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Metropolitan Opera Broadcast.

François Girard's new production of Wagner's Parsifal, a coproduction with the Opéra National de Lyon and Canadian Opera Company, had its Met premiere on February 15, 2013, conducted by Daniele Gatti. Starring the world's leading tenor Jonas Kaufmann, Katarina Dalayman and René Pape in the leading roles, it opened to popular and critical acclaim.

The idea of a music drama based on the legend of Parsifal occurred to Richard Wagner as early as 1845, when he was working on Lohengrin, the score that launched his career as the leading German Opera composer of the nineteenth century. But Wagner did not complete Parsifal until 1882.

Wagner at first ordained that Parsifal be staged only in Bayreuth, at his own theatre. The music drama was introduced there on July 26, 1882 - six months before the composer's death. Against the wishes of Wagner's heirs, Heinrich Conried presented the US stage premiere of the work during his first season as general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, in 1903. Protests from Wagner's widow, Cosima, brought the issue to court. Ultimately Conried won, and the Metropolitan's version was hailed by some critics as superior to Bayreuth's.

The Met's next new Parsifal production, in 1920, was directed by Richard Ordynski and designed by Josef Urban, whose decors were not replaced until 1956, when the company presented a new staging by Herbert Graf. The Met subsequently offered new Parsifal productions in 1970 (Nathaniel Merrill) and 1991 (Otto Schenk).

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