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  Act 1

Realm of the Grail
Realm of the Grail.
  The Grail-castle, Montsalvat, has been built by Titurel for the safekeeping of two holy relics; the Holy Grail and the Holy Spear. The Holy Grail is the chalice which Jesus Christ, the Saviour, used during the last supper with his disciples in Jerusalem, at the feast of Pesach (commemoration of the exodus from Egypt under the guidance of Moses). It is the same chalice which Josef from Arimathea used to catch the blood of Jesus Christ, when he died on the cross to redeem the world for all its sin. The Holy Spear is the Spear with which Longinus, a Roman soldier dealt a wound to the side of the Saviour when he hung at the cross. The Holy Grail and the Holy Spear are joined thus with each other.  
  Amfortas succeeds his father Titurel, and is now King of the Holy Grail. He leads a chaste brotherhood of knights, that puts itself in service of the Holy Grail. To become a servant of the Holy Grail is a vocation. Only one who is called by the Holy Grail can find Montsalvat.

Scene 1:

In the realm of the Grail. In the morning when Amfortas takes a bath, as he does each day to relieve the pain of his wound, Kundry comes with a new balsam for the wound of Amfortas. Four young knights ask Gurnemanz, a senior knight, about Kundry and the loss of the Holy Spear. Gurnemanz tells the next tale:
  Kundry is the messenger of the Grail, she brings messages to and from knights of the Grail, who serve in distant countries. Gurnemanz suspects that she must do atonement for a guilt from a previous life. Amfortas has been wounded in a fight with Klingsor, the black Magician. When Amfortas could not resist the seduction of a wonderful woman, Klingsor seized the Holy Spear and dealt to Amfortas a serious wound in his side. Gurnemanz, who also served under Titurel, brought Amfortas to safety. Titurel, the father of Amfortas and first King of the Grail, received the Grail and the Spear from a host of angels who descended from heaven, at times when enemies of the pure belief became stronger. The Holy Spear however is now in the possession of Klingsor. Grail and Spear are now separated and the brotherhood is in decline. The wound of Amfortas does not heal and starts to bleed each time again when he reveals the Holy Grail at the celebration of the last supper. One hopes on a forecast of the Holy Grail; a chosen one will come, a ‘pure fool’, who will bring Spear and Grail together again, and heal the wound of Amfortas:
'Durch Mitleid wissend, der reine Tor, harre sein, den ich erkor'
  Suddenly a young boy shoots a swan from the air with his arrow. The brotherhood is aghast. The animals in the realm of the Grail are holy and therefore untouchable. Gurnemanz breaks in smart the young boy’s bow. Gurnemanz asks for the name of the youth and who his father is, to none of these questions the youth knows the answer. Gurnemanz is astonished by his ignorance. When Kundry says that the mother of the youth is dead, he flies at her throat. Gurnemanz reprehends the youth for his violent action. The youth doesn't feel well, upon which Kundry brings him fresh water. Gurnemanz pronounces his approval; by requiting evil with good, the evil is banned. Kundry withdraws and falls into a deep death-sleep.

Scene 2:

When the bells of the Grailtemple sound, Gurnemanz invites the youth to take part in the holy supper. On their way to the temple, time seems to melt with space:
'Zum Raum wird hier die Zeit'
  Gurnemanz hopes that this youth might be the 'pure fool', about whom the prophecy speaks. A reluctant Amfortas reveals the Holy Grail, so the brothers may receive the healing strength of the Grail. But Amfortas’ suffering intensifies, on which the youth vehemently seizes his own heart. After the celebration, the youth gives absolutely no sign of understanding and disappointed Gurnemanz sends the youth away.

Act 2

Scene 1:

Desolate rocky mountains. Klingsor sits in his castle and sees a pure youth approaching. He raises Kundry from her death-sleep, so she will overcome this youth, in case his knights fail. Klingsor fears this lad, ignorance and purity protect him as an impervious shield. The youth approaches his realm and with ease defeats all his knights.

Scene 2:

When the youth draws near, he finds himself in a garden of Eden, and is welcomed by lovely flowergirls. As the flowergirls become too obtrusive, a lovely voice calls his name: ‘Parsifal’. The flowergirls disappear, and Parsifal finds a divine beautiful woman, Kundry.

Scene 3:

Kundry tries to seduce him with all possible temptations. She tells him of his father who died before Parsifal was born. And of his mother, who kept him away from people and weapons, to keep him safe. How she died of sorrow, when Parsifal left her for the world. Parsifal breaks out in regretful grief as he hears of his mother’s death. Kundry promises him comfort in her arms and gives Parsifal a long, warm kiss. Suddenly Parsifal startles, in violent pain. By this kiss Parsifal relives the pain of Amfortas, who fell for this woman. Parsifal now knows all the suffering of the world since the very first sin, and sees clearly through all worldly veils. He recognizes that he is the chosen one. The first part of the prophecy has come true; 'Durch Mitleid wissend, der reine Tor, harre sein, den ich erkor'. The complaint of God for the profaned shrine resounds loudly in his soul:
GottesKlage: 'Erlöse, rette mich aus schuldbefleckten Händen!'
Kundry tries to seduce Parsifal again, by saying that she will be released and free of sin, when she unites with him. Parsifal says however that he can also release her if she indicates the way to Amfortas. Kundry has failed and she curses Parsifal, he will never find Amfortas, but for always will err. As a last resort Klingsor throws the Holy Spear at Parsifal. The Spear does not reach his aim, but hovers above the head of Parsifal, who reaches for the Spear. With the Holy Spear Parsifal makes a sign of the cross and Klingsor’s realm pulverises into ruin. At the same time Klingsor's power over Kundry is broken. As Parsifal leaves, he says to Kundry: 'you know, where you can find me'.  
Klingsor Destroyed
Klingsor Destroyed .
Act 3

Scene 1:

In the realm of the Grail. The knighthood of the Grail is in decline. Titurel has died of old age and because he was deprived of the healing strength of the Holy Grail. Amfortas, the sinful tender of the Grail, refuses to reveal the Grail.

Gurnemanz has retreated in the forest of Montsalvat and lives there as a hermit. He startles, when he hears a plaintive lamentation and in the thicket he finds Kundry. He brings her back to life and she recovers with a heartrending cry. The only words passing her mouth are 'dienen, dienen' (to serve). Then Gurnemanz sees a knight in black armour coming closer. He asks the unknown knight to take off his armour and lay down his weapons, because he is on holy ground. As the knight complies, Gurnemanz recognises him, he is the same whom he once sent away. Parsifal kneels down in prayer for the Holy Spear and Gurnemanz is overwhelmed by emotions as he recognizes the Holy Spear. He confirms Parsifal that he is in the realm of the Grail, and has found the way to Amfortas.

Then Kundry washes Parsifal's feet with water from the Holy Source and Gurnemanz blesses his head with water from the Holy Source. Thereupon, Kundry gets a flask with oil and puts ointment on Parsifal's feet, she dries them with her hair. Parsifal asks Gurnemanz to anoint his head with oil. Gurnemanz solemnly blesses Parsifal as King, like the prophecy predicted.

Parsifal's first act as anointed king is Kundry's baptism with the water from the Holy source. Kundry weeps violently, whereas the meadow and nature laugh in bliss. Parsifal sees the beauty of the nature surrounding him and Gurnemanz explains; today is 'Good Friday', the day that all of nature and mankind is purified by the sacrifice of our Saviour.

Scene 2:

The bells of the Grailtemple sound and Gurnemanz and Kundry accompany Parsifal to the temple. A service is to be held in honour of the deceased Titurel. Amfortas has promised to reveal the Holy Grail once more. When the moment comes to reveal the Holy Grail, Amfortas refuses again. He tears the bandage of his bleeding wound, and wishes to die instead of enduring this agony any longer. Then Parsifal steps forward, and with the Holy Spear heals the wound of Amfortas, which had been dealt by the same weapon. Amfortas’ face lights up in sacred delight.
Erlösung dem Erlöser
  Parsifal reveals the Holy Grail as its new King, and kneels down in prayer. A white dove descends from the dome of the Grailtemple and hovers above Parsifal's head. Parsifal receives the Holy Grail from its shrine, and sways the chalice as a blessing over the heads of the gathered knighthood, that has kneeled down in worship.

Kundry falls soulless to the ground and finds her salvation, after many lives. From up high sounds in exalted majesty the mysterious words:
'Erlösung dem Erlöser'
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