Parsifal: English National Opera Guide 34 (English National Opera Guides)

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Press:Riverrun Pr Oneworld Classics; 1st Ed. edition (February 1, 1986)
Publication Date:1986-2
Author Name:Wagner, Richard


The English National Opera Guides were originally conceived in partnership with the English National Opera and edited by Nicholas John, the ENO's dramaturg, who died tragically in an accident in the Alps. 
Most of the guides are devoted to a single opera, which is described in detail—with many articles that cover its history and information about the composer and his times.
The complete libretto is included in both the original language and in a modern singing translation—except where the opera was written in English.
Each has a thematic guide to the most important musical themes in musical notation and each guide is lavishly illustrated.
They also contain a bibliography and a discography which is updated at each reprint.
The ENO guides are widely regarded as the best series of their kind and excellent value.

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation)

About the Author

Richard Wagner (1813­–1883) was a composer who drew inspiration from Christian and Nordic mythology, as well as the philosophy of Schopenhauer, to pioneer dramatically new forms of music. 
His operas include Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and the four parts of Der Ring des Nibelungen.


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Comment List (Total:6)

  •     This book is a full score of the opera, printed in Hungary. The paper and paperback binding are good quality, and the book lies open easily. There is, however, no index of acts or scenes, and all the stage directions and dialogue are in German with no translation. The price of $7.98 is a bargain.
  •     The information presented above contains some errors. This is not a score: it is an Opera Guide, one of a series published in association with the two principal London opera companies (Royal Opera and ENO). These books are intended to prepare audiences to evaluate and enjoy opera performances. Each book contains a complete libretto with a parallel translation into English (in this case, the singing translation by Andrew Porter).There are five articles in Opera Guide no.34, as follows:'A Very Human Epic' by Mike Ashman: a distinguished opera director, best known for his Wagner productions; these have included the WNO 'Ring' and 'Parsifal', the Norwegian Opera's 'Ring' and productions at Covent Garden. This essay provides an excellent introduction to Wagner's 'Parsifal'. It does however contain a few factual errors; in particular, Ashman is clearly out of his depth when he discusses Wagner's sources such as the 'Poetic Edda' (for the 'Ring') and Chretien de Troyes (for 'Parsifal').This Guide was completed in 1986, and therefore it is understandable that the controversy that blew up around 'Parsifal' in the mid-1980's does not receive an adequate treatment here. The criticisms of Hartmut Zelinsky and Robert Gutman are mentioned, briefly, in a footnote at the end of Ashman's article.'Recapitulation of a Lifetime' by Dieter Borchmeyer. I found this rather an eccentric take on 'Parsifal'. The author erroneously believes that the genesis of the work began in 1865; whereas Wagner recorded that the initial inspiration came in Marienbad in 1845 and the first sketch was written soon after Good Friday 1857. Borchmeyer also seems to be under the impression that Amfortas is meant to die at the end of 'Parsifal'; although this is a variant seen in many productions, it was not Wagner's idea. Etc.'Experiencing Music and Imagery in Parsifal' by Robin Holloway: composer and professor of music in the University of Cambridge. In this fascinating article, Holloway identifies a "sonorous image cluster" at the core of the work. When so many articles about Wagner are leitmotif-fixated, it is refreshing to read an analysis of a Wagner score in which it is seen as an organic whole in which harmonic and melodic elements are inseparable.'Parsifal: Words and Music' by Carolyn Abbate. An eccentric article (or is it an undergraduate essay?). The reader should refer to his score when Abbate does so, since she often misreads her score.'Discursions into the Dramaturgy of Parsifal' by Gerd Rienäcker. I have no idea what this purple prose might be about! Rienäcker tells us that, at the end of act 2, Parsifal 'sets off into the wilderness with no idea where he is going'. On the contrary, Parsifal knows *exactly* where he is going; he just does not know how to get there.There is also a useful 'Thematic Guide' by Lionel Friend, which contains 69 musical examples, some of which might be called 'leitmotiven'. He omits at least one of importance: Newman's 'Atonement'. Both the libretto and some of the articles refer to these musical examples by their numbers.On balance, I can recommend this book as an introduction to 'Parsifal'. Even though I would have preferred it without a couple of the essays.
  •     This is a good introduction to Wagner's last opera, and has not only the German libretto, but an excellent English translation (written to be sung) by Andrew Porter. One star got knocked off for the difficulty of using the (voluminous) set of musical samples in conjunction with the libretto, and for the low (I thought) quality of the illustration reproductions.
  •     For ISBN 963-8303-06-9, the title is correct. This is a facsimile reprint edition of the full score for Wagner's music drama Parsifal. The back page states, "This is an unabridged reprint of the first Schott edition (s.d.), the first print of the full score. The copy reproduced here is preserved in the Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum and Research Center, Budapest..." This book would be appropriate for anyone who wishes a copy of the full score for study or performance purposes; look elsewhere if you want plot summaries or interpretations or critical reviews because that is not the purpose of this work.
  •     The ENO Guides are well known for their superb translations and, in most cases, the articlea about the opera. This in an exception. Mike Ashman's article is nonsense and is best ignored. He goes out of his way to "prove" that PARSIFAL isn not a Christian opera bu citing that some aspects are cited in "other religions". Since when did Ashman become an expert on religion (or anything else for that matter aside from in his own mind)? Maybe he doesn't believe in Wagner's statements but his diatribe is unworthy of this series and is a wonder someone was stupid enough to include it. I own the series and this is one that I can urge buyers to avoid until some edition with intelligence prevails and omits Ashman's nonsense.
  •     A good general edition of the score, despite the lack of index or translations of German text.

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