Bayreuth finds a Parsifal in Malta

Bayreuth finds a Parsifal in Malta


norman lebrecht

July 25, 2021

Aiming to keep good news up front, Katharina Wagner has given details about the Parsifal she is planning for 2023.

The director Jay Scheib, an MIT professor with an interest in ‘augmented reality’, will require the audience to wear special-effects glasses that will augment the action on stage.

The title role will be sung by the Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja.

The Belarus soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk, presently recovring from Covid, will sing Kundry.


  • AngloGerman says:

    No sane Wagnerian will go to this – truly the Götterdämmerung.

  • RW2013 says:

    Maybe he should try out his first German role somewhere other than Bayreuth?

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Will their special effects glasses get in the way of their covid masks? We’ll be on the Omega variant by 2023 with super social distancing so the 10 people in the audience will have plenty of space to augment the reality we will all exist in by then. Whether they want to is moot.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Any other singers who were better known in the Italian repertoire and shone in Bayreuth? I am not sure whether we could count Domingo, because he has been very versatile.

    I know primarily of Italian conductors who shone in Bayreuth, including Arturo Toscanini and Victor de Sabata.

    • Wimsey says:

      Maybe Beczała? Although he sings in many languages. De los Ángeles and Bumbry in 61/62. But it’s true there are more examples of French singers.

  • gareth says:

    Joseph Calleja as Parsifal is an intriguing prospect. I’m familiar with him in the Italian repertoire, and I think he has a beautiful voice. It’ll be interesting to see/hear how it adapts to this role.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    He certainly does. But probably not suitable for Parsifal – or any other Wagnerian tenor role (or those of Richard Strauss).

    • Petros Linardos says:

      He could be good for the Italian singer cameo in the Rosenkavalier. I suppose this only reinforces your argument.

  • Tristan says:

    Alagna was also announced fro Lohengrin and it doesn’t happen – even Denoke for Brunnhilde but happened neither – the world is going crazy and trust it me it won’t happen…..Bayreuth is so heavily run down and hardly worth any trip any more – most productions simply awful

    • Vammons says:

      Nothing good since Wolfgang passed on

    • Jimbo says:

      And bang goes directorships. Does this augmented reality purveyor even know stagecraft, how to inspire singers, collaborate with conductors, designers and technical staff.
      All my decades of learning from Vick, Cox, Besch, Copley, Poutney, Ponnelle … all who had stagecraft… replaced by smoke and mirror purveyors selling to ignorant and greedy management eager to be first to show off the emperor’s new clothes and f^ck with the heads of dedicated vocal musicians who’ve dedicated their lives to this special art form. We really are going to hell …

  • phf655 says:

    Sandor Konya, Hungarian, made his Bayreuth debut in 1958, singing Lohengrin. He also sang Walther. He was the great Lohengrin of his era, but we tend to forget now that most of his career was spent in the Italian repertoire.

    • Tiredfofitall says:

      Yes, but he was Sandor Konya.

      To be fair, after studies in Budapest, Konya spent the first decade of his professional career in German houses, singing both German and Italian roles. His Met debut was Lohengrin, followed by Erik, Walther von Stolzing, Bacchus, Max in Der Freischutz, and Parsifal.

      BIG difference.

      • Anonymous Bosch says:

        I heard him at the Met in the 1970s as Edgardo in “Lucia di Lammermoor”, Rodolfo in “La bohème”, and Steva in “Jenůfa” (in English).

        In his Met career he also sang Dick Johnson in “La fanciulla del West” (with Leontyne Price, Dorothy Kirsten, Eileen Farrell, and Renata Tebaldi), Calaf in “Turandot” (with Nilsson), Radamès in “Aida”, Pinkerton in “Madama Butterfly” (again with Price), Alfredo in “La traviata” (with Sutherland), Cavaradossi in “Tosca”, Don José in “Carmen”, Lionel in “Martha” (in English), Don Carlo, Riccardo in “Un ballo in maschera”, and Turridu in “Cavalleria rusticana” – all the while mixing in Lohengrin, Parsifal, etc.

        At Wiener Staatsoper he sang only Pinkerton, Calaf, and Cavaradossi.

        He sang as much Italian opera (plus “Carmen”, “Martha” and “Jenůfa”) as he did Wagner, Strauss, and Weber – perhaps even more.

      • Tom Phillips says:

        He was a truly splendid Lohengrin – unfortunately only recorded with an otherwise mediocre cast in a now mostly forgotten RCA set – and very impressive in all of the other roles you mention as well. Very underrated and should be much better known.

        • Don Ciccio says:

          You forget about the marvellous live Bayreuth recording under Matačić with the dream cast of Grümmer, Crass, Gorr, Blanc, and a young Wächter.

          • Anonymous Boush says:

            There’s also a stupendous 1958 Bayreuth “Lohengrin” under André Cluytens with Leonie Rysanek, Astrid Varnay, Ernest Blanc, Kieth Engen, and Waechter (ae – no Umlaut).

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    Wagner for AR and Kundry.
    a.k.a. The Maltese Parsifalcon

  • Simon O'Neill says:

    Now everyone’s a heldentenor…