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My Parsifal Conductor

From 73 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow, Thought-provoking

About the show

In the Directors Company's new comedy, musical genius Richard Wagner and wife Cosima find themselves in a dilemma when King Ludwig insists that the son of a rabbi, Hermann Levi, conduct the premiere of "Parsifal."


In this spin on real-life events, Maestro Levi must consider his complex relationship with the Wagners. Does Art have its “special needs,” after all? "My Parsifal Conductor" is the world premiere comedy that dares to probe that question. Written by Emmy and Writers Guild Winner Allan Leicht.

Member Reviews (73)


Great acting, Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow, Thought-provoking
Avg Score

Ambitious, Overrated, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you want to see a most un-Wagnerian light comedy/memory play about Cosima's death-bed attempt to absolve the Wagners of their anti-Semitism.

Don't see it if you want to avoid an overstuffed, overlong, overacted comedy; you're not at least peripherally familiar w/Wagner, Nietzsche & King Ludwig II

Also Although I was disappointed by My Parsifal Conductor overall, there ar... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if you're an opera fan, esp. Wagner, curious re: history of Bayreuth & King Ludwig's role, & the Wagner's anti-semitism & Cosima's influence

Don't see it if you're not an opera fan or of Wagner specifically, have trouble with anti-Semites as main characters, don't like surreal situations

Also The production is ultimately quite rewarding even if Wagner himself is... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You like plays that take a look at the deepest feelings of the characters and how these feelings can change the lives of these individuals

Don't see it if You want to see a play that doesn't deal with religion and and anti-semitism.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Resonant, Riveting

See it if Masterful rendering of complicated history intrigues you.

Don't see it if Opera bores you, no matter how good.

Clever, Funny, Somewhat shocking, Thought-provoking, Great lighting and staging

See it if You are interested in the history surrounding Wagner, and can tolerate anti-Semetic views expressed to emphasize their wrongness.

Don't see it if I was rather shocked to hear the viewpoints spouted by some characters, but understood why it was done.

Also The ugly ideas expressed were balanced by terrific staging and a light... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Historical, Timely, Thought-provoking

See it if Wonderful performances by all actors; best use of a limited set on an assumed limited budget; timely topics of bias; expert play construct

Don't see it if assumes working knowledge of Wagner and his works; barely compelling for those with Wagnerian knowledge

Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Want a great show that’s both funny and touching. Definitely exceeded my expectations- great acting and creative staging.

Don't see it if You don’t like historical plays or exploring the topic of antisemitism. The play drags a little, but overall it’s worth it.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if You like or are intrigued by Wagner, you enjoy plays about historical events, you like a play that is unexpectedly thoughtful

Don't see it if Discussions of anti-Semitism bore or offend you, you need to be wildy/loudly entertained

Intelligent, Masterful, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy a drama loosely based on factual events regarding a highly sought after music conductor.

Don't see it if You are sensitive to shows with anti-semitism or don't enjoy shows loosely based on factual events.

Entertaining, Funny, Great staging, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if To learn more about the Wagners and also Herman Levi and their friendship over the years despite the Wagner's anti -semitism.

Don't see it if You are not interested in historical plays albeit this is more of a comedy,

Ambitious, Disappointing, Quirky, Slow

See it if You are a Wagner fan or are interested in how otherwise intelligent people can pursue anti-Semitism or any form of irrational discrimination

Don't see it if You are looking for a strong plot with active, heroic characters.

Also The show tries hard to tell us something about tolerance for those who... Read more Read less

Indulgent, Tedious, Dizzying

See it if you like pretentious, humorless, overacted comedies about Wagner. Nietzsche and anti-semitism.

Don't see it if you don't like pretentious, humorless, overacted comedies about Wagner. Nietzsche and anti-semitism.

Great writing, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to learn about Richard Wagner's life, enjoy historical shows, appreciate classical music and want to see a well-acted show

Don't see it if If you don't want to see a lot of blatant antisemitism. Although it was well acted and i'm told historically accurate it was very slow

Great acting, Great staging, Entertaining, Slow, Clever

See it if you're interested in Wagner or want to see great acting in a historical-ish drama

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with plays that deal with antisemitism. While some funny parts, I wouldn't call it a comedy. A little slow in parts

Also I had no idea what to expect going in, but really liked it.

Entertaining, Clever, Funny

See it if If you like plays (loosely) based on true stories. Not to be taken too seriously but to entertain.

Don't see it if If you don't like period pieces or are die-hard Wagner fans and don't want to see anything that might make fun of his legacy.

Beautifully designed but tedious & kind of pretentious

See it if You're willing to tolerate a tedious history lesson because of excellent design and production values.

Don't see it if You're not. Uberfans of Wagner and/or German history might be interested, but it's really not an engaging story as presented.

Also The costumes and scenic, lighting & sound design are all impressive. E... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if you like Wagner, you like plays about historical figures, you like plays about social themes

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with anti-Semitic views and language, even though it's meant to point out their bigotry.

Also I found the play moving, funny and interesting. Perhaps it's a bit ove... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if you care about opera and the difficult question of the art vs. the artist, and you like light theater on important topics.

Don't see it if you hate anachronisms, have set opinions about Wagner (not that this will change anyone's mind), or expect this to be a musical or an opera.

Also This play was much better than most reviews led me to expect. It is in... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Exquisite, Funny, Epic

See it if You’re interested in a humorous glimpse into the lives of Cosima & Richard Wagner and the evolution of German/ Jewish tensions.

Don't see it if You’re not interested in historical biopics or tragi-comedies with a dynamic female lead.

During previews
Great acting, Funny, Absorbing, Quirky, Intelligent

See it if You like to learn a little something with your entertainment. Offbeat humor mixed with surprisingly topical fictionalized history.

Don't see it if You can’t sit through a bit of an overly long play (though I couldn’t tell you what to cut), at almost two and a half hours.

During previews
Overrated, Slow, Quirky, Fluffy

See it if If you want a show about Wagner , that has some good moments.

Don't see it if a show that is way too long, a show that needs to be cut at least 30 minutes. If you have no interest in Wagner.

During previews
Charming, Clever, Witty, Thought-provoking, Poignant

See it if you like your history fractured, or have an interest in Jewish culture, or German culture, or are a Wagnerian, or an anti-Wagnerian.

Don't see it if you want your history plays to stick to the facts.

Also Why did I like “MY PARSIFAL CONDUCTOR” so much? As the aged Cosima Wag... Read more Read less

During previews
Entertaining, Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if you want a slice of quasi-history presented in a fun way with good acting and interesting set presented in a comfortable theater.

Don't see it if you do not like your history messed with or made fun of at the expense of real figures. Be prepared for a long two-act production.

During previews
Ambitious, Great staging, Slow, Thought-provoking, Confusing

See it if You enjoy plays based on historical figures. You have some familiarity with Wagner. You like plays that mix theatrical styles.

Don't see it if You want a play that commits to 1 style: the historic realism clashed w/the broad comedy. You're expecting a biography of Wagner.

During previews
Slow, Quirky, Indulgent, Disappointing, Well acted

See it if you have an interest in everything Wagner; you enjoy seeing shows in its infancy. Cosima & the conductor are well acted. Some funny bits.

Don't see it if you don't like snail paced plays with little to offer. I wanted more info, this is superficial, based more on religion than anything else

Also Hard to know what is real & what is fiction, didn't really get to know... Read more Read less

October 12th, 2018
“'My Parsifal Conductor’ is billed as ‘a Wagnerian comedy,’ and while Leicht's script may contain a few more laughs than there are in 'Götterdämmerung,' it's director Robert Kalfin's light comedic touches played by a terrific cast that make the evening fly. The current Off-Broadway production...i...
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October 19th, 2018
“Not only ardent Wagnerites should be appalled; the trouble isn't the decision to mine their lives for laughter...But there's a difference between low humor and second-rate clowning, a distinction that is apparently lost on everyone here...Silly as it is, at least Act I has a conflict to dramatiz...
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October 11th, 2018
"'My Parsifal Conductor,' subtitled 'a Wagnerian Comedy'...Except for a few low key chuckles from a few women in back of me at the press preview I attended, that subtitle was apparently as much a misnomer for my fellow viewers as it was for me...Leicht's researched facts do indicate that 'My Pars...
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October 12th, 2018
“A broad comedy based on the true story...The comic turbulence is over-extended and the writing could use more wit. But there are very funny sequences...It could use some trimming, but delving into the true situation and giving it a broad comic interpretation is imaginative and mostly entertainin...
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