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Sage Gateshead



Opera North: Parsifal

Richard Wagner | Concert Staging

Opera North: Parsifal


A prophecy to save them all

Following on from the success of the Ring cycle, for his final operatic breath Wagner turned to the legend of the Holy Grail to create a masterpiece: Parsifal.  

Amfortas, ruler of the Kingdom of the Grail, suffers an incurable wound after losing the Holy Spear to evil sorcerer Klingsor. When a prophecy reveals that only a naïve young man who has learnt compassion will be able to heal Amfortas, Parsifal must embark on a quest to save the community of the Grail.

A rare opportunity to experience the immense universe of Wagner’s crowning work in all its glory, this dramatic concert staging brings to the fore a resplendent 90-piece orchestra and a stellar international cast under the skilful baton of Richard Farnes. From the miraculous 15-minute orchestral Prelude, to the celebrated Good Friday Music, Wagner’s final opera will transport you to another world.

Please note, this performance is a concert staging version of the Leeds Grand Theatre production. The Leeds Grand Theatre production includes additional theatrical costume and lighting.

ℹ️ Useful Information

Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Running time
Approximately 5 hours 30 minutes (including two intervals)

Act1: 4pm (1h40m)
4.06pm First Latecomer Point
4.40pm: Second Latecomer Point
Interval: 5.40pm (40mins)
Act 2: 6.20pm (1h10m)
Interval: 7.30pm (25 mins)
Act 3: 7.55pm (1h15m)
Finish: 9.10pm
Timings are subject to change

Sung in German with English titles

Audio Description

Audio description will be available for every performance. This will describe visual movement on the stage, and read the surtitles. Please contact the Box Office to find out more and book a headset/receiver


  • 18-30 ‘Bar 5’ Scheme – Tickets £5 plus a free beer/soft drink. Available on the day only. Limited availability.
  • 17 & Under – Tickets £5. Available on the day only. Limited availability.
  • Registered Unemployed (Jobseekers Allowance) – Tickets £5. Available on the day only. Limited availability.

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Act I

A forest near the home of the Grail 

Gurnemanz, the eldest Knight of the Grail, wakes his young squires for prayer. Amfortas, the King of the Grail Knights stumbles in, he has been injured by his own Holy Spear… 

A wild woman named Kundry announces she has the cure to his non-healing injury – a vial of balsam. They do not trust her as they believe her to be a witch, but they take the potion. 

Amfortas was given guardianship of the Spear, but had it taken from him by a woman sent by the sorceror Klingsor. Klingsor took the Spear and stabbed him. 

A young man is captured for shooting a swan with a bow and arrow in this holy land. Kundry reveals to the Knights that the man’s mother has forbidden him to use a sword, fearing he would meet the same fate as his father – the knight Gamuret, who was killed in battle. 

Amfortas is wracked with shame and guilt as he lost the Spear due to his own lust. Amfortas reveals the Grail as the Knights settle down to feast. The young man is transfixed by the Grail and cannot look away.

Act II

Klingsor’s magic castle 

Klingsor summons Kundry, his slave. She is now transformed into the form of the alluring woman, as she once seduced Amfortas. Klingsor asks Kundry to seek out the young man Parsifal and seduce him. 

The young man finds himself in a wondrous garden, surrounded by beautiful and seductive flower maidens. The maidens fight for his devotion. A voice breaks him from his trance, ‘Parsifal’ his mother calls. He wakes to find himself in the company of Kundry. 

Kundry taunts Parsifal, revealing parts of his terrible history. Kundry kisses Parsifal and he recoils in pain, the wounded King’s pain burns his side – he cries Amfortas’ name. 

Furious her plan failed, Kundry begs for Parsifal’s compassion and forgiveness. She has been cursed for centuries, unable to rest. Parsifal is unrelenting. 

In a fury, Kundry curses Parsifal and calls on her master to help her. Klingsor throws the spear at Parsifal, but it stops mid-air above his head. He takes the Spear and gestures the sign of the cross; the castle and enchanted garden crumble to the ground.


Many years later, in the domain of the Grail 

Gurnemanz spots a figure approaching from the forest, clad in armour and armed. The figure removes his helmet and reveals himself as Parsifal. 

He tells Gurnemanz of his long journey back to the Grail. The curse Kundry put on him meant that he could never find the right path back, until now. He has been searching for years. 

Kundry is discovered in the forest, Parsifal baptises her and absolves her of her sins. 

Amfortas is despairing at the death of his father Titurel, he wishes to join him in the afterlife. He vows never to reveal the Grail again. He commands the knights to kill him and end his suffering. 

Parsifal enters at this moment, stepping forward with the only thing that can heal him – the Holy Spear. He touches the Spear to Amfortas’ side. Parsifal commands the unveiling of the Grail. All present kneel before him, Kundry, now released from her curse, sinks lifeless to the ground.

Cast & creative

Toby Spence

Toby Spence | PARSIFAL

Katarina Karnéus | KUNDRY

Katarina Karnéus | KUNDRY

Robert Hayward | AMFORTAS

Robert Hayward | AMFORTAS

Derek Welton KLINGSOR

Derek Welton | KLINGSOR

Brindley Sherratt | GURNEMANZ

Brindley Sherratt | GURNEMANZ

Stephen Richardson TITUREL

Stephen Richardson | TITUREL

Samantha Clarke FLOWERMAIDEN

Samantha Clarke | FLOWERMAIDEN


Elin Pritchard | FLOWERMAIDEN

Richard Farnes | CONDUCTOR

Richard Farnes | CONDUCTOR

Sam Brown

Sam Brown | DIRECTOR

Add a Hamper for 2 people

Why not add a Hamper to enjoy during the 40 minute interval? There are two options to chose from…

Hamper for 2 people – £25
Sandwiches, crisps, scones with clotted cream & jam, fresh fruit, served with flavoured sparkling water

Prosecco Hamper for 2 people – £35
Sandwiches, crisps, scones with clotted cream & jam, fresh fruit with Prosecco

Hampers can be added to your ticket order, or if you already have a ticket. Booking closes Wednesday 15 June at 3pm.