Ballet by John Neumeier
after Chrétien de Troyes and Wolfram von Eschenbach

 

Music
 

John Adams
Richard Wagner
Arvo Pärt

Choreography
Staging
Costumes
Light Design
  John Neumeier
Set
  Peter Schmidt

1 intermission - 2 hours 45 min.

 

World Premiere
The Hamburg Ballet, Baden-Baden, November 24, 2006

Premiere in Hamburg
The Hamburg Ballet, December 10, 2006

 

Original Cast    
Parzival
Herzeloyde
Gahmuret
The Fisher King
Orgeluse
The Hermit
the Maiden-who-never-laughs
Ither, the Red Knight
 
Gornemans de Gorhaut
Gawain
Bohort
Lionel
  Edvin Revazov
Anna Polikarpova
Amilcar Moret Gonzalez
Carsten Jung
Laura Cazzaniga
Peter Dingle
Anna Laudere
Kiran West
(for Stefano Palmigiano)
Sébastien Thill
Arsen Megrabian
Dario Franconi
Yohan Stegli

 

On Tour
2006 Baden-Baden 2010 Paris

 

"Parzival – Episodes and Echo" deals with the myth of the young, naive knight, the "pure fool", who learns that his behavior, the action or lack of action, influence the social situation in an essential way. Because of his question, his questioning – through his com-passion is he able to heal. Inspired by original sources, Chrétien de Troyes and Wolfram von Eschenbach, the ballet creation deals with the mythic elements in the story of Parzival in relation to the present day.

 

Synopsis

Episodes

The Child Parzival
Parzival is a child of nature. He grew up in a forest with birds as his only companions. Herzeloyde raised her child far from the rest of the world, so that he would not experience aggression, battle and war – not become a knight and die like his father.

The "Angel" Knights
Strangers appear one day in the forest – incredibly beautiful beings such as Parzival has never seen before. Are they human? They look like angels – or God. He wants to be one of them.

The Mother – Farewell... no farewell... farewell
Parzival wants desperately to follow the knights. His mother cannot stop him. Her worst fears are realized: Parzival will become a knight like his father, like the glorious creatures he saw in the forest.

Death and Memory
Herzeloyde dies. Dying, she remembers and senses again the love of Parzival's father Gahmuret who died in battle before his son's birth. His field of honour is a graveyard.

The Journey begins: the First Battle
Parzival dashes into the world, inspired by dreams of heroism. He passes a knight and is fascinated by his brilliant red armour. He wants to have it and takes it, killing Ither, as he tears the armour from his body. Now he is the Red Knight.
The Court of King Arthur – a School for Knights
Is he a knight? The knights in the forest told him he must go to Arthur's court. He arrives. Gornemans de Gorhaut begins Parzival's 'Éducation courtoise' and gives him advice – better to keep silent than to disgrace oneself: "Don't ask questions."

Love and Prophecy
Struck by Parzival's bold innocence, the lovely, sad young lady who never laughs, laughs. She knows him perhaps better than he himself. She recognizes his quest, could prophesy his destiny. A fleeting moment of nearness, of love. But he must move on – his journey continues.

The Boat of the Fisher King – the Grail Ritual
Searching for adventure, Parzival is surprised by the appearance of a mysterious man in a boat. Is he a fisher, a priest, an outcast? As the wounded man approaches him, he sees his extreme pain and anguish. Suddenly, he is witness to a miraculous transformation as a number of men gather around this 'man of sorrows'. A ritual? Some kind of sacrifice? Parzival is confused. The Fisher King approaches him again. "Don't ask questions", he remembers and flees.

Seduced: Battle and Lashing out
Better to strike out, to fight. The knight's noble quest becomes constant battle and murder. A hero? He's a warrior – strong but helpless. Parzival fights against all, but mostly against himself. Don't think! Men fight. Men die. His field of honour becomes a graveyard.

A Scent of Women: wounded
A kind of surrender: women mourn, women wait, women comfort. Orgeluse teaches Parzival love. He discovers passion as well as the pain of passion. In a kiss he recognizes the cause of the Fisher King's pain.

Echo

His World, aimless, Godless
Fame, recognition, glory – Parzival has everything, but everything is meaningless. Disorientated, he has lost his goal. He has been witness to something unforgettable he cannot understand. He saw pain and anguish, but, unmoved, asked no question and ran away. He continues his journey, searching, fighting.

Three Drops of Blood in the Snow
Parzival gazes at three tiny drops of red blood in the snow. Transfixed, he sees in each of them the face of a woman. Three memories merge into one face. Who does he see? Who does he love?

The Hermit
Birds fly past – reminding him of his childhood – Parzival lies watching in the snow. A man in a simple monk's robe appears. He lives here in the wilderness, at one with nature. Kneeling, praying he experiences the joy of mystical ecstasy. Parzival feels drawn to him. His simplicity and humility suddenly awaken in him what had long been lost – he recognizes another side of himself.

Another World
Why didn't he feel sympathy for the man he met in the boat, for the Red Knight he murdered for his armour, for his own mother, who died when he abandoned her to conquer the world? Fighting was murder, victory is empty... Parzival's transformation – the power to heal – reality or utopia?

 

PARZIVAL – The Music

Episodes

John Adams
Harmonielehre – 1
The Child Parzival
The "Angel" Knights
The Mother – Farewell... no farewell... farewell

Richard Wagner
Parsifal – Vorspiel
Death and Memory

John Adams
Tromba Lontana
Short Ride in a Fast Machine

The Journey begins: the First Battle

John Adams
The Chairman Dances
The Court of King Arthur – a School for Knights

Arvo Pärt
For Alina
Love and Prophecy

John Adams
Harmonielehre – 2: The Anfortas Wound
The Boat of the Fisher King – the Grail Ritual

John Adams
El Dorado – Part 1: A Dream of Gold
Seduced: Battle and Lashing out
A Scent of Women: wounded

Echo

John Adams
Christian Zeal and Activity
His World, aimless, Godless

Arvo Pärt
For Alina
Three Drops of Blood in the Snow

John Adams
Harmonielehre – 3: Meister Eckhardt and Quakie
The Hermit

Richard Wagner
Parsifal – Vorspiel / Excerpt
John Adams
The Wound-Dresser
Another World

 

 

Review

The score Mr. Neumeier has fashioned is terrific. The prelude to Wagner's "Parsifal" is heard near the beginning, and its opening section has a reprise toward the end, in the "Echo" section. Arvo Pärt's haunting "Für Alina," for solo piano, is played twice. But the rest is all John Adams, a bountiful earbox full. It dovetails beautifully with the Wagner and Pärt, and serves the drama admirably.
The piece looked striking in Mr. Neumeier's staging, costumes and "lighting concept," with sets by Peter Schmidt. The choreography blends European-style "contemporary ballet" with more traditional vocabulary; the women wear actual toe shoes. Some of the duets and trios achieve a real intensity of feeling, and the mass movement is compelling. The cast — headed by Edvin Revazov, with his male-model good looks, as Parzifal; Anna Polikarpova, Laura Cazzaniga and Anna Laudere as the three main women in his life; Carsten Jung as the Fisher King; and Peter Dingle as a Hermit — all did Mr. Neumeier proud.
John Rockwell, The New York Times

 

Photos
Trailer

 
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