An essential companion for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Wagner's final masterpiece This guide includes a series of articles on Wagner's profound and complex opera, which the composer preferred to call a "Bühnenweihfestspiel"—a "festival work to consecrate a stage." The first, by Mike Ashman, explores the ideological background to the opera, both political and philosophical. Dieter Borchmeyer discusses Parsifal's mythological foundations and relation to Wagner's earlier works. Robin Holloway provides a study of the opera's musical motifs, while Carolyn Abbate examines the relation between music and drama in the opera. Finally, Gerd Rienäcker contributes an essay on the dramaturgy of Parsifal, analyzing some of the major scenes. The guide also contains a literal translation of the libretto opposite the original German text.