On 26 July 1882 Richard Wagner's "stage dedication festival play" had its premiÃ¨re at the second Bayreuth Festival. During the final performance of that year's festival, beginning - rather ironically - at the Transformation Music of Act III, the composer ascended the conductor's podium of his Festspielhaus for the first and only time. With sets by Max and Gotthold BrÃ¼ckner, based on designs by Paul von Joukowsky, the entire production was, quite naturally, directed by Wagner himself, and he took great pains to realize as faithfully as possible his own detailed stage directions in the score. We know from oil paintings by Max BrÃ¼ckner as well as from Paul von Joukowsky's sketches that the sets were marked by opulence and brilliantly coloured, Byzantine splendour. With the 15th repetition of Parsifal on 29 August, the second Bayreuth Festival came to a close, and, although the work was a success with audiences, Wagner himself appeared to be generally dissatisfied and decreed that his monumental work should not be performed anywhere else for 30 years - that the Bayreuth "performances ought to serve as a model of correctness for my immediate posterity". The master had not been dead long, however, before posterity happily began defying his ban, though at first "only" with concert performances, including Munich and London in 1884, New York in 1886 and Amsterdam ten years later. Then in 1903 came the first "illicit" staged performances outside Bayreuth - at the Metropolitan in New York and, under Toscanini's baton, at the Scala in Milan. Forward then a 90 odd years to this, the Schenk/Levine MET production from 1991. It features such well-known Wagner singers as Waltraut Meier, Siegried Jerusalem, Kurt Moll and Bernd Weikl is one of very few DVD releases of this opera.