Not even Nietzsche regarded Wagner as the prophet of the future he may have wished to appear but instead as an interpreter and glorifier of the past. In keeping with this, the Wagner-overwrite “MONDPARSIFAL BETA 9–23 (VON EINEM, DER AUSZOG DEN „WAGNERIANERN DES GRAUENS“ DAS „GEILSTGRUSELN“ ZU ERZLEHREN…)” on the Festspielhaus stage, whose alpha version was premiered at the Wiener Festwochen in June, is not an act of imitation but a creative encounter between several artists. After his “Parsifal” production on the green hill at Bayreuth was denied him, the visual artist Jonathan Meese has joined forces with the composer Bernhard Lang to develop a new work that transposes Wagner’s myth to a revolutionary time in the distant future. Parsifal, Kundry, Klingsor and other leading figures from Wagner’s world of mythical characters find themselves on a lunar base that is also inhabited by Wagner himself, Fancy, Marlon Brando, Zardoz, the Wicker Man and Barbarella. An electronic eagle transporter hovers while the knights of the Holy Grail wait tirelessly for it to be revealed. But in the meantime something has changed fundamentally...
Bernhard Lang’s composition adheres closely to the libretto and structure of Wagner’s opera while simultaneously creating a new spectrum of sound and meaning that transcends the original work of festive consecration. Lang dissects some of the motifs from Wagner’s opera into the smallest details before reassembling them into a new whole, seeming to loop them into infinity or extending new worlds of sound. Jonathan Meese, whose personal mythological art universe is closely related to Wagner, has not only designed the stage and costumes, but also makes his debut as director of a grand opera that he will produce here on the Festspielhaus stage with Klangforum Wien and the Arnold Schoenberg Choir conducted by Simone Young. He provides a continuous commentary on the events via his own surtitle feed and will create the transformation scenes in Acts 1 and 3 showing Parsifal’s journey into the temple of the Holy Grail live during the performance.
The performances are framed by an exclusive installation for which Jonathan Meese has recast the foyers and other spaces inside the Festspielhaus as a future vision of his own green hill. Because: “Only art makes freedom the future!”