Critical Acclaim for Wagner: ‘Parsifal’ with the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe

“The musical hero of the evening stood in the pit at the head of the Badische Staatskapelle.  Right from the start of the Prelude, Karlsruhe’s Music Director Justin Brown coaxed a luscious, velvet sound from his strings, held the dramatic tension across eloquent silences, and always remained sensitive to the balance with the singers.  Reverence and drama were not mutually exclusive in Brown’s conducting, and so by the end of the evening he had not only successfully furthered his Wagner cycle, but received from the audience the loudest ovation of all.”

– Susanne Benda, Stuttgarter Nachrichten, 3.31.15

“Justin Brown continues his series of formidable Wagner interpretations in Karlsruhe, at the helm of a magnificently supple Staatskapelle.  Once again one is fascinated by the immediacy of the sound, the abundance of colour, the lofty character as well as the intensity of expression.  With mostly broad tempi, Brown achieves the feat of allowing the music its full measure of calm and majesty on the one hand, and its dramatic tension and blistering passion on the other… The evening is long, but the conducting is so compelling that every single bar is an absorbing musical experience.”

– Karl Georg Berg, Die Rheinpfalz, 4.1.15

“Justin Brown and the Badische Staatskapelle present a fluent and coherent reading of the score…  The conductor mixes the timbres of strings and winds to the point of complete fusion – it’s as if the open Karlsruhe orchestra pit has almost turned into the covered Bayreuth one.”

– Heinz W. Koch, Badische Zeitung, 4.2.15

“Justin Brown and the Badische Staatskapelle transform the events of the opera into nothing less than a magical sound-world.  The gentle string sound, the dark sheen of the brasses, the beauty of the woodwind playing, all combine to form a moving and finely nuanced picture… The solemn moments resound with due gravity but without ever descending to unnecessary pathos, in particular in the Good Friday music.  Passionate upsurges describe the mental agonies which characterise every figure in the drama.  Seldom does Wagner’s Parsifalcome off as trenchantly as it does in the new Karlsruhe production.”

– Nike Luber, Badische Tagblatt, 3.31.15;, 4/2/15

“The musical quality is excellent, thanks to Justin Brown, who lets his orchestra pour the music forth wonderfully.  Everything feels as if it’s borne aloft by a natural empathy for Wagner.”

– Eckhard Britsch, Mannheimer Morgen, 4.2.15;, 4.1.15

“Musically, the Karlsruhe Parsifal far exceeds the level of a Staatstheater.  This is thanks to the first-rate collaboration between Music Director Justin Brown and his orchestra.  The ideal balance between brass and strings, as well as the exactness of the ensemble and the constant mindfulness towards the singers were remarkable.  Here was an example of an orchestra and its conductor in perfect communion.”

– Franz Roos, Der neue Merker Online, April, 2015

 “Brown’s mastery of his accomplished forces and his ability to delineate Wagner’s long-view architecture underlay this triumphantly received performance.”

– David Shengold, Opera News, 4.3.15