After Semyon Bychkov left Leningrad - now St. Petersburg, in the 1970s, a career began for him which led him to podiums with the world’s best orchestras in the most important opera houses in London, Paris, Vienna, Milan, Berlin, Chicago and New York. He was active as the chief conductor of the Ochestre de Paris (1989-1998), the primary guest conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of St. Petersburg (1990-1994) and the Maggio Musicale Florenz (1992-1998) as well as the chief conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchesters in Cologne (1997-2010) and the Sächsischen Staatsoper Dresden (1998-2003). At the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, he directed Elektra, Boris Godunow, Pique Dame, Lohengrin, Don Carlos, Tannhäuser and La Bohème. At the Metropolitan Opera New York, he directed Boris Godunow and Otello, and as a guest conductor at the Salzburger Festspielen , he conducted Der Rosenkavalier. At the Paris Opera, he conducted Un Ballo in Maschera, followed by Tristan und Isolde. At the Scala, he conducted Tosca and Elektra, followed by a new production of Don Carlo and concert performances of Das Rheingold and Tannhäuser. In 1999, he made his debut at the Vienna State Opera with Elektra and also directed Daphne, Lohengrin and Tristan und Isolde.
The award-winning Canadian baritone Gerald Finley has developed into one of the leading singers and performers of his generation. He began as a choir singer in Ottawa and studied in Cambridge. He has performed all the big Mozart Baritone roles on the most important stages worldwide: He has been heard, among others, as Don Giovanni in New York, London, Paris, Rome, Salzburg, Munich, Prague, Tel Aviv, Budapest and in Glyndebourne. The Counts in Le nozze di Figaro were interpreted by him in places among others like London, Salzburg, Paris, Amsterdam, and New York. His repertoire further includes Eugen Onegin, Jeletzki, Frank/Fritz (Tote Stadt), Golaud, Jago, Zurga, Hans Sachs, Jaufré Rudel in Kaija Saariahos L’amour de loin, Mr. Fox in Tobias Pickers Fantastic Mr. Fox, Nick Shadow, Owen Wingrave and Escamillo. His concert repertoire goes from Georg Friedrich Händel over Joseph Haydn, Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms until Benjamin Britten und contemporary composers. He gave his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2012 as Conte d’Almaviva and also sang Förster (Schlaues Füchslein).
Kwangchul Youn was born in Korea and studied at the Chong-Ju University as well as in Sofia and Berlin and was awarded several prizes. In 1988 he made his debut in Seoul, sang at the Korean State Opera in 1989/1990 and then came to Europe. From 1994 until 2004 he was member of the ensemble of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, to which he remains closely linked and where he has for example sung in Aida, La Bohème, Don Carlo, Don Giovanni, Elektra, Fidelio, Nozze di Figaro, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Parsifal, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde and Die Zauberflöte. He has received invitations to the Opera National de Paris and the Paris Theatre du Chatelet, to the RuhrTriennale, to the Dresdner Musikfestspielen, to Barcelona, Valencia, the Salzburger and Bayreuther Festspiele, to the Ravinia Festival, the Met. He is also an internationally successful concert singer. He made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2002 as Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and has sung Leporello, Ramfis, König Heinrich, Gurnemanz (Parsifal), Philippe II., Mephistopheles and Sarastro here.
Since his debuts in Glyndebourne, at the Opera North and at the English National Opera, CHRISTOPHER VENTRIS is amongst the leading tenors of his fach. In recent years, he focused his career on Wagner roles such as Parsifal, Siegmund, Lohengrin and Erik. He for example debuted very successfully at the Bayreuther Festspiele as Parsifal and enthralled the audience with that same role under the direction of Bernard Haitink at the Zurich Opera, under the direction of Christian Thielemann at the Wiener Staatsoper, with Kent Nagano at the Bayerische Staatsoper, with Lorin Maazel in Valencia, as well as at the Nederlandse Opera, the ROH Covent Garden, in Paris, in San Francisco, Seattle and Barcelona. Other important recent engagements include Erik in San Francisco, Max at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and at La Scala in Milan, Sergei (Lady Mabeth von Mzensk) in Geneva, Brussels, Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam and London. He debuted as Števa at the New York Met, as Tannhäuser at the Paris Opera. Furthermore, he sang the title role in Palestrina (Munich) and Dmitri in Boris Godunow (London). Apart from Parsifal, he also sang Siegmund and Jim Mahoney (Mahagonny) at the Wiener Staatsoper.
In 2011/2012 the German baritone made his successful role debuts as Kurwenal (Tristan und Isolde) at the Opera de Lyon, as Dr. Kolenaty (Sache Makropulos) at the Salzburger Festspiele and as Alberich (Siegfried und Gotterdämmerung) at the Oper Frankfurt, where he had already sung Amfortas (Parsifal) and Alberich (Das Rheingold) in 2010. Future plans include the debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Alberich in the Ring des Nibelungen in Frankfurt and with the RSB Berlin as well as projects at the Bastille in Paris, at the Liceu in Barcelona and the Gulbenkian in Lisbon, where he recently sang Orest (Elektra) and Creon (Medee). He regularly guests at international opera and concert stages, e.g. at the Staatsoper Berlin, the Semperoper Dresden, La Scala in Milan, the Teatro Regio Turin, the Wiener Volksoper, the Aalto Theater Essen as well as at the Ruhrtriennale. Also he sang in Dallas, Philadelphia and at the San Francisco Opera (Faninal in Rosenkavalier). As Wozzeck he for example guested at the Gran Teatro del Liceu Barcelona, at the Teatro Real in Madrid and at the Staatsoper Hamburg. As Musiklehrer (Ariadne auf Naxos) he made his debut at the Met in 2010 as well as at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2011.
The Swedish soprano Nina Stemme is one of the most sought-after interpreters of her field. After her debut as Cherubino in Italy, invitations to opera houses in Stockholm, Vienna, Dresden, Zurich, Naples, Barcelona, to the Metropolitan Opera, to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, to San Francisco, Zurich and the Festivals in Bayreuth, Luzern, Salzburg, Savonlinna, Glyndebourne and Bregenz followed, where she successfully sang the roles of her repertoire, such as Mimi, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Manon Lescaut, Tatjana, Suor Angelica, Euridice, Katerina (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), Contessa (Nozze di Figaro) Marguerite (Faust), Agathe, Marie (Wozzeck), Nyssia (König Kandaules), Jenufa, Rosalinde, Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier), Eva (Meistersinger), Elisabeth (Tannhäuser), Elsa (Lohengrin), Senta (Fliegender Holländer), Sieglinde (Walküre), Amelia (Un ballo in maschera), Leonora (Forza del destino), Aida, Isolde, Arabella, Brünnhilde (Ring), Salome.
Amfortas, King of the Grail, went to fight Klingsor, who had applied to join the Order of the Grail and and even castrated himself in order to comply with their rigorous code of chastity. However the knights of the Grail rejected him, and he is now bent on destroying them. Kundry, who once laughed at Jesus on the cross and has since wandered restlessly from age to age, seduced the approaching Amfortas at Klingsor´s behest. Klingsor then seized the holy spear that pierced Jesus on the cross, the two relics of the Holy Grail are this spear and the cup from which Jesus drank at the last supper. With the spear, Klingsor´s inflicted a painful wound on Amfortas that can only be healed by the spear. However, the knights of the Grail must win back the spear before this can come to pass. Only a pure fool “made wise through pity” can accomplish this.
Parsifal appears in the Grail´s domain, where only those called to serve the Grail are allowed. Gurnemanz, a comrade in arms of Titurel, the first King of the Grail, therefore takes the young man who has run away from his mother to Amfortas´castle. He believes he may have found the “pure fool” in him. Parsifal watches as the suffering Amfortas begs to be relieved of the duty of uncovering the Grail, which will give new life not only to the knights of the Grail, but also to Amfortas himself. Amfortas wants only to die. However, he is obliged to submit and uncover the Grail. Parsifal remains silent, thus exasperating Gurnemanz, who sends him away. Parsifal comes to Klingsor’s realm, where he withstands the seductive charms of the flower girls. Only Kundry, forced to act by Klingsor, is able to hold him. However, when she kisses him, he suddenly understands what happened to Amfortas and pushes her away: he has become wise through pity. When Klingsor hurls the holy spear at him, he seizes it, causing Klingsor’s realm to collapse. He promises Kundry salvation. After arduous years of wandering, on Good Friday Parsifal again finds the Grail’s domain, where he meets Gurnemanz. Kundry is also present and is baptized by Parsifal. In the temple of the Grail, Parsifal heals Amfortas’ wound and becomes the new King of the Grail.