Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ryan McKinny's sexy (but controversial) Amfortas

Ryan McKinny in Bayreuth's Parsifal
Bass-barihunk Ryan McKinny recently made his role debut as Amfortas in Wagner's Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival. We'll reserve commentary about the costumes and production (which was set in the Islamic world), as we don't do reviews, but these pictures will give you a sense of it. News reports say that the production was booed on opening night and security was heightened.

Rather that set the piece in Montsalvat, the castle of the knights of the Holy Grail, director Uwe Eric Laufenberg, reset the production in a bomb-outed church in the Middle East. Ryan McKinny shared  his own thoughts about the opera on Slipped Disc, which you can read in its entirety HERE. We were particularly struck by these words:

Ryan McKinny in Bayreuth's Parsifal
"I frequently feel distressed that this art form is too often reserved for the wealthy and powerful. But in this case, I think the wealthy and powerful are maybe the ones that need to hear this music the most...I hope this music reaches us. I hope we can feel compassion for our own suffering, for Amfortas’ suffering, for the suffering of the world. And through that compassion, gain some understanding."
Tickets for Parsifal are available online and the production runs through August 28th. McKinny returns to the United States from September 22-October 2 to perform the title role in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at the Washington National Opera. He then returns to the role of Amfortas with the Dutch National Opera from December 6-29. It will be directed by Pierre Audi.

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