Wagner wings his way to the Eastgate

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WAGNER’S opera Parsifal beams into Peebles’ Eastgate Theatre on Wednesday, December 18, live from London’s Covent Garden.

The Royal Ballet’s production of Wagner’s hugely profound meditation on guilt, death and possible redemption is directed by Stephen Langridge, designed by Alison Chitty and conducted by Antonio Pappano.

The Eastgate said: “The show brings together an extraordinary cast of Wagnerian singers: Heldentenor Simon O’Neill, sings Parsifal; the magnificent bass René Pape is Gurnemanz, Gerald Finley is Amfortas, Willard White sings the sorcerer Klingsor, and Angela Denoke sings Kundry.”

Parsifal, Wagner’s final opera, was first staged at Bayreuth in 1882. For many years, at the insistence of Wagner and then his widow Cosima, performances outside the Bayreuth Festival were banned. This embargo was lifted almost 100 years ago in January 1914; by August of the same year Parsifal had been performed at more than 50 opera houses throughout Europe.

Wagner loosely based the opera on scenes from Wolfram von Eschenbach’s medieval romance Parzifal. The score contrasts the sacred with the sensual, from the stark magnificence of the music for the procession to the Grail Hall in Act I, to the richly orchestrated scene in which Kundry attempts to seduce Parsifal in Act II.

There are sections of almost unearthly beauty, such as the Act I Prologue, the Good Friday music in Act III, and the closing scene of the opera, in which Parsifal reveals the Grail to the knights.

The performance starts at 4.45pm. Tickets cost £17 (schoolchildren £10) and you can reserve meals for the first interval.