A prophecy to save them all 

Sam Brown’s thrilling theatrical staging, conducted by Richard Farnes, brings this opera to life on an impressive scale. With its ambitious 360° musical experience, from the miraculous 15-minute orchestral ‘Prelude’, to the celebrated ‘Good Friday Music’, Wagner’s final opera will transport you to another world.

Amfortas, ruler of the Kingdom of the Grail, suffers an incurable wound after losing the Holy Spear to evil sorcerer Klingsor. When a prophecy reveals that only a naïve young man who has learnt compassion will be able to heal Amfortas, Parsifal must embark on a quest to save the community of the Grail.

Over 150 performers, atmospheric sets, creative costumes, a stellar international cast, and the rare chance to enjoy the Orchestra of Opera North on the stage in all its glory. Leeds provides the ultimate Parsifal experience.

“Farnes’ shaping of the score is masterly. This is authentic Wagner ”
— The Telegraph (Ring cycle)

#ONParsifal

Supported by the Parsifal Circle.

Parsifal will be on tour across the country from 12 – 26 June 2022. Please note, Parsifal on tour is a concert staging version of the Leeds Grand Theatre production. The Leeds Grand Theatre production includes additional theatrical costume and lighting.

Price
From £15*
Venue
  • Leeds Grand Theatre

Read our COVID-19 guidance »

Tour
Dates for Parsifal on tour (concert staging)

Running time
Approximately 5 hours 11 minutes (including two intervals)

Language
Sung in German with English titles

Accessibility
All performances audio described

Save with…
Season Ticket Packages
Under 30s membership
New to opera discounts

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.

Timings

Act I 4.00pm 1 hour 41 minutes
Interval 5.41pm 40 minutes
Act II 6.21pm 1 hour 10 minutes
Interval 7.31pm 25 minutes
Act III 7.56pm 1 hour 15 minutes
End 9.11pm

Food and drink at Parsifal

If you are attending a performance of Parsifal at Leeds Grand Theatre, you may like to consider ordering food and drinks for the longer interval in advance.

We have teamed up with Taste Catering to offer a limited number of delicious and convenient deli boxes, which will be served in Opera North’s new restaurant adjacent to Leeds Grand Theatre.

Order now

There are also alternative dining options.

Access

Audio description will be available for every performance. This will describe visual movement on the stage, and read the surtitles. We would like to encourage anyone who finds it hard to read surtitles to try it.

Contact the Opera North Box Office to book a headset/receiver. You can also bring your own headphones to plug into a receiver pack if you prefer, they require a 3.5mm jack. 

There will be no touch tour. 

Story

By the Castle of the Holy Grail

Knights who guard the Holy Grail (the cup from which Christ drank at the Last Supper) prepare a bath for their King, Amfortas. Amfortas is sick – he suffers from an incurable wound. Kundry, a mysterious woman, appears with medicine to alleviate his pain. 

Old knight Gurnemanz tells of how this all came about: long ago, both the Grail and the Holy Spear (that pierced Jesus’ side on the cross) were entrusted to Titurel, Amfortas’ father, who assembled knights to guard these relics. Klingsor wished to join this brotherhood, but was rejected. In revenge, he built a fortress with a magic garden full of beautiful women to ensnare the knights. Amfortas tried to defeat Klingsor, but was himself seduced, whereupon Klingsor stole the Spear and stabbed Amfortas with it. The wound can only be healed by a ‘pure fool made wise by compassion’.

Speaking of whom… suddenly, a swan is shot down, and knights drag in a remorseful youth, whom Kundry identifies as ‘Parsifal’. Gurnemanz leads the boy back to the Grail Castle, wondering if he might be the one. 

Back in the Castle, Titurel urges his son to uncover the Grail, a ritual which produces nourishment for the knights. Amfortas is reluctant, as this causes his wound to reopen, but submits. At the end of the ceremony, Parsifal is baffled by what he has witnessed, and Gurnemanz drives him away in disappointment. 

Klingsor’s bewitched fortress

Klingsor summons Kundry and orders her to seduce the young fool, whom he recognises can heal Amfortas and save the Knights of the Grail. (Kundry is forced to lead a double life – she serves both the knights of the Grail and also Klingsor, because she is under his spell.)

Parsifal enters Klingsor’s enchanted garden, and flower maidens beg for his love. Kundry appears and tries to seduce Parsifal using memories of his mother, but as she kisses him, he suddenly feels Amfortas’ pain himself and realises what his purpose is: to save the Knights of the Grail. 

Resisted and rejected, Kundry curses Parsifal to wander hopelessly for years. In desperation, Klingsor hurls the Holy Spear at Parsifal, but it miraculously stops in mid-air. Parsifal catches it and makes the sign of the cross, causing Klingsor’s whole domain to crumble… 

Back by the Castle of the Holy Grail

It is many years later. Titurel has died, and the whole community of knights is on their last legs as Amfortas now refuses to uncover the Holy Grail – the ritual that sustains them all – because of the pain it causes him.

Just in time, a knight approaches – it is Parsifal, who has eventually made his way back. A remorseful Kundry washes Parsifal’s feet, and Gurnemanz proclaims him king. Parsifal baptizes Kundry. The tolling of bells signals Titurel’s funeral and the three make their way to the Castle.

In the Hall of the Grail, Amfortas begs the knights to kill him to end his suffering when Parsifal appears and touches his side, which finally heals the wound. Parsifal then uncovers the Grail, and becomes the new King. Kundry, also now redeemed and released from her curse, dies.

Go deeper

Meet our Parsifal

Meet our Parsifal

Toby Spence makes his role debut in our new production of Parsifal. Read his thoughts on Wagner’s remarkable final work and what it’s like playing the opera’s unlikely hero.

Parsifal: Five Musical Moments

Parsifal: Five Musical Moments

As such an epic opera, it can be hard to know where to start with the sublime music of Wagner’s Parsifal, so we’ve picked out five moments to listen out for…

What is a concert staging?

What is a concert staging?

Our production of Parsifal is billed as a ‘concert staging’. Discover what it’s like to experience opera in this new, dramatically intense way…

Cast & creative

Black and white headshot of Richard Farnes
Richard Farnes

CONDUCTOR

Sam Brown

DIRECTOR

Bengt Gomér

SET & LIGHTING DESIGNER

A bald white man looking into the camera.
Stephen Rodwell

COSTUME AND WIGS

Black and white headshot of Toby Spence
Toby Spence

PARSIFAL

Black and white headshot of Katarina Karneus
Katarina Karnéus

KUNDRY

Robert Hayward

AMFORTAS

Derek Welton

Klingsor

Black and white headshot of Brindley Sherratt
Brindley Sherratt

Gurnemanz

Stephen Richardson

Titurel

Ivan Sharpe
Ivan Sharpe

Grail Knight

Richard Mosley Evans
Richard Mosley-Evans

Grail Knight

Samantha Clarke
Samantha Clarke

Flowermaiden

Kathryn Stevens

Flowermaiden

Victoria Sharp

Flowermaiden

Elin Pritchard

Flowermaiden

Miranda Bevin

Flowermaiden

Helen Évora

Flowermaiden

Claire Pascoe

Esquire

Molly Barker

Esquire

Stuart Laing

Esquire

Campbell Russell

Esquire

Hazel Croft
Hazel Croft

Voice

Parsifal 
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