Jonas Kaufmann will sing the title role in a new staging of Wagner's final opera, Parsifal,conducted by Daniele Gatti and directed by François Girard in his Met debut. The new production of Wagner's transcendent masterpiece will open February 15 with an extraordinary cast of Wagnerian stars, including Katarina Dalayman as the mysterious Kundry; Peter Mattei in his role debut as Amfortas, the wounded King of the Knights of the Holy Grail; René Pape as the wise knight Gurnemanz; Evgeny Nikitin as the evil Klingsor; and Rúni Brattaberg in his Met debut as Titurel, Amfortas's father. The production team for Girard's staging includes set designer Michael Levine, costume designer Thibault Vancraenenbroeck, lighting designer David Finn, video designer Peter Flaherty, choreographer Carolyn Choa, and dramaturg Serge Lamothe. The Saturday, March 2 matinee performance of Parsifal will be transmitted worldwide as part of the Met's Live in HD series, which is now seen in more than 1,900 movie theaters in 64 countries around the world.
French Canadian director François Girard makes his Met debut with this staging of Parsifal, a co-production of the Met, the Canadian Opera Company, and the Opéra National de Lyon, where it premiered in early 2012. Girard's other opera productions include Kaija Saariaho's Emilie at Lyon and the Netherlands Opera; a double bill of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms at the Edinburgh Festival and Canadian Opera Company; a double bill of Brecht and Weill's The Lindbergh Flight and The Seven Deadly Sins in Lyon and Edinburgh; and Wagner's Siegfried as part of a multi-director staging of Der Ring des Nibelungen at Canadian Opera Company. He has also written and directed four feature films: Cargo, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, Silk, and the Academy Award-winning historical drama The Red Violin.
Daniele Gatti made his Met debut in 1994 conducting Puccini's Madama Butterfly and returned in 2009 to lead Verdi's Aida.Gatti, the current Music Director of the Orchestre National de France, has led numerous important orchestras and opera companies around the world, serving as Music Director of Zurich Opera, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and Principal Guest Conductor at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. He conducted Parsifal at Bayreuth every year from 2008 to 2011, and last season at Zurich Opera and the Théâtre des Champs Elysées. In August 2012, he conducted a new production of Puccini's La Bohème at the Salzburg Festival.
In this production, Jonas Kaufmann sings Parsifal for the first time since his role debut in 2006 at Zurich Opera. It was at that time that he agreed to sing Parsifal at the Met this season. He made his Met debut in 2006 as Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata. In subsequent seasons, he has returned to star in a varied repertory, singing Tamino in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Cavaradossi in Puccini'sTosca, Don José in Bizet's Carmen, Siegmund in the 2011 new production premiere of Wagner's Die Walküre, and the title role in the 2011 new production premiere of Gounod's Faust. Last season, he became the first Met artist since Luciano Pavarotti to perform a solo recital on the Met stage, with a program of lieder and art songs. He sang the title role in Wagner's Lohengrin to open the current La Scala season; his other recent credits include Florestan in Beethoven's Fidelio at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées and Bavarian State Opera; and Don José, Rodolfo in La Bohème, and Bacchus in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at the Salzburg Festival.
Katarina Dalayman has starred in numerous Wagner performances at the Met, singing both Brangäne and Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, Sieglinde in Die Walküre, and Brünnhilde in Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung. Her non-Wagner Met roles have included the Duchess of Parma in the Met premiere of Busoni's Doktor Faust, Marie in Berg's Wozzeck, and Lisa in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades. Later this season, she will reprise her Brünnhilde in a complete Ring cycle at the Met and in Die Walküre at the Munich Festival.