François Girard’s production of Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera was much written about at the time of the HD broadcast in March 2013. My review of that broadcast is here.I don’t think my opinion has changed very much. It’s a powerful and intensely beautiful production and there are some wonderful performances, especially that of René Pape. I’m not going to rehash the previous review but there were a few things I noticed second time around. In Act 1, for instance, the gendering of the scene is mirrored in other ways to emphasize the polarity. The knights are in white, the women in black. The men are in orderly circles, the women are just a crowd. Also the final scene is almost overwhelmingly intense. Kaufmann sings quite beautifully with fine diction, gravitas and simply gorgeous high notes. Pape caps off a performance of great pathpos and humanity with the gentle gesture with which he closes Kundry’s eyes in death. It’s compelling stuff.
So, how does it translate to Blu-ray? Well, as previously noted, the video direction is about as good as it gets. One implication of that is that there’s a lot to be seen in some shots and I was very glad I was watching it on Blu-ray, not DVD. The sound seems better balanced than I remember from the cinema. Both surround and stereo tracks are solid, detailed and natural sounding. The usual MetHD extras are included but they are, except for very short intros to each act from Eric Owens, packaged separately so that the piece flows more naturally. Good decision. The booklet contains a detailed track listing, an essay and a synopsis. There are English, French, German, Italian and Spanish subtitles.