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Opera

Parsifal has anxiety, rage, near-madness — unfortunately the Royal Opera's version doesn't

The ROH's musical account is inadequate and only one performer makes a deep impression. The others don't care about each other

14 December 2013

9:00 AM

14 December 2013

9:00 AM

Parsifal

Royal Opera House, in rep until 18 December

Debussy’s description of the music of Parsifal as being ‘lit up from behind’ is famous; less so is Wagner’s own remark to Cosima that in his last music drama he was trying to get ‘the effect of clouds merging and separating’. The scoring of the music, especially in the outer acts, is so extraordinary that even people who are repelled by the subject matter of Parsifal, such as Nietzsche, are still overwhelmed by its beauty, which uniquely combines sensuousness and spirituality.

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