legendary life of the Buddha, one of whose titles is Jina (The Victor). His victory was over human passions. Die Sieger was never developed beyond a sketch but some of its ideas ended up in Parsifal: The torment of unsatisfiable desire (Amfortas’s wound that never heals), redemption flowing from compassion (the ‘innocent fool’s’ awakening to Amfortas’s plight), and the implications of withholding compassion (Kundry’s interminable reincarnations after she had laughed at the crucified Christ).
To these we can add the ephemeral ‘magic garden’ of an oriental Paradise, attempts to obstruct Parsifal’s path to enlightenment (the temptations of Klingsor’s Flower Maidens), and the need to show compassion towards all living creatures (the incident of the shooting of the swan). The blending of occidental and oriental legends and teachings is an extraordinary idea, but Wagner saw no conflict at all. He identified many common elements in Christian and Buddhist thought, and saw a role for art in revealing truths that may have become obscured by formalised religion.
These many strands endow Parsifal with dense layers of meaning and a symbolism that is distinct from that of Lohengrin. But its central theme, once identified, is straightforward: Human salvation is to be found not in the satisfaction of selfish desires but in compassion. The ‘innocent fool’ Parsifal is made wise by his willingness to share the sufferings of others and, in the process, he brings a new type of order to the community of the Grail. PETER BASSETT Writer and Speaker on Richard Wagner 1 8
Reimagining the potential of opera, for everyone. A national leader and state icon, Victorian Opera is one of the most celebrated opera companies in Australia.
Recognised for its unique voice and contribution to the country’s operatic landscape, Victorian Opera becomes an Australian Major Performing Arts Company from 2019. We are committed to presenting creative opera accessible to everyone, and evolving the art form in daring ways. Whether commissioning new operas or reimagining century-old works for new generations, we believe opera-making is a continuous process, and with each production we are excited by the opportunity to bring something entirely new.
Victorian Opera is at the forefront of creating opera in Australia. We premiere at least one new Australian work each year and have staged 22 new works since the company formed in 2005. From opera diehards to first-timers, over 30,000 people experience our work annually through live performances and streamed events. We employ hundreds of people across the creative industries, recruit some of the ﬁnest singers from Australia and around the world, and collaborate with Australia’s leading companies, venues and learning institutions.
We regularly tour Victoria with community, family and concert productions and, in 2017, began an ongoing commitment to staging opera in Tasmania.
The next generation of talent is developed from the ground up through the Victorian Opera Youth Chorus Ensemble (VOYCE) and our innovative Access All Areas: Livestream Program. Victorian Opera inspires eclectic audiences with an imaginative approach to opera, and we invite you to join us. Visit victorianopera.com.au to discover more about the company through podcasts, videos and blogs. @VictorianOpera #VictorianOpera ABOUT US © Photography: Charlie Kinross pp 2, 7, 9, 16, 20 In the rehearsal room: Burkhard Fritz (Parsifal) 2 1
FOUNDING MUSIC DIRECTOR Richard Gill AO VICTORIAN OPERA BOARD Chairman Genevieve Overell Roger Box, Vivienne Corcoran, Siobhan Lenihan, Selina Lightfoot, Stephen McIntyre, Grant Powell, Penny Stragalinos, Anna Pitt (Board Observer) EXECUTIVE Artistic Director Dr Richard Mills AM Executive Producer and Artistic Associate (Acting CEO) Elizabeth Hill-Cooper ARTISTIC, ENGAGEMENT & PRODUCTION Head of Music Phoebe Briggs Repetiteur Phillipa Safey Company Manager Luke Hales Assistant Company Manager Candice MacAllister Education Officer Ioanna Salmanidis Production Manager Eduard Inglés Technical and Operations Coordinator Peter Darby Production and Music Coordinator Carlos E.
Bárcenas VOYCE Director Angus Grant FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION Finance and HR Manager John Orr Finance Assistant Claire Voumard Office Administrator Silvana Vaxelaire MARKETING & TICKETING Marketing, Media and Sales Manager Henri Marron Marketing Content Producer Beata Bowes Media and Communications Executive Scott Whinfield CRM and Ticketing Executive Nichole O’Duffy DEVELOPMENT Development Manager Louise O’Loughlin Development Coordinator Rhylla Mitchell SEASON STAFF Head Mechanist Mark Bradford Rehearsal Head Mechanist and Props Adam Brunskill Head Electrician Harrison Cope Sound Technician John Warrington Costume Supervisor Isaac Lummis Head of Wigs and Makeup Linda Cowell Surtitle Operator Timothy Mallis Props Maker Tim Wells Mechanists Nathan Burmeister, Kelsey Henderson Dome Operators Evan Anderson, Stephanie Morel Gentleman’s Cutter and Tailor Susan Skinner Ladies Cutter Tristan Seebohm Cutter Alice Swing Costumiers Jo Foley, Madeleine Somers, Elizabeth Maisey, Melinda Brodie Wardrobe Buyer Debra Hallam Wardrobe Art Finishing Billy Heinemann Millinery Phillip Rhodes Dressers Juliet Bennie, Natalie Gillis, Justine Haselton, Amy Masterson Specialty Makeup Wade Tuck Wigs and Makeup Emily Griffiths, Simon Zanker OUR TEAM 2 2
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR’S CIRCLE ($10 000+) Rob & Caroline Clemente John & Diana Frew Jane Hemstritch Suzanne Kirkham Peter & Anne Laver Siobhan Lenihan Simone Lourey Hans & Petra Henkell Don & Angela Mercer Maureen Wheeler AO & Tony Wheeler AO Dr John & Elizabeth Wright-Smith PLATINUM PATRON ($5 000+) Beth Brown & Tom Bruce AM Alan Chuck & Wendy Hughes Chuck Peter & Jenny Hordern Kaye Marion Ruth & Tom O’Dea Grant Powell & Sally McCutchan Michael Rigg & Gerard Condon AM Marian & Ken Scarlett OAM Joy Selby Smith Greg Shalit & Miriam Faine Rosemary & Dr Alan Tait GOLD PATRONS ($2 500+) Joanna Baevski The Hon David Byrne Vivienne & Dr Richard Reed Earl of Wilton Bob Garlick John & Gaye Garlary Dr Jennifer George & Canon Matthew Williams Mary-Jane Gething & Joseph Sambrook Daniel Goodfellow & Matthew Burgess Murray Gordon & Lisa Norton Linda Herd Dr Garry Joslin & Prof.
Dimity Reed AM Ian Kennedy AM & Dr Sandra Hacker AO Richard Laslett & Colin Gunther Peter Lovell & Michael Jan Ian Merrylees Tomasz & Elzbeita Romanowski Ian Baker & Cheryl Saunders John & Elisabeth Schiller Craig D’Alton & Peter Sherlock Lynne Sherwood Lady Southey AC Penny Stragalinos Diana and Robert Wilson Secret Admirers (3) SILVER PATRONS ($1 000+) Beatrice & Richard Donkin Dr M Elizabeth Douglas Dr Helen M Ferguson Bill Fleming Brian Goddard Nance Grant AM MBE & Ian Harris Hartmut & Ruth Hofmann Dr Alastair Jackson AM Simon L Jackson & Brian Warburton David Joseph Graham McCallum & Mary Kehoe The Hon Rod Kemp & Daniele Kemp Alun & Patricia Kenwood Angela & Richard Kirsner John Landy AC & Lynne Landy Prof Kathy Laster Paul & Glenys Lejins Dr Anne Lierse Douglas & Rosemary Meagher Ann Miller Gillian Montgomery Professor Kerry Murphy Greg Noonan Anna Pang Jillian Pappas & George Pappas AO Jane Patrick & Robert Evans Keith Chivers & Ronald Peel THANK YOU Prof John Rickard Phillip & Sue Schudmak John & Thea Scott Dush Shan James Syme Andrea Tappe Prof Hugh Taylor AC & Dr Elizabeth Dax AM Chris & Helen Trueman Liz & Peter Turner David Valentine Ian Watts OAM & Rex Swanson Igor Zambelli & Jenny Lee Secret Admirers (6) BRONZE PATRONS ($500+) Judith Augustine Russell Waters & Marissa Barter-Waters Prof Richard Bearman Laurie Bebbington & Elizabeth O’Keeffe Kirsty A Bennett Nancy Bomford Box Family Stuart Brown Anthony Buzzard & Dr Pamela Craig Pam Caldwell Caroline Travers OAM & Richard Travers OAM Seonaid Alexander Prof Dennis Altman AM Jenny Anderson Lesley Bawden Ines & Dr Donald Behrend Philip Benjamin & Sandy Benjamin OAM Stephen & Maura Best Ms Shirley Breese Susan Brownrigg DrJennifer Coghlan-Bell & A/Prof Simon Bell Brian & Kaye Dempster Dennis Freeman Angela Kayser Irene Kearsey Jane Kunstler Jocelyn & Andrew McLeish Jill Page OAM & Roy Page Dr Fay Pearl Greg J Reinhardt Ralph & Ruth Renard Dr Nigel Simpson Michael Smith & Sonia Fuenteseca Neil Twist Caroline Vaillant The Hon Heidi Victoria Catherine Walter AM Ken & Merle Morris BEQUESTS Jenny Anderson G Bawden & L de Kievit Lesley Bawden Frank & Danielle Chamberlin Richard Laslett & Colin Gunther Jane Kunstler Tony Wildman & Robert Gibbs Secret Admirers (3) If you are interested in becoming a Victorian Opera Patron, or having a confidential discussion about leaving a gift to Victorian Opera in your Will, please contact Louise O’Loughlin, Development Manager on (03) 9001 6405 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Current at time of printing.
PATRONS 2 5 2 4
ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN YOUTH ORCHESTRA The Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO) has a reputation for being one of the world’s most prestigious and innovative training organisations for young musicians. AYO occupies a special place in the musical culture of Australia, where one generation of brilliant musicians inspires the next, where aspiring musicians get a taste of life as professional musicians, and where like-minded individuals from all over the country gather for intense periods to learn from each other, study and perform.
The AYO training pathway has been created to nurture the musical development of Australia’s finest young instrumentalists across metropolitan and regional Australia: from the emerging, gifted, school-aged student, to those on the verge of a professional career.
AYO presents tailored training and performance programs each year for aspiring musicians, composers, arts administrators and music journalists aged 12 to 30. Graduates of AYO’s training programs have the opportunity to take part in Momentum Ensemble, a project designed to provide outstanding young performers on the cusp of their professional career with access to performance and development opportunities that will enable them to launch a multi-faceted career. AYO has committed itself to improving the quality of music education in classrooms around Australia. To meet this need, the National Music Teacher Mentoring Program was launched in 2014 by distinguished music educator the late Richard Gill AO under the auspices of the AYO, and continues to support classroom teachers in building their skills and confidence in teaching music.
AYO’s flagship ensemble, the Australian Youth Orchestra, undertakes two seasons per year. Aged up to 25 years, orchestra members are selected through a highly competitive annual audition process and represent the country’s best young musical talent. Critically acclaimed appearances include performances of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman with Victorian Opera, Britten’s opera Peter Grimes with West Australian Opera at the Perth International Arts Festival, the award winning Beethoven cycle conducted by John Nelson at the Adelaide Festival Centre, and a concert performance of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde at the Queensland Music Festival.
The orchestra has also presented concert performances in prestigious concert halls in Australia and overseas, working alongside soloists of international acclaim including Joshua Bell, Hélène Grimaud, Ray Chen and William Barton; and performing under the baton of celebrated conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Simone Young and Christoph Eschenbach.
In July 2019, the Australian Youth Orchestra will embark on an international tour to Europe and China. Musicians will be joined by inspirational Polish conductor, Krzysztof Urbański and renowned performers Jan Lisiecki and Daniel Müller-Schott for an ambitious month of music making, culminating with a triumphant homecoming concert at the Sydney Opera House. 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the 1979 tour, when AYO became the first Australian orchestra to visit China. AYO has continued to establish itself as a cultural ambassador on the world stage since its first tour in 1970.
2 6 2 7
We acknowledge and thank our partners who make our work possible.
OUR PARTNERS 1165m2* OFFICE ACCOMMODATION AVAILABLE 2019 *Approx FOR LEASE 499 Ballarat Road Sunshine – Highly flexible floor plan – Ample car parking – Melbourne Fringe – Strategic location on major arterial road – Public transport within easy walking distance – 20 minutes from Melbourne Airport – 4.5 star NABERS energy rating For further information please contact: Conrad Green 0417 406 811 email@example.com 499Ballaratroad.com.au *Approx Established in 1980, Henkell Brothers manages a variety of commercial properties comprising of high profile office, retail and showroom spaces in Melbourne CBD, city fringes and surrounding suburbs.
We operate on the principles of sustainability, reliability and transparency and our clients value our experience, our competence and our personal care. 203 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy VIC 3065 | T. +61 3 9417 4144 | henkell.com.au Official Partner of Victorian Opera Government Partners Performance Partners Foundation Partner University Partner Awards Supply Partners Trusts and Foundations Official Partners Media Partners Major Partners 2 9
UPCOMING EVENTS 3 Talks by Richard Mills Fun and fact-filled explorations of opera Join Victorian Opera’s Artistic Director Richard Mills for three fascinating evenings exploring the heritage of the tenor voice, the orchestra in opera and the social history of opera. 1, 15 and 22 March 2019 | Victorian Opera, Hemstritch Studio Alice Through the Opera Glass A marvellous adventure for the whole family Peer into the magic looking glass and come on a fantastical journey through opera’s most memorable music with Alice and the White Rabbit. The perfect introduction to opera for ages 6+. 14 and 15 June 2019 | Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse A Little Night Music The most musical of musicals Musical theatre lovers rejoice - Sondheim is back! Nancye Hayes, Ali McGregor, Simon Gleeson and Samuel Dundas star in one of Sondheim’s most beloved and sophisticated musicals.
27 June – 6 July 2019 | Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse Heroic Bel Canto The best of Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini Celebrate the inimitable art of bel canto with superstars Jessica Pratt and Daniela Barcellona. Experience an evening of vocal prowess with famous arias, duets and ensembles. 14 July 2019 | Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall SUBSCRIPTIONS CLOSE ON 4 MARCH 2019. BOOK NOW TO UNLOCK YOUR FULL SUBSCRIBER BENEFITS AND SAVE UP TO 30%.
SEASON 2019 3 0
victorianopera.com.au Victorian Opera supports green printing initiatives. This brochure has been printed on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks by Printgraphics Printgreen under ISO 14001 Environmental Certification. SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS We’d love to know what you thought of Parsifal. Visit www.culturecounts.cc/s/parsifalopera to complete a short survey.