Victorian Opera kicks off its 2019 season with a new production of Parsifal, Wagner’s final opera and an undisputed masterpiece. Conducted by Richard Mills and directed by Roger Hodgman, it features the Australian Youth Orchestra and a starry bunch of Wagnerian specialists. Although this most opaque of works offers very few answers, Parsifalhas bewitched audiences since its premiere in 1882. In a characteristic move, Wagner eschewed the label ‘opera’ for the rather more grand ‘Bühnenweihfestspiel’, or ‘Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage‘, for his music drama about the Knights of the Holy Grail. Audiences have largely forgiven him this due to the unmistakable magnificence of the work, which captures the composer at the height of his powers. Its cast of characters are, like his most vivid creations, tortured, vulnerable and all too human, despite their supernatural status. Limelighttalks to German tenor Burkhard Fritz and Swedish mezzo-soprano Katarina Dalayman about playing Parsifal and Kundry respectively.

Burkhard Fritz on the holy fool

Parsifal, Victorian Opera Burkhard Fritz in rehearsal for  Parsifal. Photo © Charlie Kinross 

When did you first perform the role of Parsifal?

It was in 2004 in a medium opera house in Germany,...