Live at the Met Season features Parsifal

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House continues the 2012-13 season of Live at the Met high definition opera broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera with Richard Wagner’s Parsifal, on Saturday at noon.

“This week’s offering is Wagner’s final masterpiece, Parsifal,” said Opera House Executive Director Rick Davis. “Reputed to be ‘undirectable,’ French Canadian Director Francois Girard makes blood the focal point of his postapocalyptic vision for this new Met production. With a dream cast, it has been very well received both critically and by audiences.”

Star tenor Jonas Kaufmann sings the title role in the Met’s new production, which is a debut for Director Girard. The extraordinary cast of Wagnerians assembled for the deeply meditative opera about sin, redemption, pain, and healing includes German bass Rene Pape as the wise knight Gurnemanz; Swedish soprano Katarina Dalayman as the wayward temptress Kundry; Swedish baritone Peter Mattei as the wounded king Amfortas; and Russian bass-baritone Evgeny Nikitin as the evil wizard Klingsor. Italian maestro Daniele Gatti conducts Wagner’s powerful and complex score. American bass-baritone Eric Owens hosts the transmission and conducts backstage interviews with the stars. (Running time: approximately 330 minutes, including two intermissions.)

The Associated Press calls the production “a Parsifal to treasure, elevated to the highest musical level by the solemnity and sweep of Daniele Gatti’s conducting and the dedication of a dream cast of singing actors.”

The New York Times similarly proclaimed, “the Met has assembled about the best Parsifal cast available today. … Kaufmann is in his glory … handsome and limber, he is a natural onstage. The baritonal colorings of his sound, his clarion top notes, the blend of virility and tenderness in his singing, his refined musicianship all these strengths come together in his distinctive Parsifal.”

The production is the longest this season, noted Davis. “It lasts five hours, 48 minutes. There are two 40-minute intermissions,” he added, “during which snacks and beverages will be available for purchase on the second floor of Village Hall.” No food or beverage is allowed inside the theatre.

Live at the Met opera broadcasts are made possible by Dr. James M. and Marcia Merrins, who funded the purchase of the satellite transmission and projection equipment used in the series. Additional support comes from Bob and Shirley Coon, Susan Dilks, Steve and Mary Rees and DFT Communications.

Tickets to Parsifal are $20 ($18 for Opera House and Met members, $15 for students) and are available in advance by calling or visiting the Box Office at 679-1891 Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. They also may be purchased online anytime at www.fredopera.org. The Opera House also is offering a new flexible opera subscription consisting of nine tickets that can be used however the patron wants – one at a time to nine different operas, all at once for nine people, or anything in between. The flexible opera subscription is $161.

Chautauqua County’s only performing arts center presenting its own programming year-round, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.fredopera.org.