On this day in history, July 26, 1882... Richard Wagner's opera Parsifal premiered at the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany. Parsifal is loosely based on Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a 13th-century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival (Percival) and his quest for the Holy Grail. Parsifal was Wagner's final opera. With its many Christian symbols (the Grail, the Spear, references to the "Redeemer") together with a 30-year monopoly Bayreuth held over the work, some regarded the performance as almost a religious rite. Friedrich Nietzsche expressed philosophical criticism of the work. Debates have raged over a possible anti-semitic overtone in the performance (Parsifal was presented as a "pure blooded" (i.e., Aryan) hero. Wagner had described Parsifal not as an opera, but as Ein Bühnenweihfestspiel (A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage). As such, a unique tradition at Bayreuth had arisen that there be no applause after the first act of the opera so as not to disrupt the serious mood.