Haenchen turns time into space on his triumphant search for Bayreuth's Grail
German conductor Hartmut Haenchen's widely reported journey to conducting the opening of the 2016 Bayreuth Festival, was just as grandly Wagnerian in proportions as the master's own Parsifal, which he will conduct six times until 28 August. This dramatic journey was followed by the world press in such global a scale as to mirror and even surpass the complex pilgrimage from Arabia to Monsalvat of Wagner's own Kundry.
Hartmut Haenchen has a long and documented history with Wagner and in particular Parsifal, stretching back to the time of the GDR when staged performances were banned and only concert performances allowed. He has conducted Parsifal over fifty times throughout the world.
Through this knowledge gained through a lifetime's worth of experience, Hartmut Haenchen's grail overflowed with the most nectarous of reviews:
Hartmut Haenchen drawing radiant sound and striking transparency from the festival orchestra, this was a sublime and provocative Parsifal.
Under gripping musical direction by Hartmut Haenchen...the conductor rallied the orchestra using his own score, creating a musical triumph.
...Not so Haenchen, whose conducting is one of the best things about this evening. His is a sober, intelligent, meticulously crafted Parsifal. With his modest clarity and tender insight, Haenchen makes a Parsifal that is entirely his own. This is a secular humanist take on the piece that really does have weight.