Bayreuth Festival ‘Parsifal’ Premiere


Heras-Casado is the first Spanish musical conductor to occupy the podium of the Wagnerian temple, apart from the three functions of Die Walküre that Plácido Domingo conducted in 2018.

Pablo Heras-Casado will open the Bayreuth Festival, 2023, next Tuesday, July 25 at 16.00h, with a new production of Parsifal, by Richard Wagner, an unprecedented event for the international Spanish prestige in the musical field.

A total of 7 performances will be offered with staging by Jay Scheib, who has designed an innovative production in augmented reality and virtual immersion in the Parsifal’s universe, which requires the use of 3D glasses by the audience.

A luxury cast will give voice to the complex characters of the opera, with the great tenor Andreas Schager in the Parsifal title role, who will act with Derek Welton (Amfortas), Tobias Kehrer (Titurel), Georg Zeppenfeld (Gurnemanz), Jordan Shanahan (Klingsor), and Elina Garanca and Ekaterina Gubanova alternating in the role of Kundry.

The Pablo Heras-Casado debut in the select Wagnerian temple, at the head of the Bayreuth Festival Choir and Orchestra, has an enormous significance, as it will open the Festival in its edition of 2023 and will premiere a new production of Parsifal, the ‘sacred festival’ that Wagner composed expressly for Bayreuth, and its mysterious, exalted and complex artistic testament, inexhaustible source of exegesis, interpretations and emotions since the score sounded for the first time, as a ritual ceremony without applause, on 26 July 1882.

Pablo Heras-Casado will be the first Spanish musical conductor to occupy the honorable podium of the Bayreuth Theater -with the exception of the performances of Die Walküre conducted by Plácido Domingo in 2018-, joining his name to an impressive list of great batutas, from the historical of Hermann Levi (who premiered the opera in 1882), Karl Muck, Arturo Toscanini, Richard Strauss, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Franz von Hoesslin, Clemens Krauss, Hans Knappertsbusch, Eugen Humjoc, Horst Stein, Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, James Levine, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Christoph Eschenbach, up to Christian Thielemann, Adam Fischer, Daniele Gatti, Philippe Jordan, Hartmut Haenchen and Semyon Bychkov, more recently.

With 28 years of prolific artistic career and an extensive repertoire ranging from Renaissance polyphony to the 21st century (including some thirty world premieres of contemporary composers), Pablo Heras-Casado conducted his first Wagnerian title, Der fliegende Holländer, in 2016, in the Teatro Real (Madrid), after having performed a large number of scores from the Central European musical tradition, from baroque and classicism to German romanticism, without which he could not have delved into Wagners universe. Later he played, also in the Madrid coliseum, the magna Wagnerian tetralogy, with a title per season –Das Rheingold (2018), Die Walküre (2020), Siegfried (2021) and Götterdämmerung (2022)-, conducting the last two, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, under the difficult restrictions imposed by the pandemic. His Wagnerian bond with the Teatro Real will continue in the next season, in which he will premiere, on April 24, a new production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, with staging by Laurent Pelly.

Before conducting Parsifal on the famous green hill, Heras-Casado has performed, with great success, the excellent score of Wagner, in concert version, in Extremadura, Milan and Baden-Baden.

Pablo Heras-Casado will face his debut in Bayreuth with a consolidated musical career, in which the opera occupies a very prominent place, from Claudio Monteverdi to Péter Eötvös or Mauricio Sotelo, through Gluck, Mozart, Donizetti, Verdi, Wagner, Músorgski, Falla, Ravel or Bizet. He has conducted more than 40 stage productions in major opera houses around the world, from the Teatro Real, La Scala in Milan, Staatsoper in Vienna, Staatsoper Unter den Linden and Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Metropolitan in New York and Mariinsky in Saint Petersburg, to the English National Opera, the Monnaie in Brussels, or the Operas Bordeaux, Frankfurt, Baden-Baden, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Luxembourg, Los Angeles or Toronto. But it was undoubtedly the Teatro Real, where he is the first guest director since 2015, that offered him the greatest challenges in operatic conduction, with the productions of Die Soldaten, by Bernd Alois Zimmermann, with Calixto Bieto, and the Wagnerian Tetralogy, with Robert Carsen. In recent years he has been closely associated with the Vienna Opera, where he conducted the new productions of Claudio Monteverdis three operas and where he has several future projects.