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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Parsifal | Weak One

Sure enough, if I wait long enough something "good" happens to write about. But it's going to take a couple installments to get to.

Several days ago arrived Bologna for the remounting of the Roméo Castellucci-directed Parsifal. To say I was looking forward to it would be an understatement. If you haven't been following along, feel free to peruse my experience here at La Monnaie. How the piece escaped being named Opernwelt's Opera of the Year, I'll never know. The consolation was, it was used as that editions cover.

I was heavily invested in the piece, emotionally and musically. Having seen that I could no longer sustain the demands of a Bieito-like production, I was relieved to find Roméos's take more ideal to Wagner's music. The pacing of it is just simply better suited to a singer's need to breathe well.

But I was more then a little nervous going into the first day. My contract said "first day of rehearsal, December 3, 2013."

So there I was.

And I was one of two primary soloists who showed up on the first day's musical rehearsal with Maestro Abbado! When asked to begin singing at 10:30 am after having taken a 10hour train ride the afternoon and evening before "Amfortas! Die Wunde!" I kindly excused myself to actually warm up. I'd erroneously thought I'd have the 45 minutes before my Act One entrance to #1. Get some coffee, and #2. sing a little. My compatriot for the day, Anna Larsson put me at ease though and reminded me to "just breath." After a quick ten minute warm up in the nearest bathroom we began.

Here's a little taste of that musical rehearsal.

Seriously? I'm not stupid, you know. (Wow. I'd never realized how much he looks like Daniel Okulitch.)

Later in the day, staging began. And again, since we were a company of 2+…the two singers who had actually done the production before…it was a rather quick rehearsal. But before we began, we sat down together and talked. Since no explanation needed to be given to Anna and myself, rather then talking only about "Where we've been" we also got to talk about "Where we are going."

I feel apprehensive talking too much about the personal travails of the intervening 2 years, but I will honestly say its zenith was during the first run of this production. As I said to Roméo: "The Castellucci style as I perceive it is nearly vacant. I find the Buddhist idea of nothingness too troubling. I need to imbue my work with something. I have this feeling that my 'acting' was too abstract, too mechanical, and I want to--need to--find meaning in what I do, not open myself up to existential angst all over again. I can't remember any humanity in what we did!"

He kind of balked. He actually thought I was kidding when I said I blamed my divorce on him. I wasn't. (But really, blaming is a silly waste of time. I was kidding…sorta.) I felt what was presented was the at the precipice of nothingness, and I felt personally responsible for leading people toward it, even if only dramatically. After attempting to give the audience and participants, those blessed "Parsifools" as they still call themselves today, a moment of exultant joy in "Nur Eine Waffe Taugt" the stage cleared. People drift away and Man is left alone with nothing. (Personally painful to watch is 3'45" in this trailer for the DVD. There have been too many tears then and since. But thank God for them.) Staring at that blackness there was nothing left to hold onto. I knew my whole life was about to change. I knew once the curtain came down, I'd have to begin to address the lacks in my own life.)

Yeah, I most definitely had given too much to the production. So silly and unhealthy to hold oneself in such serious and high regard. The Play might be a thing, but it ain't the only thing. And I had dropped too many retaining walls to find some meaning in this work that really only raises questions and provides no answers.

What was Roméo's response? It was the biggest surprise I've gotten in a long, long time…


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, that´s what I call a cliffhanger!
Have seen the Brussels performance on DVD and I can image
the impact it had on audience and
performers. And believe me:Theré´s a lot of humanity in it.
Even if you could analyse Castelluccis work intellectually for hours ( and it has been done!) his strength is the emotional and mental impact,the way that non-verbal art - like pictorial art or ballett - can affect you. And still, you get Wagner´s words and music. Beautiful! Best of luck - and be happy!