[NOTE: This entry has been updated (1) as of 5:35 PM Eastern on 16 Aug. See below.]
[NOTE: This entry has been edited as of 2:40 PM Eastern on 14 Aug to clarify certain points rhetorically made.]
Just finished watching the HD (720p) videos of the live transmission from the Bayreuther Festspiele of Stefan Herheim's Eurotrash (i.e., Konzept) staging of Parsifal and it's just about as we expected, generally speaking, although we must say the staging was unexpectedly beautiful and beautifully executed, never mind that it has nothing whatsoever to do with Wagner's Parsifal beyond its being a deconstruction of and commentary on Wagner's music-drama; a deconstruction and commentary that hijacks the music and text of Wagner's Parsifal to serve its own purposes resulting in what is effectively a new opera. What makes this Eurotrash staging remarkable is that it was, from the beginning (2008), lauded to the sky by audiences and critics alike, the latter presumably to avoid the risk of being looked upon as reactionary dinosaurs by pointing out its almost utter disregard of the concept of Wagner's music-drama — not a good thing for critics to be looked upon as — and the former, for who knows what reasons other than that Mr. Herheim's Konzept takes as its central idea the historical progress of Germany and the Bayreuther Festspiele itself from the last quarter of the 19th century forward, and makes Parsifal (the character) a stand-in for...that's right, you guessed it: Richard Wagner himself. A bit scandalous that last as one scene in Act I of this staging has Parsifal schtupping Herzeleide, his own mother (never mind that we know, or rather are expected to know, it's the shape-shifting Kundry). Seriously. We kid you not. But don't take our word for any of this. Judge for yourselves here (Act I), here (Act II), and here (Act III). And why do we interrupt our blogging hiatus to report this at this time? Because we don't know how long the the above linked HD videos will remain online. So for those interested, view them while the viewing is still good. That is all. As you were.
Update (5:35 PM Eastern on 16 Aug): If our eMail is any indicator, we seem to have given the impression we object to this Konzept staging simply because it's a Konzept staging. That's not the case at all. We object to this Konzept staging for two reasons: first, because it's a fraud insofar as it's billed and promoted as a staging of Wagner's Parsifal which it most decidedly is not, and second, because it was presented at the Bayreuther Festspiele which is the very last place on Earth almost any Konzept staging of a Wagner opera or music-drama should be permitted. Had this otherwise excellent staging been billed and promoted honestly as what it actually is — viz., Stefan Herheim's Parsifal which is a deconstruction of and commentary on the music-drama of the same name by Richard Wagner and using Wagner's music and text for its own purposes — and presented at any opera venue in the world other than at the Bayreuther Festspiele, we would have had no objection to it at all, and in fact would have had many good things to say about it. The above, just for the record.