Coming off a pinnacle in his career with the Oscar-nommed “Downfall,” Teutonic producer Bernd Eichinger took time off from film to direct his first opera, a production of Richard Wagner’s “Parsifal,” which opened March 19 in Berlin.
Conducted by Daniel Barenboim, the directorial debut met with jeers, however, as audience members shouted “provincial theater” while others simply walked out of the State Opera House.
Relying heavily on video, Eichinger moved some of the setting of the story — composed in 1882 and based on the legend of the Holy Grail — to modern-day New York, where the knights exude punk chic, backed by a Mohawk-topped choir in an apocalyptic cityscape.
Applause afterward dwindled to 30 people still clapping when the performers took their final bows, according to the Berliner Zeitung.
Despite the boos and scathing reviews, the premiere’s guest list was a who’s who of the German film biz, so the after-show party likely cushioned Eichinger’s operatic Gotterdammerung.