“Parsifal” – a flight of the freed mind – newspaper “24 chasa”

“The Sofia National Opera made itself an international name with its deserving to be seen productions of important works by Richard Wagner, all the time as first performances for Bulgaria. At that was paid and is being paid big value to the significant observation of the statements about the work and Wagner’s instructions. To the West-European Wagner director’s theatre here is given a clear refusal. The tireless motive power behind this pioneer movement is the Director Acad. Plamen Kartaloff.” – these are the words of the critic Klaus Billand, published in the prestigious periodical DER NEUE MERKER, after the triumph of the premiere of “Parsifal” on the stage of the Sofia Opera.

“Parsifal” is the enlightenment and the liberation of the mind. Wagner called his last opera a stage-festival consecration play. On the way of spiritual self-perfection of each personality, the composer saw the revival of human kind. Suffering is an integral part of life itself, and the identification of one’s own pain with the pain of the others is an exceptional value, commensurable with the divine principle.

For Wagner the theatre has a function of a temple, of a sanctuary. The work of art is a materialization of the religious idea, and the meaning and the eternal symbol of theatre is the beauty of the feat and the reflection of the mystical secret of life.

The staging is looking for dynamics to keep awake the consciousness under the influence of the beautiful music. The work of the stage director Plamen Kartaloff rediscovers a new world very far from the aesthetics of everyday problems and reality. Driving power is the unearthly, the divine, the mysticism of the fantasy principle, connected with the legend, vested in the deep philosophical messages of the characters and their striving for the “final Nirvana”.

The searching of the universal meaning leads to metaphysical close-ups in the director’s and the artistic solution. Wagner’s drama is set far beyond time and place, it is realized far away from concreteness. This work is not only a staging, it is very close to the meaning of an experience, in which in a mystical way are being traced birth, life, death and rebirth. United are all these symbols from the different religions with the common meaning of the power of good and the need of the supreme predestination and mission. The overcoming of the evil and the faith in the salvation of the soul is that pure striving for becoming one with God. This becoming one is suggested by Wagner’s characters with the faith in the rebirth of the soul, but not for a second life, but rather for transition through the earthy into the miraculous.

“To believe with an absolute conviction is a “mere stupidity”, if we paraphrase the meaning of the opus, but exactly this is doing Plamen Kartaloff, Director of the Opera and stage director. In this case, as well as in others, he is immaculate in his intuition for the dramaturgy, with a clear reading to reach the audience, which doesn’t know Wagner, but also to overcome the complex philosophical depths of the creative work of the German composer.” – wrote Andrea Merli in OPERA MAGAZINE, MILAN.

The music visualizes and even materializes itself in the action with the means of the theatre, of the acting, of the set design like an original sound poetry. Its mystique and religious aspect are the basis of the philosophical experience. Claude Debussy defined “Parsifal” as the last work of one genius and declared: “This is one of the most wonderful sound monuments, erected ever for eternal glory of music”.

This perfectly developed concept owes its phenomenal success to the unanimity of the whole team and to the turning of “Parsifal” not only into a production of an opera theatre, but into a real cause. In newspaper KULTURA after the premiere, Prof. Boyanka Arnaudova wrote: “Parsifal” of our National Opera convinced us again that the high and influencing art is reached with hard, purposeful, elaborated in details work over text, scores, stage picture ... This is an achievement of a team of adherents, and not of gathered for the case, for several weeks, artists and producers. In the national ensemble theatre everything is rehearsed, understood, mastered and is performed without nervousness, surprises or breakdowns.

In it singers, chorus and orchestra make music (and act), confident in themselves, they unfold their abilities in full value, they transfer with inspiration Wagner’s Testament. This felt the audience – the music, the interpretation gained command of the hall, which, after 5 hours and a half, remained full and applauded enthusiastically. Because, as Wagner wrote, “In brother’s love is the bliss! Believe and hope!”

On 30 January and on 1 February the Sofia Opera has invited the star MARIA GULEGHINA, who will perform the role of Kundry. After her successful debut in the complex role on the stage of the Mariinsky Theatre, under the baton of Valery Gergiev, Guleghina has chosen namely the Sofia Opera, to give life to the character again. The soprano is impressed by the stage realization and expects her future appearance on our stage with great pleasure.

In the leading roles you will see some of the best soloists of our first opera theatre – KOSTADIN ANDREEV as Parsifal, ATANAS MLADENOV as Amfortas, PETAR BUCHKOV as Titurel, ANGEL HRISTOV as Gurnemanz and BISER GEORGIEV as Klingsor.

Conductor is Constantin Trinks, stage director of the production is Plamen Kartaloff, set designers are Numen+Ivana Jonke, and the costumes are by Stanka Vauda.

“Parsifal” is a new flight in the Cosmos, called Wagner. And here is the connection with Richard Wagner’s last opera. It reminds us that if people have a mission and inspiration, bestowed by the heavenly protection, they will have also the power of Parsifal for holy communion, initiation and salvation. And this is an ability to serve with pure soul”, told Plamen Kartaloff.


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