GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Opera and Vocal => Topic started by: rubio on August 31, 2008, 04:43:48 AM

Title: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: rubio on August 31, 2008, 04:43:48 AM
I have just listened to Karajan's 1984 performance of Parsifal (borrowed from the library). I don't know if I'm just getting more accustomed to Wagner's "idiom", but Parsifal is probably my favourite work of the man so far (well, maybe together with Meistersinger). I find this work very sensous and melodical - more so than e.g. the Ring. Kurt Moll is fabulous as Gurnemanz!

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0028941334725.jpg)

I think there are some versions which are even more praised - Knappertsbusch and Kubelik. How do they compare to eachother (and to the Karajan) interpretation-wise? I love the more lyrical side of Wagner. Which one would you recommend me to get? I see Kubelik also has Kurt Moll as Gurnemanz. Tempting.

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0600554302720.jpg)  (http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0028947577850.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: knight66 on August 31, 2008, 05:06:40 AM
This is not my expert corner of opera. However, from my experience, most sets seem to have very good casts. The issue to concentrate upon is the conductor.

I have the Karajan set which I enjoy a great deal. You already know what to expect with him. A massive sound and majestic approach. I also have exerpts from Levine, though I just don't think this is an opera that yields itself to extracts. Time up, and after seven minutes, all that has happened is that someone moved across the stage. So, as I feel I cannot really judge from experts, I won't comment on Levine beyond saying that the tread seems heavily slow, the soundworld lush and I am not too keen on Domingo or in this case Jessye Norman who sounds too grand and well nourished.

I used to own the Boulez on LP, this seemed to me a cold, detached interpretation, it no doubt gave a succinct account of the score, but it did not involve me in the journey.

That leaves Thielemann: he has the architecture and the soundworld seems right to me. There is stage noise and I don't really get along all that well with Domingo. But it has a lot to recommend it.

I have seen praise for Baremboim, Kubelik and the various Knappersbush recordings, but don't know them. I am sure someone will happen by who will give you a better steer.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ChamberNut on August 31, 2008, 05:11:23 AM
I have just listened to Karajan's 1984 performance of Parsifal (borrowed from the library). I don't know if I'm just getting more accustomed to Wagner's "idiom", but Parsifal is probably my favourite work of the man so far (well, maybe together with Meistersinger). I find this work very sensous and melodical - more so than e.g. the Ring. Kurt Moll is fabulous as Gurnemanz!

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0028941334725.jpg)

Rubio,

This set was also my first Parsifal experience also.  I enjoyed it immensely.   :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 31, 2008, 05:20:49 AM
Rubio,

This set was also my first Parsifal experience also.  I enjoyed it immensely.   :)

Same here, beginning of the 80s. The Transformation Music (especially the one in the Third Act) is colossal. I remember a friend of mine exclaiming Karajan is using plutonium!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 31, 2008, 07:52:21 AM
Barenboim's is a beauty. Committed, accomplished, and radiant. The casting is excellent, pacing excellent, and the recorded sound has deeeeep impact.

Knappertsbusch is uniformly excellent, too. Either the 1962 Bayreuth (pictured above) or the 1951. The 1964 (on Orfeo) is great, too.


 
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Anne on September 01, 2008, 07:08:11 PM
I haven't heard the Kubelik Parsifal but his Die Meistersinger is terrific.  If you happen to find it somewhere, buy it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on September 02, 2008, 02:40:29 PM
I haven't heard the Kubelik Parsifal but his Die Meistersinger is terrific.  If you happen to find it somewhere, buy it.


The Kubelik is considered by many to be the cream of the studio recordings (pant pant). Now I'm salivating over the prospect of his Meistersinger, which I haven't heard yet.

The Knap recordings take it for me. The Karajan is often extraordinarily good though. However, some of the choices in dynamics Karajan made during that recording move me the wrong way. It's probably just me.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on September 02, 2008, 03:45:46 PM
The Knappertsbusch is a must have if you are any kind of Wagner fan. Hotter's Gurnemanz is deepfelt and have never been surpassed. I'd say you also need to hear W. Meier's Kundry. Whether you like her or not she has really owned the role. So I guess you might want the Barenboim set also.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: marvinbrown on September 03, 2008, 04:45:39 AM
The Knappertsbusch is a must have if you are any kind of Wagner fan.

  If you are referring to the 1962 Knappertsbusch recording at Bayreuth I couldn't agree more with you.  That is certainly a must have recording for any collection.  Also I would like to point out that Wagner composed Parsifal with the sound/acoustics of his opera house in mind.  Wagner was also very adamant about preventing Parsifal from being performed in any venue besides his opera house.  I much prefer the Knappersbusch 1962 to the polished Karajan recording which I also own. 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 03, 2008, 05:18:35 AM

I think there are some versions which are even more praised - Knappertsbusch and Kubelik. How do they compare to eachother (and to the Karajan) interpretation-wise? I love the more lyrical side of Wagner. Which one would you recommend me to get? I see Kubelik also has Kurt Moll as Gurnemanz. Tempting.

I can't give you a personal recommendation for the Kubelik but I can recount the day an online friend (a complete Parsifal nutcase  ;D ) heard it. He couldn't stop talking about it. To hear him rave, he'd found the Holy Grail of Parsifals  ;)

As others have noted, at least one Knappertsbusch Parsifal is a must for any serious Wagner collection. I prefer the '64 to the '62 on the strength of Vickers in the title role and Thomas Stewart's insane Amfortas....a quite unforgettable performance. (Hotter is still the Gurnemanz). This one has sentimental value too: the last Parsifal Knapp conducted. (For the record: besides the '64 Knapp, I own Boulez, Karajan, Barenboim, Levine and Solti....I listen to the Boulez when I'm in a hurry  ;D )

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 03, 2008, 05:30:28 AM
I hope this isn't immodest of me but I'd like to cut and paste a post of mine to Andy from the WAYLT thread.

He and I were discussing Knappertsbusch's 1962 Parsifal recording:



I agree 100%, Andy. Kna has a strong feel for the rhythm and pulse of this work. No sagging or listlessness. Dynamics swing wide (soft and grand) yet never sound plastered on as mere decoration. He really seems to have a natural inclination as to how this work should go.

Yeah, the sound isn't digital but fortunately there's plenty of weight and clarity so that everything Kna does is perfectly related to the listener. Glad they caught him in the stereo era!

Unfortunately I haven't heard Karajan's Parsifal. But for comparisons I have Barenboim's recording and yet another of Kna's recordings: the 1951 Bayreuth (on Teldec).

To me Barenboim suffers in the same way Karajan apparently does - there just isn't the sense of an "iron will" imposed on the music as with Kna, which helps keep everything tied together for the (very) long haul. It's probably not fair to compare in this manner as Barenboim certainly is accomplished when appraised on his own, minus any Kna comparisons. But, well, Kna seems to intuitively know his way around this vast score and really pulls out all the stops.

Of course Kna had the benefit of knowing this work inside and out as he performed it at Bayreuth for thirteen consecutive seasons starting in 1951 (when Bayreuth was reopened) until 1964. So kinda puts him a leg up on anyone else. 

As far as Kna's 1951 Bayreuth recording, the cast is a great one but I still prefer the 1962 Philips Bayreuth recording for its superior sonics. The comparatively dim 1951 mono sound is a major handicap in that the orchestra isn't as present nor as weighty and hasn't the impact the later recording does. Which to me means I'm missing much of the music.

So, yes, Kna's Philips recording is something very special and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as a first choice.






Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 03, 2008, 08:06:05 PM
...(For the record: besides the '64 Knapp, I own Boulez, Karajan, Barenboim, Levine and Solti....I listen to the Boulez when I'm in a hurry  ;D )

Sarge,

Speaking of Boulez, do you have any feelings one way or another about his merits as a Wagnerian? The classical press seems to be all over the place in their appraisal of him in Wagner. He has his fans but equally so he has his detractors.

I know he got some bad press for his "speedy" Parsifal at Bayreuth but the criticism doesn't seem justified when fact-checking the history of Parsifals at Bayreuth. I don't have the exact numbers handy (will have tomorrow) but Boulez actually comes in very close to Hermann Levi's premiere performance, and Levi was the man Wagner handpicked for the job.

One of Fanfare's critics (retired now) is a staunch supporter of Boulez's Wagner, finding his Ring exceptional (though thoroughly panning Gwyneth Jones's Brünnhilde) and having good things to say about his Parsifal. Though again there doesn't seem to be anything like a consensus at that mag - at least one other critic is happy to deride Boulez.

But I suppose it's worth taking a closer look at Boulez, and as you're the first person I can recall on this board who's mentioned Boulez in the same sentence as Wagner, well, is there anything you can add to the Boulez controversy, pro or con?

I, myself, have yet to own a Boulez/Wagner recording but I did manage a first-hand audition of his Ring not long ago and came away...undecided.



Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on September 04, 2008, 01:44:33 AM
Sarge,

Speaking of Boulez, do you have any feelings one way or another about his merits as a Wagnerian? The classical press seems to be all over the place in their appraisal of him in Wagner. He has his fans but equally so he has his detractors.

I know he got some bad press for his "speedy" Parsifal at Bayreuth but the criticism doesn't seem justified when fact-checking the history of Parsifals at Bayreuth. I don't have the exact numbers handy (will have tomorrow) but Boulez actually comes in very close to Hermann Levi's premiere performance, and Levi was the man Wagner handpicked for the job.

One of Fanfare's critics (retired now) is a staunch supporter of Boulez's Wagner, finding his Ring exceptional (though thoroughly panning Gwyneth Jones's Brünnhilde) and having good things to say about his Parsifal. Though again there doesn't seem to be anything like a consensus at that mag - at least one other critic is happy to deride Boulez.

But I suppose it's worth taking a closer look at Boulez, and as you're the first person I can recall on this board who's mentioned Boulez in the same sentence as Wagner, well, is there anything you can add to the Boulez controversy, pro or con?

I, myself, have yet to own a Boulez/Wagner recording but I did manage a first-hand audition of his Ring not long ago and came away...undecided.







That's fascinating about Levi and Boulez's renditions. Am very interested in what Sarge has to say.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 04, 2008, 06:14:33 AM
Sarge

Speaking of Boulez, do you have any feelings one way or another about his merits as a Wagnerian?

Let me say first that I don't find fast speeds in Wagner objectionable (I love Böhm's Ring). Speed can be a positive thing in this music. Shaving a half hour off Parsifal does it no harm. I don't even mind Boulez's very fast Act 1 prelude (10:27). Compared to Karajan (14:14) or Levine (16:23) it might seem ridiculously speedy but in context it works and, in fact, is not that much faster than Knappertsbusch '64 (12:13). Kna has a reputation for slowness but at least in the performance I own he's faster than everyone except Boulez. Act 3 for example:

Boulez                   65:14
Knappertsbusch      72:32
Barenboim             77:21
Karajan                 78:19
Levine                   84:27

There's never a point in the Boulez performance where the music feels "too fast" to me, and I appreciate the dramatic urgency. His is more an operatic Parsifal than a religious meditation.

Where I do have a problem with Boulez is in his refusal to mold the music and his tendency to play down the "big" moments. The Transformation scene, for example, doesn't move me at all. The feeling I get is, "Let's just get this over with"...not because it's too fast but because he refuses to shape the music with subtle changes of speed and rhythmic pointing. Kna is superb here and never fails to give me goosebumps. (Karajan gives me the same emotional rush but he does it with nukes...as Johan pointed out  ;D ) Boulez plays this scene as if it were Meistersinger: a gathering of apprentices instead of holy knights.

But despite those negative criticisms I like his Parsifal, especially the urgency and drama of the second and third acts. The cast is pretty good. Stewart is a superb Amfortas; King is a decent Parsifal, youthful sounding if rather dark (baritonal). If Nigel were here, I think he would agree with me that Gwyneth Jones is really not bad; rarely shrill and the wobble under control. I like her Kundry; it's quite sensuous. Franz Crass's Gurnemanz is the weak link (he's no Hotter or Moll) but he doesn't compromise the show; and I do like the actual sound of his voice.

Boulez's Ring I only heard once, many years ago when it was broadcast on PBS. I don't retain enough memory of it to comment, or to give a definitive opinion about his merits as a Wagnerian. Sorry.

Quote
...as you're the first person I can recall on this board who's mentioned Boulez in the same sentence as Wagner

In the second message in this thread, Mike also mentions Boulez. Apparently he likes the recording much less than I do.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Todd on September 04, 2008, 06:55:39 AM
Parisfal is absolutely wonderful, certainly Wagner's most beautiful score, and one that is hard to make sound dull or bland.  Levine succeeds in this, though; he is way too slow. 

Good to see Boulez mentioned: I am apparently one of the few who enjoy him in Wagner, and never more than in his 1970 recording of this work.  (Haven't heard the '66 or the one from a year or two ago, already apparently out in bootlegs.)  Yes, he's fast, but as pointed out earlier, that lends a dramatic urgency to the work and makes it sound more traditionally operatic.  (I like his Ring for the same reason, and one day I must try his Tristan.)  And I love McIntyre as Klingsor!

Another speedy conductor is Clemens Krauss, who pretty much zips right along yet delivers in every other regard.  Good cast too.  Not so hot sound.  A fine performance.

That written, I'd have to say that Barenboim's glorious, gorgeous account is probably my favorite account of the work.  His cast is good, Meier’s Kundry especially, and he manages to combine urgency with a perfectly flowing overall approach.

Karajan’s studio recording is also superb, and to my ears one of the better things he’s done.  Thielemann’s set is a mixed bag.  Domingo is not ideal for the lead at all, but the orchestral playing is superb, especially given that it’s live.  Nagano’s set offers playing that is at least as good, though not as sumptuous, and his cast isn’t the greatest.  Even Meier isn’t what she once was.  The Kubelik set is quite good, but after all of the praise heaped upon it before I heard it, I was let down a bit. 
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 04, 2008, 08:01:29 PM
But despite those negative criticisms I like his Parsifal, especially the urgency and drama of the second and third acts. The cast is pretty good. Stewart is a superb Amfortas; King is a decent Parsifal, youthful sounding if rather dark (baritonal). If Nigel were here, I think he would agree with me that Gwyneth Jones is really not bad; rarely shrill and the wobble under control. I like her Kundry; it's quite sensuous. Franz Crass's Gurnemanz is the weak link (he's no Hotter or Moll) but he doesn't compromise the show; and I do like the actual sound of his voice.

Thanks for your thoughts, Sarge. Lucid as usual. I'll keep all this in mind when approaching Boulez's Wagner.

As for the comparisons with Böhm, I have an on again, off again relationship with the two Ring installments I have of his (Twilight and Walküre). It's not so much his speed that bothers me but the somewhat diminished role the orchestra plays compared to some, e.g. Levine, Dohnanyi, and others. I'm not ready to chalk this up solely to the Bayreuth acoustics as Knappertsbusch's '62 Parsifal finds the orchestra much more aggressively in the forefront, and this is a much more 'subdued' opera.

What I've read of Boulez's Wagner vis-à-vis Böhm is their styles may be outwardly similar in terms of pacing (quicker than usual) but Boulez places greater emphasis on orchestral detail. Not that the two could be mistaken for twin interpreters minus this one difference but it is tempting to wonder how successful a speedier performance might be with greater orchestral definition and weight.

Unfortunately I'll have to wait 'till my pocketbook will allow such a luxury but until then it gives me something to look forward to.

In the second message in this thread, Mike also mentions Boulez. Apparently he likes the recording much less than I do.

Sarge

Hard to believe but I did read Knight's post. Heck, I even did a (obviously not thorough enough) search. I guess this board just moves too fast for the likes of me. $:)



Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 04, 2008, 08:25:23 PM
Another speedy conductor is Clemens Krauss, who pretty much zips right along yet delivers in every other regard.  Good cast too.  Not so hot sound.  A fine performance.

Yes, a speedy Parsifal really isn't such an anomaly at Bayreuth. In fact, Krauss's 1953 performance is actually quicker than Boulez in 1966 (3:44 for Kruass and 3:49 for Boulez).

Jochum in 1972 clocks in under the four hour mark (3:46), and Levi, who premiered the work, clocks in at 4:04.

Toscanini, interestingly enough, clocks in at 4:48(!) in his Bayreuth performance (forget date). Which is the slowest on record there.

So with such diversity in timings it's curious Boulez should be singled out as too "radical".


Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on September 05, 2008, 02:51:16 AM
As fascinating as the above recordings sound, I keep getting strong reccomendations in regard the Kubelik/Parsifal set. And I need a studio version anyhoo.

Does anybody else like the Stein/Jerusalem Parsifal dvd (I love it, especially Sotin's Gurnemanz!)?? :(
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: PSmith08 on September 05, 2008, 01:09:42 PM
I find Herbert Kegel's 1975 Parsifal to be, really, the ideal "fast" Parsifal, if one is going to play it fast. Historical precedent notwithstanding, I find a more moderate approach (i.e., about four hours to four and a quarter) to be more thematically suited to the drama. Parsifal by virtue of its dramatic content lends itself, in my mind, to a contemplative interpretation. Knappertsbusch and Kubelík had this in spades, Thielemann comes very close to that mark with the orchestra - only to be let down a little by his cast, and the rest can fall in line somewhere on the spectrum. Of course, it would be profoundly unidiomatic to do a Ron Popeil, pick a tempo, and leave the thing on autopilot. That is, of course, another discussion for another day. Kegel's Parsifal isn't quite as fast as Boulez', going strictly by the timings: there's a two-minute difference. That's trivial. So, I'll just say ceteris paribus, though Boulez has a better cast, the Bayreuth band, and the Festspielhaus acoustic going for his set, and say that Kegel has a more immediately interesting set. I don't think he handles clarity, texture, and rhythm as well as Boulez, but there is a visceral excitement to his set that isn't as apparent with Boulez.

That having been said, I prefer Boulez' set for the reasons I ignored with my equation above.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Guido on September 06, 2008, 10:00:06 AM
What are people's thoughts on the 1951 Knappertsbusch recording of Parsifal? I have heard great things about this one.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on September 06, 2008, 01:15:45 PM
What are people's thoughts on the 1951 Knappertsbusch recording of Parsifal? I have heard great things about this one.


Very good. You'll have to live with the sound though, which isn't very good. Great singing, and to this day I wonder whether this really was the perfect tempo for the piece as a whole.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 06, 2008, 03:41:29 PM

Very good. You'll have to live with the sound though, which isn't very good. Great singing, and to this day I wonder whether this really was the perfect tempo for the piece as a whole.

Agreed, the cast is excellent. It is regrettable the orchestra isn't caught with more fullness and clarity - it would really add to the urgency of the performance (constraints of the technology).

I still favor the relatively quicker pace and fuller sound of Kna's 1962. Interestingly, Kna is a full twenty minutes longer in 1951.


Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Que on September 07, 2008, 12:47:14 AM
I'm fond of the '51 recording, mainly because of the cast (I'm not hot on Jess Thomas).

Any thoughts here on Kna '54?

(http://cover6.cduniverse.com/MuzeAudioArt/Large/18/447018.jpg)

Hans Hotter (Bass Baritone - Amfortas)
Theo Adam (Bass Baritone - Titurel)
Josef Greindl (Bass - Gurnemanz)
Wolfgang Windgassen (Tenor - Parsifal)
Gustav Neidlinger (Bass - Klingsor)
Martha Mödl (Mezzo Soprano - Kundry)
Eugene Tobin (Tenor - 1st Knight)


Q
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: PSmith08 on September 07, 2008, 06:41:14 PM
I can't speak to the '54 set, but I can speak to the issue of Jess Thomas. I'm not a fan. He's not bad, but he's clearly the one point to be discussed in an otherwise flawless set. To my mind, that issue is solved by the 1964 set, which has Jon Vickers' only Parsifal. The problem with '64 is that it's mono, which, then, presents one point to be discussed.

I'll say this, in my view, Knappertsbusch's 1964 represents the perfect storm: a perfect cast, a band that knew the material, a conductor with a solid grasp on the score, and the Festspielhaus acoustic. Knappertsbusch had 12 years to work on Parsifal on the Green Hill (Krauss had it in 1953), and, accordingly, at least in my mind, the '64 recording represents the high point. 
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 07, 2008, 08:01:08 PM
Has anyone had an opportunity to hear Levine's Parsifal recording from Bayreuth? Any thoughts?



Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: bricon on September 07, 2008, 08:49:14 PM
Has anyone had an opportunity to hear Levine's Parsifal recording from Bayreuth? Any thoughts?


The discs make great drink coasters.

Quite possibly the worst recording (of anything) in my collection.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Todd on September 08, 2008, 04:54:51 AM
The discs make great drink coasters.


Not a bad assessment.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 08, 2008, 05:38:39 AM
Has anyone had an opportunity to hear Levine's Parsifal recording from Bayreuth? Any thoughts?





Own it but haven't listened to it yet: At my age, I'm not sure I have enough time left to make it through to the end anyway  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: karlhenning on September 08, 2008, 05:43:53 AM
Has anyone had an opportunity to hear Levine's Parsifal recording from Bayreuth? Any thoughts?

Haven't listened to it yet. When I have, I'm not sure that my opinion will count  8)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 08, 2008, 03:53:09 PM
Own it but haven't listened to it yet: At my age, I'm not sure I have enough time left to make it through to the end anyway  ;D

Sarge

 ;) ;D

At 44 I'd better take that to heart! ;D




Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 08, 2008, 03:54:48 PM
Haven't listened to it yet. When I have, I'm not sure that my opinion will count  8)

Oh, but I'm sure it'd be one heck of a review! ;D



Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on September 08, 2008, 03:59:20 PM
Oh, but I'm sure it'd be one heck of a review! ;D







I'd be very interested as well.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 08, 2008, 04:46:41 PM
I'd be very interested as well.

A review from Karl would be interesting, no doubt...but I'm not sure it would be palatable to many Wagnerians. ;D



Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: max on September 08, 2008, 08:42:55 PM
Own it but haven't listened to it yet: At my age, I'm not sure I have enough time left to make it through to the end anyway  ;D

Sarge

Its ending would qualify as one of the very greatest representation in art of an After Death experience, that is, if God is on YOUR side!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: max on September 08, 2008, 08:59:09 PM
A review from Karl would be interesting, no doubt...but I'm not sure it would be palatable to many Wagnerians. ;D

Anyone who thinks of Wagner as 46th on the list of composers, I would think not. If one would grant him as one of the top ten Karl would think of him as nothing but another vulgar Wagnerian!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 09, 2008, 03:05:17 AM
....that is, if God is on YOUR side!

There are reasons for me to worry about that  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: karlhenning on September 09, 2008, 03:17:57 AM
Oh, but I'm sure it'd be one heck of a review! ;D

You are all (well, most of you, anyway) kind!  ;)

I may give it a shot soon.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: karlhenning on September 09, 2008, 03:19:15 AM
Anyone who thinks of Wagner as 46th on the list of composers, I would think not. If one would grant him as one of the top ten Karl would think of him as nothing but another vulgar Wagnerian!

Oh, not at all;  many people whose musical opinion I very much respect, rank Wagner thus highly.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Mark on September 09, 2008, 03:47:49 AM
My contribution to this thread will be very slight.

I just realised yesterday that Wagner quotes the beautiful opening/close of the first movement of Mendelssohn's 'Reformation' Symphony (No. 5) in Parsifal. Forgive me, but not being an opera buff, I forget in which part. :-[ I'll have to look it up and report back.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Wendell_E on September 09, 2008, 04:53:35 AM
My contribution to this thread will be very slight.

I just realised yesterday that Wagner quotes the beautiful opening/close of the first movement of Mendelssohn's 'Reformation' Symphony (No. 5) in Parsifal. Forgive me, but not being an opera buff, I forget in which part. :-[ I'll have to look it up and report back.

Actually, both Mendelssohn and Wagner are quoting the famous "Dresden Amen":  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresden_amen
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Mark on September 09, 2008, 05:26:20 AM
Actually, both Mendelssohn and Wagner are quoting the famous "Dresden Amen":  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresden_amen

Ah, thank you. Most informative. :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: PSmith08 on September 09, 2008, 06:05:50 PM
Has anyone had an opportunity to hear Levine's Parsifal recording from Bayreuth? Any thoughts?

Aye. It was, in fact, one of the two primary reasons for my purchase of the Decca "Wagner Cube," the other being, as I think I've said, Varviso's Meistersinger. It's the slowest of my handful of versions, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, except for the fact that Levine comes off as self-consciously grand at times. That doesn't really work with Parsifal, unless one really does want to rob it of any dramatic significance and turn it into a dull pageant. Peter Hofmann really wasn't the best choice for the eponymous fool in my book, either, but that's a preference thing. I think, either here or elsewhere, that Levine is the counterpart to Boulez. They're both doing, essentially, the same thing, which is making a tempo decision at the outset. I think Boulez has the better cast and, if nothing more can be said, at least his approach doesn't verge on creating either longueurs or the conscious thought, "Gee, isn't this grand?"

More and more, the extreme examples - e.g., Levine and Boulez - seem, unless you have a predisposition to either approach, to be untenable as primary recordings. If you like Boulez, then, as most folks would assume, you'll probably like his Parsifal (assuming a taste for Wagner); the same goes for Levine. The moderate approaches - dare I say, the idiomatic approaches - seem, ultimately, to be more immediately successful and appealing for repeated listenings. My first Parsifal was the Boulez set, which didn't cost as much then as it does now, but I end up with either Knappertsbusch or Kubelík as often as not these days.

Eh, but what do I know?
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 09, 2008, 07:23:08 PM
Interesting. Thanks, PSmith.

When it comes to Levine, I have no trouble at all getting along with his approach to the Ring, despite his slowish take. He seems to use the time alloted to him wisely. I get the sense every bar, every phrase is opened up and micro-examined, without losing control of the line. Which I take to easily.

But making this work in Parsifal? On the basis of what three posters have now said it would seem the magic didn't happen for Levine in Bayreuth. Pity.


Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on September 10, 2008, 01:58:39 PM
My first Parsifal was the Boulez set, which didn't cost as much then as it does now, but I end up with either Knappertsbusch or Kubelík as often as not these days.

Eh, but what do I know?



The Kubelik Parsifal!!!! (my envy is green and stinking). I wish I was you...sigh.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: PSmith08 on September 10, 2008, 08:06:45 PM
Interesting. Thanks, PSmith.

When it comes to Levine, I have no trouble at all getting along with his approach to the Ring, despite his slowish take. He seems to use the time alloted to him wisely. I get the sense every bar, every phrase is opened up and micro-examined, without losing control of the line. Which I take to easily.

But making this work in Parsifal? On the basis of what three posters have now said it would seem the magic didn't happen for Levine in Bayreuth. Pity.

I'll say this up front: I am not that big of a fan of Levine's Ring. I think it still suffers from a "set it slow and let it go" attitude, though less severely than does his Parsifal. I also think that it is poorly cast, to say the least, considering some of the singers who were available. I'm clearly thinking of Reiner Goldberg and James Morris, but I'm not necessarily representing the majority view on one of the two. I view Barenboim's Bayreuth set to have near-ideal casting, all things considered, and Haitink's set isn't far behind (though I'm not over-enamored with the podium contribution). That having been said, I think Levine got his range when he got to Götterdämmerung, the standalone of which I highly recommend (not, though, the ArkivCD version - not enough clarity of sourcing for me to take a CD-R sitting down and not enough documentation).

I think the problem with Parsifal lies in the music. There is some margin for error, even on Wagner's part, as is well known, in the Ring. Parsifal, however, is the Master's magnum opus, and there is much less margin for error there. Everything in that score is so well-balanced and perfectly considered that one must really understand the Wagnerian idiom at a deep and almost intuitive level (though that isn't as hard as some might assert) before one can go treading in Parsifal without danger of mucking things up too badly. Boulez and Kegel proved that, if one sacrifices strict idiom to a certain degree, there can be some external acceleration without much ill effect - depending on one's position to the interpretation. Levine, though, proves that things get dicey when there is an external deceleration. The music adopts, to my ears, a sort of self-consciousness and apparent tendency to overemphasize what Wagner made clear with ideal poise and precision. In other words, it's like declaiming Cicero's Pro Caelio or In Catilinam and melodramatically overemphasizing Cicero's killer lines. Effect that is dramatically perfect and intelligent with discretion becomes at the very least self-conscious and verges toward self-parody at the worst. I don't think Levine goes whole hog, but I do think he runs afoul of a serious peril inherent in the musical text.

Parsifal, in my mind, should be handled with care, as when one is cutting a rare gemstone: one wrong move and you've ruined things. Once you're there, it's only a question of how convincing "Plan B" is, and I suppose that's fine, but I'd rather "Plan A" were done right at the outset. But that's me, and, as for the foregoing, YMMV of course.

The Kubelik Parsifal!!!! (my envy is green and stinking). I wish I was you...sigh.

Thank you for the compliment, and now's the time to jump on it at Arkiv. Then all you'd need is to chuck your social life, pick up grad school, and - boom! - you'd be, more or less, me. Hooray!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Valentino on July 08, 2009, 01:14:32 AM
Thanks, folks. Kubelik then.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Coopmv on July 09, 2009, 05:47:05 PM
But this was supposed to be a top-rated Parsifal when it was first released in the early 80's ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GRD5vbgpL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Valentino on July 09, 2009, 10:56:33 PM
No doubt it's great. I shall hear this one too. And Boulez, of course.  0:)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Coopmv on July 11, 2009, 07:26:30 PM
No doubt it's great. I shall hear this one too. And Boulez, of course.  0:)

One of the three Ring Cycles I have consists of these recordings on LP, which I bought back in the mid 80's for $109.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31Z0BD6A1WL._SL500_AA160_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Wilhelm Richard on July 25, 2009, 04:55:02 PM
In honor of the anniversary of its premiere tomorrow, a Parsifal related question --
Does anybody know how the bells were created in Karajan's studio recording?  I swear I remember reading somewhere that they were "exact" digital reproductions of what the original Bayreuth bells sounded like, but I cannot track that version of the story.

And, in the same vein, which recording(s) do you think have the most imposing bells in the Transformation scenes?
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lilas Pastia on July 30, 2009, 06:38:13 PM
Anyone ever spotted that one of Parsifal's main leitmotivs has its origin (I refrain from saying it's been lifted note for note from) Mendelssohn's 5th symphony (first movement, in the slow introduction and the recap near the end) ? And I'm not taking about a 3 or 4 note motivic interval. I

n any case, I yet have to listen to 3 more recordings of Parsifal that sit on my shelves. Honestly, it's far from my favourite opera - which it is not in any case: closer to an oratorio ('sacred drama') - it's not even high on my Wagner list. But it does contain some incredible music.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Valentino on July 30, 2009, 09:25:51 PM
Anyone ever spotted that one of Parsifal's main leitmotivs has its origin (I refrain from saying it's been lifted note for note from) Mendelssohn's 5th symphony (first movement, in the slow introduction and the recap near the end) ? And I'm not taking about a 3 or 4 note motivic interval. I
A good reply cannot be replied to often.  :)
Actually, both Mendelssohn and Wagner are quoting the famous "Dresden Amen":  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresden_amen
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ChamberNut on July 31, 2009, 03:42:20 AM
Anyone ever spotted that one of Parsifal's main leitmotivs has its origin (I refrain from saying it's been lifted note for note from) Mendelssohn's 5th symphony (first movement, in the slow introduction and the recap near the end) ? And I'm not taking about a 3 or 4 note motivic interval.

I can definitely hear the similarity.  Incidentally, that is one of my favorite Preludes (Parsifal's Act I), and I love the Mendelssohn 5th Symphony 1st movement, both are fantastic!  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on July 31, 2009, 05:44:51 AM
Across the hall, I received this message from ACD:

Uffeviking : On your opera forum over at GMG, member Lilas Pastia wrote the following in a post in the thread on Wagner's Parsifal:

Anyone ever spotted that one of Parsifal's main leitmotivs has its origin [in] (I refrain from saying it's been lifted note for note from) Mendelssohn's 5th symphony (first movement, in the slow introduction and the recap near the end) ? And I'm not taking about a 3 or 4 note motivic interval.
You may inform that poster that the motif is neither Mendelssohn's nor Wagner's, but is the common property of many 19th-century and later compositions. It's a cadence known as the Dresden Amen. Its composition is attributed to Dresden composer Johann Gottlieb Naumann, and it was written sometime in the mid- to late-18th century.

NCFTS

ACD
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on July 31, 2009, 05:47:09 AM
Followed with this post by Peter:

Re: Current Discussion (Opera)
by pczipott on 30 Jul 2009, 22:07

Yep, it was a favorite of Berlioz', which is no doubt where both Mendelssohn and Wagner got it -- musical influence, you know. pczipott
Registered User
 
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ChamberNut on July 31, 2009, 05:47:16 AM
Across the hall, I received this message from ACD:

Uffeviking : On your opera forum over at GMG, member Lilas Pastia wrote the following in a post in the thread on Wagner's Parsifal:

Anyone ever spotted that one of Parsifal's main leitmotivs has its origin [in] (I refrain from saying it's been lifted note for note from) Mendelssohn's 5th symphony (first movement, in the slow introduction and the recap near the end) ? And I'm not taking about a 3 or 4 note motivic interval.
You may inform that poster that the motif is neither Mendelssohn's nor Wagner's, but is the common property of many 19th-century and later compositions. It's a cadence known as the Dresden Amen. Its composition is attributed to Dresden composer Johann Gottlieb Naumann, and it was written sometime in the mid- to late-18th century.

NCFTS

ACD


Excellent, did not know that!  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: knight66 on July 31, 2009, 07:14:41 AM
One is of course both relieved and grateful that ACD maintains his nugatory interest in us here and steps down from Mt Parnassus on occasion to provide his wisdom via his very own pythea.

I am sure that confirmation of what a regular member had already provided is an all round boon.

 8)

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lilas Pastia on July 31, 2009, 07:25:46 AM
Indeed, that's the theme (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dresdner_Amen.ogg) (click on the arrow for the sound bite) !

I had no idea this was "the" Dresden Amen, a term I've seen many times before. I had never connected it with this particular theme  ::).
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on July 31, 2009, 08:29:15 AM
I, for one, appreciate ACD's interest in what goes on at GMG at the opera/Wagner section. Lilas Pastia appreciated ACD's information; learn something new every day! Even learning something from ACD! Who wouldasot?! ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on July 31, 2009, 08:34:13 AM
Mike, I am lousy at interpreting those Abkürzungen; what does pythea.stand for?  ???
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: knight66 on July 31, 2009, 09:07:05 AM
Lis, The female oracle at Delphi through whom Apollo made obscure and double sided prophecy.

 0:)

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on July 31, 2009, 09:15:44 AM
Thank you, Luv!  :-*

Looked to me like an acronym!  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: knight66 on July 31, 2009, 09:20:36 AM
My pleasure Lis.

Well, back to the sandpit.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lilas Pastia on July 31, 2009, 03:31:47 PM
Pythea (pythie in Fench) are not unknown to the opera: In Paris' fabled  Palais Garnier:

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/79/Palais_Garnier_bordercropped.jpg/800px-Palais_Garnier_bordercropped.jpg)


Parsifal was first given in Paris in 1914.

(http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/outoftown/france/ile-de-france/paris/9e/opera/124grandstaircase.jpg)

Le Bassin de la Pythie
is one of the splendors of this magnificent opera house. The oracle is represented by the bronze statue.

Another one is the Chagall ceiling (yes, he also painted the famous entrance at the Lincoln Center):

(http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/outoftown/france/ile-de-france/paris/9e/opera/084chagall.jpg)

The glittering foyer: (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9c/EPO_1273_wiki.jpg/800px-EPO_1273_wiki.jpg)

And the monumental staircase: (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/18/Opera_Garnier_Grand_Escalier.jpg/751px-Opera_Garnier_Grand_Escalier.jpg)

And of course the Palais Garnier is the haunt of Leroux' famous Phantom of the Opera ! (http://www.librarything.fr/work/12502)
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0060809248.01._SX140_SY225_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on July 31, 2009, 03:43:00 PM
Stunning photos, André, mind bugling, and I thank you.  :-*

Freunderl, none of those photos would have been made available to us if Mike/Knigh would have spelled the name of Pythea correctly, with a capital P, because then I would have known who he was talking about, but his spelling looked like an acronym!

Btw.: two of his pictures didn't come through.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Wendell_E on July 31, 2009, 03:48:16 PM

You may inform that poster that the motif is neither Mendelssohn's nor Wagner's, but is the common property of many 19th-century and later compositions. It's a cadence known as the Dresden Amen. Its composition is attributed to Dresden composer Johann Gottlieb Naumann, and it was written sometime in the mid- to late-18th century.

Ahem!  As Valentino pointed out above, I posted about the Dresden Amen back on Sept. 8th.  I guess I'm on "ignore".   ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on July 31, 2009, 03:53:30 PM
Wendell, there is no ignore function available at GMG!  ;)

I voluntarily have chosen to ignore the subject Parsifal, missing your post, sorry. I am not a Parsifal devotee!   :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Anne on August 01, 2009, 12:54:46 AM
Does anyone know how the acoustics are at the Paris Opera?  It is truly a gorgeous building!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Coopmv on August 01, 2009, 03:49:29 AM
Pythea (pythie in Fench) are not unknown to the opera: In Paris' fabled  Palais Garnier:

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/79/Palais_Garnier_bordercropped.jpg/800px-Palais_Garnier_bordercropped.jpg)


Parsifal was first given in Paris in 1914.

(http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/outoftown/france/ile-de-france/paris/9e/opera/124grandstaircase.jpg)

Le Bassin de la Pythie
is one of the splendors of this magnificent opera house. The oracle is represented by the bronze statue.

Another one is the Chagall ceiling (yes, he also painted the famous entrance at the Lincoln Center):

(http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/outoftown/france/ile-de-france/paris/9e/opera/084chagall.jpg)

The glittering foyer: (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9c/EPO_1273_wiki.jpg/800px-EPO_1273_wiki.jpg)

And the monumental staircase: (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/18/Opera_Garnier_Grand_Escalier.jpg/751px-Opera_Garnier_Grand_Escalier.jpg)

And of course the Palais Garnier is the haunt of Leroux' famous Phantom of the Opera ! (http://www.librarything.fr/work/12502)
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0060809248.01._SX140_SY225_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg)


Excellent pictures.  Some of them refused to load, is that an IE problem? 
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Coopmv on August 01, 2009, 03:50:43 AM
Does anyone know how the acoustics are at the Paris Opera?  It is truly a gorgeous building!

I bet it is better than anything we have here in the US ...
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lilas Pastia on August 01, 2009, 05:28:44 AM
The Palais Garnier is indeed one of the world's most stunning buildings in terms of functionality and as representation of its art. I see that the Pythie pic is not there. it WAS there when I posted yesterday night  ??? ???. I'll try to get it back. Stay tuned!  ;)

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lilas Pastia on August 01, 2009, 05:37:57 AM
The Chagall  ceiling, a personal order from french Minister of Culture André Malraux: (http://ancre.chez-alice.fr/paris/opera10.jpeg)

And the Pythie basin: (http://ancre.chez-alice.fr/paris/opera6.jpeg)

The latter was the source of my search. When Lis asked what the pythea was, I remembered the connection between the Paris opera and the pythie.

Other pics of the pythie and the Chagall ceiling:
(http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/outoftown/france/ile-de-france/paris/9e/opera/021opera.jpg)(http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/outoftown/france/ile-de-france/paris/9e/opera/084chagall.jpg)

(http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/outoftown/france/ile-de-france/paris/9e/opera/095chagall.jpg)

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 01, 2009, 06:01:02 AM
Does anyone know how the acoustics are at the Paris Opera?

I've only heard one opera there, and that was many years ago (1972, Die Walküre with Jean Cox, Régina Crespin, Birgit Lindholm, Hubert Hofmann, and Michael Langdon, Alexander Gibson conducting). Memory may be playing tricks but I recall a very satisfactory sound with impactful orchestra and singers heard clearly. We were in the upper reaches (four, five stories above the stage), in a cosy private box for two (like this, only higher (http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/30/9f/99/opera-de-paris.jpg)) that seemed specifically built for romantic assignations ;D  A wonderful experience.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lilas Pastia on August 01, 2009, 03:47:08 PM
Opera boxes shield you from your neighbours, but you're in full view of the opposite side of the horseshoe  :D.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on August 03, 2009, 05:34:07 AM
Does anyone know how the acoustics are at the Paris Opera?  It is truly a gorgeous building!

My friend Nigel, Paris resident and subscriber to Garnier performances, said this, which should answer the question:

I've given some thought to your question but don't really have a firm opinion of the Garnier acoustics. The Musée d'Orsay website says they are excellent and I have seen them also described as "matchless" but I've never found them quite so exceptional, perhaps because I've been to Vienna, where the effect of being immersed in the music is simply astounding. So I guess you might say they're very good, definitely much better than the Bastille or the Met, both of which are too vast, neither too dry nor too round, but without reaching the stupendous level of the Staatsoper
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: duncan on August 03, 2009, 11:01:20 AM
The Garnier makes an interesting contrast with the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, the Paris house completed a year earlier and seating similar numbers (2200 v 1900) but costing 70 times as much.  So much for Wagner's profligacy!  The Garnier is the epitome of Opera-as-social event, the audience are part of the performance, every feature is designed to faciliate this, not least the famous staircase.  The Festspielhaus has one aim: to present the sacred art of Richard Wagner, all else is irrelevant or a distraction, and detail or ornament is non-existent.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lilas Pastia on August 03, 2009, 03:19:14 PM
But don't forget the waiting list and ticket prices. I don't think those are irrelevant distractions  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 04, 2009, 12:42:40 AM
Do you think I am very pedantic when I tell you it's Pythia... ?  0:)

And now on with Parsifal, whose prelude to Act 3 is one of Wagner's greatest, in my opinion. I don't think anyone has been able to express wandering, striving and suffering through life as wonderfully as Wagner did in that music.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: knight66 on August 04, 2009, 02:45:28 AM
Do you think I am very pedantic when I tell you it's Pythia... ?  0:)


Yes
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 04, 2009, 02:53:10 AM
Yes

Refreshingly honest, as usual.  ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Mandryka on August 04, 2009, 03:50:35 AM


I have just watched Syberberg's film of Wagner's opera for the third time in my life, and once again I am
confused.

Let's start with one of the more straightforard questions to frame:

Why does Parsifal change turn into a girl?
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on August 04, 2009, 05:27:05 AM
Do you think I am very pedantic when I tell you it's Pythia... ?  0:)


Agreeing with Knight: Yes, you are pedantic because Lilas Pastia said this in his message:

 Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #63 on: July 31, 2009, 04:31:47 PM » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pythea (pythie in Fench) are not unknown to the opera: In Paris' fabled  Palais Garnier:
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 04, 2009, 05:38:42 AM
Agreeing with Knight: Yes, you are pedantic because Lilas Pastia said this in his message:

 Re: Wagner's Parsifal
« Reply #63 on: July 31, 2009, 04:31:47 PM » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pythea (pythie in Fench) are not unknown to the opera: In Paris' fabled  Palais Garnier:


I am not pedantic about the name, but about the spelling...
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: duncan on August 04, 2009, 06:19:26 AM
But don't forget the waiting list and ticket prices. I don't think those are irrelevant distractions  ;)

 :)

I've only been waiting for three years, so I've no idea how distracting the ticket price will be when I finally make it to the top of the list!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: knight66 on August 04, 2009, 06:47:45 AM
Refreshingly honest, as usual.  ;D

Why officer, what do you mean?  0:)

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lilas Pastia on August 04, 2009, 07:42:02 AM
:)

I've only been waiting for three years, so I've no idea how distracting the ticket price will be when I finally make it to the top of the list!

How does it work? You find out the cost when the call from on high comes ?
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Anne on August 04, 2009, 09:14:53 PM
"And now on with Parsifal, whose prelude to Act 3 is one of Wagner's greatest, in my opinion. I don't think anyone has been able to express wandering, striving and suffering through life as wonderfully as Wagner did in that music."

Thank you, Jezetha.  I now have something to hang my hat on when I listen to that music.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on August 05, 2009, 11:36:34 AM
Do you think I am very pedantic when I tell you it's Pythia... ?  0:)

And now on with Parsifal, whose prelude to Act 3 is one of Wagner's greatest, in my opinion. I don't think anyone has been able to express wandering, striving and suffering through life as wonderfully as Wagner did in that music.



So true! And well put. The entire act is awe-inspiring, my favorite "part" is Gurnemanz's ejaculation: "Oh Gnade! Hochstes Heil!....". For me, it's the real climax of the opera.

Of course, that fact doesn't take anything away from the awe-inspiring finale.

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 05, 2009, 01:57:02 PM


So true! And well put. The entire act is awe-inspiring, my favorite "part" is Gurnemanz's ejaculation: "Oh Gnade! Hochstes Heil!....". For me, it's the real climax of the opera.

Of course, that fact doesn't take anything away from the awe-inspiring finale.



For me the highest point is Gurnemanz's 'Da die entsündigte Natur heut' ihren Unschuldstag erwirbt', in the Good Friday Music. I'm always in tears at that moment, because I sense Wagner finally attaining peace, within himself and with the world, after an enormously long journey. I think only a few artists have reached that transcendent point. I can think of Sophocles (in 'Oedipus at Colonus'), Rembrandt, Shakespeare ('Winter's Tale'), Beethoven (late quartets, late sonatas, the Ninth Symphony, the Diabelli Variations, the Missa Solemnis), ergo: the usual suspects of the Western Canon.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on August 05, 2009, 02:18:20 PM
For me the highest point is Gurnemanz's 'Da die entsündigte Natur heut' ihren Unschuldstag erwirbt', in the Good Friday Music. I'm always in tears at that moment, because I sense Wagner finally attaining peace, within himself and with the world, after an enormously long journey. I think only a few artists have reached that transcendent point. I can think of Sophocles (in 'Oedipus at Colonus'), Rembrandt, Shakespeare ('Winter's Tale'), Beethoven (late quartets, late sonatas, the Ninth Symphony, the Diabelli Variations, the Missa Solemnis), ergo: the usual suspects of the Western Canon.


Those are very good examples. But I'd add the prelude to Act I of Lohengrin. Peace that seems unified with the higher (whatever the higher is for anyone).
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 05, 2009, 02:53:43 PM

Those are very good examples. But I'd add the prelude to Act I of Lohengrin. Peace that seems unified with the higher (whatever the higher is for anyone).

That is indeed a glorious piece of music, and it lives in the same 'space' which Parsifal only reaches at the end. BUT - it's literally 'top-down'. Wagner has not yet 'earned' this transcendence. In a sort of visionary foreshadowing or anticipation he writes the music he, in a sense, 'is' in the Finale of his own life.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ChamberNut on August 05, 2009, 02:56:29 PM
I need to listen to Parsifal again.  I really thought it was the Prelude to Act I that was the real humdinger for me, not Act III.  0:)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on August 05, 2009, 03:01:44 PM
That is indeed a glorious piece of music, and it lives in the same 'space' which Parsifal only reaches at the end. BUT - it's literally 'top-down'. Wagner has not yet 'earned' this transcendence. In a sort of visionary foreshadowing or anticipation he writes the music he, in a sense, 'is' in the Finale of his own life.


This is very well thought out and written. It will also make listening to these pieces even more fun next time. I am very grateful.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on August 05, 2009, 03:03:21 PM
I need to listen to Parsifal again.  I really thought it was the Prelude to Act I that was the real humdinger for me, not Act III.  0:)

All three preludes are awe-inspiring. The first act is more like your guided entry into the Realm. The second is kinda heavy metal (in that inimitably cool, Wagner style).
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 05, 2009, 03:16:01 PM
All three preludes are awe-inspiring. The first act is more like your guided entry into the Realm. The second is kinda heavy metal (in that inimitably cool, Wagner style).

I ought to go to bed, but not before this: I always see Klingsor as a popstar with a microphone when he sings, rather self-pityingly (after being taunted by Kundry):

Ungebändigten Sehnens Pein,
schrecklichster Triebe Höllendrang,
den ich zum Todesschweigen mir zwang
...

Don't know why!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on August 05, 2009, 03:18:20 PM
I ought to go to bed, but not before this: I always see Klingsor as a popstar with a microphone when he sings, rather self-pityingly (after being taunted by Kundry):

Ungebändigten Sehnens Pein,
schrecklichster Triebe Höllendrang,
den ich zum Todesschweigen mir zwang
...

Don't know why!


I love it  :D!!! the rock star with his magic mirror.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Coopmv on August 08, 2009, 06:17:38 AM
The only Parsifal I will get is the Karajan's version on CD.  I have had the LP version for over 20 years.  Unfortunately, the usual pops and clicks from LP really mar the excellent performance.  I also enjoyed my Kubelik's version on CD ...
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on August 08, 2009, 06:31:04 AM
The only Parsifal I will get is the Karajan's version on CD.  I have had the LP version for over 20 years.  Unfortunately, the usual pops and clicks from LP really mar the excellent performance.  I also enjoyed my Kubelik's version on CD ...


Those are two terrific versions. I actually liked the Amfortas from the Karajan more than the Kubelik. Otherwise, the Kubelik is outstanding. Great voices, superbly recorded.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: jlaurson on August 11, 2009, 02:20:50 AM
On Parsifal:

Domingo Notwithstanding, This Is Thielemann's Parsifal (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/05/domingo-notwithstanding-this-is.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/05/domingo-notwithstanding-this-is.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/05/domingo-notwithstanding-this-is.html)
Quote
Age hardly seems to slow Plácido Domingo down; instead, he seems invigorated by his numerous duties and continuous love for music. It should be little surprise that the tireless tenor is featured on two releases this month; Puccini’s early work Edgar and, more notably, a live Parsifal from Vienna – both for Deutsche Grammophon. It also isn’t surprising that that recording from June last year prominently uses Domingo in its marketing, his name on the cover in as big a font as that of the actual star, conductor Christian Thielemann. Ironically, this Parsifal is hardly notable because of Domingo (and indeed some may say it is notable despite him)...

Redemption the Redeemer (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2004/07/redemption-redeemer.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2004/07/redemption-redeemer.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2004/07/redemption-redeemer.html)
Quote
A Parsifal at Bayreuth is always an event. Wagner's Bühnenweihfestspiel is—together with the Ring—the most important opera on the "Green Hill" in Bayreuth, and this year the direction of the new production fell to the hands of opera neophyte Christoph Schlingensief. In a response to (just) criticism about his autocratic and inflexible leadership, Wolfgang Wagner (the master's grandson and brother of the wonderful director Wieland) surprised Wagnerites by handing the 2004 Parsifal and the 2005 Ring to relatively young newcomers to the world of opera: theater director Schlingensief and filmmaker Lars von Trier (Zentropa, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville), respectively. The latter, very unfortunately, gave up on the daunting project, apologizing for not feeling that he would be up to the challenge. Schlingensief, infamous for having staged a Hamlet in Zurich with a cast made up entirely of neo-Nazis, however, did pull his vision through and succeeded.

The Kirov's Parsifal May Have No Pulse, but Wagner Survives (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/02/kirovs-parsifal-may-have-no-pulse-but.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/02/kirovs-parsifal-may-have-no-pulse-but.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/02/kirovs-parsifal-may-have-no-pulse-but.html)
Quote
Parsifal is an opera great, grand, glorious, weird, absurd in equal measures. Add daunting, challenging, difficult, transporting, and long. There are those whom nothing can stop from attending a performance thereof, or those whom nothing can convince to endure five hours of Wagner’s final musical statement – and few between those two extremes. Should it have been surprising – or natural – that the Kennedy Center’s Opera House was very well filled on a Tuesday evening at 6PM? Or should it have been astonishing – or expected – that it wasn’t sold out? ...

Wagner on Record - A Holy Fool in East Germany (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=410)
http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=410 (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=410)
Quote
Herbert Kegel was not known for Wagner interpretations when he performed and recorded this Parsifal in the Congress Hall of Leipzig in January of 1975. Edel Classics has just re-issued the GDR Eterna recording of that performances for the second time. In 2005 it became available as a super-budget edition on their “Reference” line. Now it comes in a deluxe edition with full libretto, an essay, extensive bios, all in a very sturdy box, and – astonishingly – scarcely more expensive than before...

Easter Pilgrimage - Parisfal [sic!] (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=305)
http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=305 (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=305)
Quote
Easter – the word – and the Easter Bunny have at its root the Nordic goddess of fertility Ostara, via the German “Ostern”. Or so we are told by the Angle-Saxon missionary Beda. The Brothers Grimm took that tale up because it came with an irresistible story: Happening upon a poor bird whose wings were frozen to its body, Ostara saved the poor creature by turning it into a bunny. Having been a bird, it got to continue laying eggs. Those who follow reviews of new Wagner productions around the world will have heard about Christoph Schlingensief’s Bayreuth Parsifal (2004 – 2007). It was controversial, of course, and intriguing. Criticism and intrigue seemed to have the same source: that this Parsifal had symbolism poured over it by the bucket; among them also a decomposing bunny...

indirectly related:
Bayreuth After Wolfgang (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=373)
Quote
If Munich’s annual Opernfestspiele is the largest opera festival in Europe, and Salzburg the most glamorous, the Bayreuth festival (just two hours to the north of Munich and conveniently without overlapping) is the most iconic. Munich can boast with quantity and variety (46 performances in 34 days, 20 different operas), Salzburg with location and star power. “The Green Hill” in Bayreuth meanwhile is the nexus of all things Wagner. The annual point of pilgrimage for Wagnerians around the world has even near mystical qualities… a fact to which the eight year waiting list for tickets contributes.

Do You Love Wagner? (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/06/do-you-love-wagner.html)
Quote
For all my love of Wagner, I am not a Wagnerian. For starters, I think that Tristan & Isolde, not Parsifal, is his best opera; I inexplicably find Siegfried and Das Rheingold more interesting than Die Walküre. I don’t consider everything about Wagner and his music as operatic ex cathedra statements. And I am fine with the use of the word “Opera” when (casually) talking about Wagner’s work.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 11, 2009, 04:44:34 AM
On Parsifal:
Domingo Notwithstanding, This Is Thielemann's Parsifal (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/05/domingo-notwithstanding-this-is.html)

Must....resist...  I did resist three years ago when I first read your review but it's even harder now. I really don't need another Parsifal (already own Solti, Karajan, Boulez, Barenboim, Levine and Knapp '64) but Thielemann's way with the score does intrigue.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ChamberNut on August 11, 2009, 05:28:40 AM
Must....resist...  I did resist three years ago when I first read your review but it's even harder now. I really don't need another Parsifal (already own Solti, Karajan, Boulez, Barenboim, Levine and Knapp '64) but Thielemann's way with the score does intrigue.

Sarge

The Thielemann/Domingo set is the one I have (the only one I have).  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: jlaurson on August 11, 2009, 05:43:04 AM
Must....resist...  I did resist three years ago when I first read your review but it's even harder now. I really don't need another Parsifal (already own Solti, Karajan, Boulez, Barenboim, Levine and Knapp '64) but Thielemann's way with the score does intrigue.

Sarge

How about saving the money on the CD and hearing him live in Vienna with Parsifal?? It's truly worth it, no matter the singers or production.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on August 11, 2009, 06:11:56 AM
The Thielemann/Domingo set is the one I have (the only one I have).  :)



You're one of the reasons I'm considering that one. I have the Stein/Bayreuth, the classic Karajan, and the Kubelik, and oh BOY do I feel bad for those who haven't heard the Kubelik. It's often spectacularly good: the recording itself is about as near perfect as a Wagndreaerian could imagine. Clear, sensitive to the vocal and orchestral dynamics that the score intimates. It's mandatory Parsifal, in my humble opinion.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 11, 2009, 06:32:35 AM
How about saving the money on the CD and hearing him live in Vienna with Parsifal?? It's truly worth it, no matter the singers or production.

When are the next performances?

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ChamberNut on August 11, 2009, 07:09:44 AM
You're one of the reasons I'm considering that one. I have the Stein/Bayreuth, the classic Karajan, and the Kubelik, and oh BOY do I feel bad for those who haven't heard the Kubelik. It's often spectacularly good: the recording itself is about as near perfect as a Wagndreaerian could imagine. Clear, sensitive to the vocal and orchestral dynamics that the score intimates. It's mandatory Parsifal, in my humble opinion.

I did listen to the Karajan recording (my first ever listen to Parsifal) from the public library, and really enjoyed that performance!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: jlaurson on August 11, 2009, 08:16:09 AM
When are the next performances?

Sarge

Unfortunately the next performances in Vienna (Easter) are conducted by Peter Schneider. You don't want that. And while I'd love to hear (and very well might) Welser-Moest's Vienna Parsifal in June (with Waltraud Meier), that's not exactly Thielemann, either. I'll let you know if I find out when T. conducts his next Parsifal.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on August 12, 2009, 03:19:47 PM
Best Parsifal on DVD for a newbie to this work?

(http://img.amazon.ca/images/I/41%2BCW2bnDxL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UL15Q13W3SQ/SA0IYnuZ2AI/AAAAAAAABEQ/dRDbi7lvPcc/s400/51d-8iXBmpL__SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://)

These two seem the main options  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: jlaurson on August 12, 2009, 03:36:10 PM
Best Parsifal on DVD for a newbie to this work?

(http://img.amazon.ca/images/I/41%2BCW2bnDxL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UL15Q13W3SQ/SA0IYnuZ2AI/AAAAAAAABEQ/dRDbi7lvPcc/s400/51d-8iXBmpL__SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://)

These two seem the main options  :)

Yikes. Boring and dusty. At least the MET (more boring, more dusty, but only slightly) has Waltraud Meier and Kurt Moll, but still I will not likely ever watch that Parsifal again.

I am interested in the Haitink Zurich Parsifal (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00153CP6S?ie=UTF8&tag=nectarandambr-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00153CP6S), but haven't seen it. Maybe my colleague has and he can let me know what he thinks of it. Wait... I think my boss saw it, too, but with a different cast that included Jonas Kaufman.

I've heard Ventris in Parsifal in Paris, and he was fine. Michael Volle is a superb Amfortas. (Bernd Weikl, not so much.)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41iC91xcukL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
I can whole-heartedly recommend Nagano's Parsifal, though (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007X9T70?ie=UTF8&tag=nectarandambr-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0007X9T70). Best staging--by far--of the four DVDs I've seen (there's an older Domingo one, too).
Ventris again, and W.Meier (yay!). Salminen is a 2nd best choice after Moll for Gurnemanz, I can't stand Hampson in anything, really, but he's not too disturbing here. (And many people seem to like him. I only really like him in Busoni's Faust, but again, that's a personal dislike--like an allergy--more than a qualitative judgement.)
It's also the best filmed Parsifal, not the uninspired "3 cameras in opera house" mix.
Nagano is better on record than live, I find. He ain't no Thielemann... but he can get the orchestra to sound magnificent; he gets through the score without fussing about... there's much to enjoy. In any case preferable to Horst Stein and to my taste, too, to Levine, whose flowery perfume, so liberally applied, gets on my nerves after a while.




 
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on August 12, 2009, 07:17:10 PM
Chiming in with my choice: The Nagano/Lehnhoff one!

Parsifal is definitely at the bottom of my Wagner opera list, but I wanted to see and hear Matti Salminen. It's mainly the direction by Nikolaus Lehnhoff, one of my top choice among directors. I know Hampson is nothing to crow about, but Lehnhoff has him moving around the set not always on his back on the camp bed, great innovation.

The Horst Stein/Bayreuth Parsifal has Siegfried Jerusalem getting his foot caught in a dangling wire showing off his prowess as a tennis player: He covers the whole 'court' without actually falling, while Kundry does her seducing.

The Levine/Schenk is hilarious! Siegfried Jerusalem sitting on a stump in a meadow covered  with single posies illuminated by different coloured christmas bulbs - and he is wearing a long, white nightie!  ::)

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Wendell_E on August 13, 2009, 01:39:09 AM
Chiming in with my choice: The Nagano/Lehnhoff one!

I'll add a third recommendation for that one!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on August 13, 2009, 04:14:21 AM
I haven't seen the Nagano/Lehnhoff, but now I'm VERY interested.

The Met has an at times excellent Kundry and not too much else (really poor pacing).

For me the Stein/Bayreuth is at times quite excellent, especially Jerusalem's Parsifal. Sotin, Randova, and Weikl (Gurnemanz, Kundry, and Amfortas respectively) can sometimes drag the scenes into snoredom. But I found the tempo of much of this to be better than average, the overall look to be pleasing, and the conducting to be pretty darn good (again, from an overall perspective). Alot of people seem to have a problem with the Stein/Bayreuth, but if this is your first Parsifal, I would reccomend it wholeheartedly over the Met and that often bizarre, unsatisfying movie. Act I and the latter scenes in Act III can at times be mind-numbingly boring, yet the preludes are done really well, and the Flower Maiden part in Act II is one of the best recorded, in my humble opinion.

Again, this is all opinion. The Bayreuth makes a terrific first purchase (having not seen the Nagano/Lehnhoff).
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on August 13, 2009, 12:12:27 PM
Thanks for the suggestions.

I'd like to see all three of them now! Maybe the library has one of them...before I buy.

 :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: eyeresist on August 13, 2009, 05:06:19 PM
Wagndreaerian
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lilas Pastia on August 13, 2009, 05:46:38 PM
Yeah, I wondered if this was intentional... ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on August 14, 2009, 03:14:46 AM
I wanted to see and hear Matti Salminen.

He's often spectacular.


Yeah, I wondered if this was intentional... ;)

No, it was a boo-boo. Maybe it was a "slip", being a dreary Wagnerian.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on August 14, 2009, 05:02:06 AM
He's often spectacular.


The most spectacular I have seen him is his König Marke in the Patrice Chéreau La Scala production. Can you imagine Marke knocking Melot to the ground?
 
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on August 14, 2009, 05:05:54 AM
Those are on-screen shots I took.

Back to peaceful Parsifal, apologyies for the off-topic post!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Haffner on August 14, 2009, 05:22:29 AM
Those are on-screen shots I took.

Back to peaceful Parsifal, apologyies for the off-topic post!




No apologies necessary. Those are really terrific shots!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Coopmv on February 06, 2010, 07:28:48 PM
IMO, Parsifal by Karajan is one of the best versions out there.  I just finished listening to the set last weekend and was totally floored by how good the soloists and the orchestral playing were.  The only fly in the ointment was the booklet that was printed on cheaper paper instead of the usual high-gloss paper.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GRD5vbgpL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Chaszz on March 05, 2013, 08:36:43 AM
This is a long opera: the first act alone is two hours and by the end our hero is just setting out on his journey. Parsifal is the Wagner opera least likely to set the pulse racing. Apart from the perverted melody of Klingsor in Act Two, the music is slow, entrancing and forgiving. Just as Parsifal must reject Kundry’s advances, so Wagner denies his own gift for thrilling, hummable tunes. As the conductor and composer Pierre Boulez’s wrote: “The piece places the emphasis for the first time on uncertainty, on indetermination. It represents a rejection of immutability, an aversion to definiteness in musical phrases as long as they have not exhausted their potential for evolution and renewal.” This mutability isn’t the tense, unfulfilled kind we hear in Tristan; it’s as though Wagner were scoring the soundtrack to heaven.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/opera/9908198/The-opera-novice-Parsifal-by-Richard-Wagner.html


Since January, Act III of Parsifal and especially the the Good Friday music have been reverberating in my mind, hypnotically, repeatedly, almost always. I saw the new Met production last week (my review can be found elsewhere in Opera & Vocal) and the music is still reverberating, only now a little more strongly. My pulse isn't racing but it is sure pulsing. And the Good Friday music is very hummable. Yes, the music here is somewhat more inscrutable than the rest of Wagner; I'd say the story is also somewhat less forthright, leaving a lot of riddles in the mind, and that they fit each other hand in glove. In every opera, Wagner nearly endlessly varies the musical themes, drawing the last bit of magic out of them. That is his method here. I don't know what a definitive statement of a theme would be for M. Boulez, certainly, the bell-like themes used here before being varied, seem almost overly definite. For me, M. Boulez notwithstanding, this is some of the greatest music ever written. After hearing the Good Friday music in my head for two months now with no let-up in appreciation, I would say it is perhaps equaled elsewhere, but not surpassed.

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Chaszz on March 08, 2013, 08:25:52 PM
"Of all composers", Pierre confided in a 2009 interview, "Wagner is the one who impressed me the most - with his harmonic language & his contrapuntal complexity."

I find it interesting and ironic that Wagner produced a five foot shelf of prose books and pamphlets on many topics, including but not limited to his intense anti-Semitism. He wrote about 250 books and pamphlets on other subjects as well such as composers, conducting, opera, poetry, drama, music-drama, culture, Germanness, gender, religion, theatre reform, politics, history, an autobiography, etc. He wrote so much prose, a lot of it turgid, that his musical output was quite a bit less than that of any composer of comparable stature. Yet nowhere (to my knowledge) did he write a single word about what is perhaps his biggest contribution, and what we'd really like to hear his views about, his expansion of harmony.   


Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on March 24, 2013, 04:52:40 AM
My favorite Parsifal recordings are by Solti and Knappertsbusch.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: DavidA on March 28, 2013, 02:01:19 PM
I find it interesting and ironic that Wagner produced a five foot shelf of prose books and pamphlets on many topics, including but not limited to his intense anti-Semitism. He wrote about 250 books and pamphlets on other subjects as well such as composers, conducting, opera, poetry, drama, music-drama, culture, Germanness, gender, religion, theatre reform, politics, history, an autobiography, etc. He wrote so much prose, a lot of it turgid, that his musical output was quite a bit less than that of any composer of comparable stature. Yet nowhere (to my knowledge) did he write a single word about what is perhaps his biggest contribution, and what we'd really like to hear his views about, his expansion of harmony.   

A pity Wagner didn't restrict himself to writing music!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: david-jw on August 25, 2013, 01:49:22 AM
I have just ordered this Parsifal, principally owing to my admiration for all things Varnay:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51RUTBgCtUL._SX450__PJautoripBadge,BottomRight,4,-40_OU11__.jpg)

Anyone familiar with it?

If so, thoughts? :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on August 25, 2013, 02:48:07 AM
Set Svanholm, Hans Hotter and George London on the same recording? Oh my god!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Wendell_E on August 25, 2013, 10:57:50 AM
I have just ordered this Parsifal, principally owing to my admiration for all things Varnay:


Anyone familiar with it?

If so, thoughts? :)

I'm not familiar with it, but I'll be interested to hear what you think, as that is amazing casting.  Looking at the Met's online database, I see that the identical cast, except for the Gurnemanz, sang the opera on two consecutive days(!!), a Good Friday matinee (Jerome Hines as Gurnemanz), and the Saturday matinee on that recording, with Hotter (it was his final Met performance).  I guess they really don't make opera singers like they used to! The review of the Friday performance does mention that Mack Harrell and Margaret Harshaw were originally scheduled to sing Amfortas and Kundry, but were indisposed.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: jochanaan on August 25, 2013, 01:48:31 PM
I had the distinct privilege of seeing Parsifal live at the NY Met in 1979: Jon Vickers as Parsifal, Martti Talvela as Gurnemanz, Aage Haugland (I think) as Klingsor, and Christa Ludwig as Kundry, with Levine conducting.  A lovely experience!  But a quick search on my part didn't find any recordings with that cast and crew...
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Wendell_E on August 26, 2013, 01:17:28 AM
I had the distinct privilege of seeing Parsifal live at the NY Met in 1979: Jon Vickers as Parsifal, Martti Talvela as Gurnemanz, Aage Haugland (I think) as Klingsor, and Christa Ludwig as Kundry, with Levine conducting.  A lovely experience!  But a quick search on my part didn't find any recordings with that cast and crew...

According to the Met's online database, Haugland only sang Klingsor there in 1983 and 1991.  In 1979, you'd have heard either Vern Shinall or Morley Meredith.  The April 14th matinee broadcast (with Shinall) is available via their "Met Opera on Demand" for $3.99.  They've also got a 7-day free trial available.

http://www.metoperafamily.org/ondemand
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: david-jw on August 26, 2013, 09:37:24 AM
The Stiedry Parsifal hasn't arrived yet but I found a small review of it in the Guardian newspaper from 2005:

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2005/mar/11/classicalmusicandopera.shopping3

it reads:

"Astrid Varnay was one of the great Wagner interpreters of the postwar era, though she never made a complete recording of the role of Kundry, the psychotic seductress in Parsifal. This remarkable issue, taken from a 1954 Met broadcast, finally allows us to hear what was clearly an astonishing portrayal, in which she more than compensates for moments of raw tone with psychological insights of devastating complexity. Set Svanholm is her boyish, unusually stroppy Parsifal. George London's Amfortas and Hans Hotter's Gurnemanz are familiar from other recordings, though both remain matchless.

The conductor is Fritz Stiedry, a formidable, if underrated Wagnerian, who remorselessly exposes the thin dividing line between spirituality and sensuality on which the opera pivots. One of the best Parsifals available - and as a bonus, you get a performance of act one of Die Walküre from the Met the same year, with Varnay and Svanholm über-passionate as the incestuous lovers and a rare chance to hear Hotter as Hunding"
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Itullian on September 04, 2013, 10:06:16 PM
I just got the new Gergiev Parsifal.
It's absolutely wonderful.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: mjwal on October 30, 2013, 03:13:41 AM
Yes, there are moments, " psychological insights of devastating complexity", both from the singers, especially Varnay and Hotter, and the conductor - but the sound is often virtually unlistenable for longish stretches. I may add that I have been listening to historical recordings since the 1950s, so I am not a sissy when it comes to antiquated sound. But with recordings like this one cries Come back, Studio 8-H, all is forgiven! It cannot be compared with, say, the Bayreuth Karajan Tristan of 1952 for sonic consistency.
The Stiedry Parsifal hasn't arrived yet but I found a small review of it in the Guardian newspaper from 2005:

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2005/mar/11/classicalmusicandopera.shopping3

it reads:

"Astrid Varnay was one of the great Wagner interpreters of the postwar era, though she never made a complete recording of the role of Kundry, the psychotic seductress in Parsifal. This remarkable issue, taken from a 1954 Met broadcast, finally allows us to hear what was clearly an astonishing portrayal, in which she more than compensates for moments of raw tone with psychological insights of devastating complexity. Set Svanholm is her boyish, unusually stroppy Parsifal. George London's Amfortas and Hans Hotter's Gurnemanz are familiar from other recordings, though both remain matchless.

The conductor is Fritz Stiedry, a formidable, if underrated Wagnerian, who remorselessly exposes the thin dividing line between spirituality and sensuality on which the opera pivots. One of the best Parsifals available - and as a bonus, you get a performance of act one of Die Walküre from the Met the same year, with Varnay and Svanholm über-passionate as the incestuous lovers and a rare chance to hear Hotter as Hunding"
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Moonfish on November 15, 2014, 02:18:54 PM
Wagner: Parsifal       London/van Mill/Weber/Windgassen/Uhde/Mödl/
Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele/Knappertsbusch
(1951)

This live version from Bayreuth under Knappertsbusch is much better than I expected. The sound is warm and immediate (surprisingly) so I found myself quickly drawn to the performance. I enjoy Knappertsbusch's slow pace - very meditative - but also his ability to invoke strong emotion in the different passages.

Which recording do you prefer when it comes to Wagner's Parsifal?




This 1951 recording can also be found in the following ZYX set:



as well as in the excellent mega-Bayreuth set (i.e. if one enjoys historical recordings)

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Moonfish on November 15, 2014, 02:47:28 PM
Just went ahead and ordered two other recordings of Parsifal as I find this journey fascinating!

Knappertsbusch's 1951 recording made me eager to listen to his later 1962 rendition. I understand that the tempi are faster in this recording and listeners seem split between the two.



I simply have to find out how Boulez wrestles with Wagner's magnificent composition:

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: kishnevi on November 15, 2014, 09:51:07 PM
While you are at it
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419BEo0GmzL.jpg)
Unless you intend to get the set that has all of Solti's Wagner recordings.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Moonfish on November 16, 2014, 12:31:37 AM
While you are at it
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419BEo0GmzL.jpg)
Unless you intend to get the set that has all of Solti's Wagner recordings.

I have this one which I presume is the same performance? I do enjoy it very much!  :)
It was my first Parsifal!   :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(   *happy tears*

(http://www.geisteskind.de/Bilder/Parsifal-solti.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Moonfish on November 16, 2014, 05:05:59 AM
Wagner: Parsifal       London/van Mill/Weber/Windgassen/Uhde/Mödl/
Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele/Knappertsbusch
(1951)

This live version from Bayreuth under Knappertsbusch is much better than I expected. The sound is warm and immediate (surprisingly) so I found myself quickly drawn to the performance. I enjoy Knappertsbusch's slow pace - very meditative - but also his ability to invoke strong emotion in the different passages.

Which recording do you prefer when it comes to Wagner's Parsifal?




This 1951 recording can also be found in the following ZYX set:



as well as in the excellent mega-Bayreuth set (i.e. if one enjoys historical recordings)



Is this Naxos recording the same 1951 Knappertsbusch found in the three above? Or, alternatively, are all these releases of Parsifal the very same recording (just potentially processed differently)?

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Moonfish on November 16, 2014, 05:10:22 AM
Hmmm, is this Kubelik recording the "holy grail" of Parsifal?

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: knight66 on November 16, 2014, 07:07:49 AM
I have read that it is, though I have never heard it, it would not surprise me if it was remarkable, as time goes by and more live Kubelik surfaces, we get the chance to appreciate how superb he was. His 'live' Meistersingers is my favourite version.

I also do enjoy the Karajan Parsifal and on DVD the Met performance is marvelous.

Mike

PS.....I have ordered it after rereading the reviews.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Sergeant Rock on November 16, 2014, 07:37:22 AM
Is this Naxos recording the same 1951 Knappertsbusch found in the three above? Or, alternatively, are all these releases of Parsifal the very same recording (just potentially processed differently)?

I think so. It was also available from Teldec (the version I own).

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/july2009/WagnerKnapp51.jpg)


Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on November 16, 2014, 09:29:28 AM
Hmmm, is this Kubelik recording the "holy grail" of Parsifal?


The Kubelik is an excellent recording of Parsifal...When I first listened to it, I wasn't that impressed, but some months later...wow! The prelude is done wonderfully: the way that the conductor manages to juxtapose the different motifs of this stunning composition is admirable. The orchestral response is also very, very good.

It is on the slow side, although it isn't "solemn" (and I mean this as a compliment). Some passages are really very slow (the transformation music in Act 1, for instance), but not to the point of dragging.

Of the soloists, the Gurnemanz of Kurt Moll stands out...one of the best I've ever heard. Firm tone, noble delivery, very clear pronunciation. I think that in the title role, the younger King (on Boulez's set) is better than his older self here, but it still is a good performance. Yvonne Minton, an artist I hugely admire, is a "different" Kundry, and again I think she is better on her other recording (conducted Armin Jordan--the soundtrack to the Syberberg film). Franz Mazura is as good a Klingsor as any (I'm partial, as I saw him in the role in Bayreuth when I was very young), and Weikl is an accomplished Amfortas, on the lyrical side (again, I saw him in the role in Bayreuth).

With Knappertsbusch and the Boulez that you've ordered, you'll have the recordings of two conductors who have set standards in this piece, I'd say (Boulez took the Wieland Wagner staging in Bayreuth over from Knappertsbusch after the latter's death--with a one year interregnum of Cluytens in 1965). Knappertsbusch and Boulez are almost complete opposites, but both very valid approaches to the piece. I do think, though, that Knappertsbusch 62 is marred by the poor Gurnemenz of Hans Hotter (a wonderful artist, but here well past his prime and underlining the character's status as an elderly man--something I find really unpleasant).

The Kubelik is an excellent complement to Knappertsbusch and Boulez. Solti is, in my opinion, slightly inferior to any of these (except for Christa Ludwig's breathtaking portrayal of Kundry).

If you want something completely different, though, try the Herbert Kegel on Berlin Classics...it's a live (concert) performance of the opera in Leipzig, the first performance of the Bühnenweihfestspiel in the German Democratic Republic (the piece had been banned until then)...it's a very quick, no-nonsense version, but that sheds new light on this wonderful composition....

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Moonfish on November 16, 2014, 12:06:02 PM
I think so. It was also available from Teldec (the version I own).

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/july2009/WagnerKnapp51.jpg)


Sarge

I have never seen that rendition before. It seems like the Knappertsbusch 1951 has more reincarnations than I could ever imagine......  ???
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Moonfish on November 16, 2014, 12:08:32 PM
I have read that it is, though I have never heard it, it would not surprise me if it was remarkable, as time goes by and more live Kubelik surfaces, we get the chance to appreciate how superb he was. His 'live' Meistersingers is my favourite version.

I also do enjoy the Karajan Parsifal and on DVD the Met performance is marvelous.

Mike

PS.....I have ordered it after rereading the reviews.

You are referring to the recent "blood" performance on the Met? It certainly received raving reviews!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Moonfish on November 16, 2014, 12:15:19 PM
The Kubelik is an excellent recording of Parsifal...When I first listened to it, I wasn't that impressed, but some months later...wow! The prelude is done wonderfully: the way that the conductor manages to juxtapose the different motifs of this stunning composition is admirable. The orchestral response is also very, very good.

It is on the slow side, although it isn't "solemn" (and I mean this as a compliment). Some passages are really very slow (the transformation music in Act 1, for instance), but not to the point of dragging.

Of the soloists, the Gurnemanz of Kurt Moll stands out...one of the best I've ever heard. Firm tone, noble delivery, very clear pronunciation. I think that in the title role, the younger King (on Boulez's set) is better than his older self here, but it still is a good performance. Yvonne Minton, an artist I hugely admire, is a "different" Kundry, and again I think she is better on her other recording (conducted Armin Jordan--the soundtrack to the Syberberg film). Franz Mazura is as good a Klingsor as any (I'm partial, as I saw him in the role in Bayreuth when I was very young), and Weikl is an accomplished Amfortas, on the lyrical side (again, I saw him in the role in Bayreuth).

With Knappertsbusch and the Boulez that you've ordered, you'll have the recordings of two conductors who have set standards in this piece, I'd say (Boulez took the Wieland Wagner staging in Bayreuth over from Knappertsbusch after the latter's death--with a one year interregnum of Cluytens in 1965). Knappertsbusch and Boulez are almost complete opposites, but both very valid approaches to the piece. I do think, though, that Knappertsbusch 62 is marred by the poor Gurnemenz of Hans Hotter (a wonderful artist, but here well past his prime and underlining the character's status as an elderly man--something I find really unpleasant).

The Kubelik is an excellent complement to Knappertsbusch and Boulez. Solti is, in my opinion, slightly inferior to any of these (except for Christa Ludwig's breathtaking portrayal of Kundry).

If you want something completely different, though, try the Herbert Kegel on Berlin Classics...it's a live (concert) performance of the opera in Leipzig, the first performance of the Bühnenweihfestspiel in the German Democratic Republic (the piece had been banned until then)...it's a very quick, no-nonsense version, but that sheds new light on this wonderful composition....



Thanks for all those thoughts, Ritter!  The Kubelik performance does sound very intriguing.  I hope that more of Kubelik's recordings will be brought forward in the future (especially vocal/opera performances).  Your Kegel recommendation is very interesting. I was not aware of its existence and the reviews on Amazon certainly paints a picture as intriguing as Kubelik's performance......
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: kishnevi on November 16, 2014, 03:52:45 PM
Just ordered the Boulez from Amazon MP after realizing it was going for less than $17.
The cover art on the Kubelik, btw, is from a work by the same Jean Deville recently highlighted on the bad cover art thread.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Wendell_E on November 16, 2014, 07:14:16 PM
I have never seen that rendition before. It seems like the Knappertsbusch 1951 has more reincarnations than I could ever imagine......  ???

I've got it on LPs, my third complete opera recording, IIRC.  I've also got that Teldec release.  That was its second LP incarnation BTW, on Decca's budget Richmond label on 5 LPs.  The original Decca release took six.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: knight66 on December 06, 2014, 04:29:05 AM
I have now listened to the Kubelik Parsifal that arrived this week: thanks Ritter for tipping the balance, prompting me to go for it. The performance is all that you suggest. The music glows. It is slow, but that suits me, there is no stasis or wallowing.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: knight66 on December 06, 2014, 04:29:55 AM
You are referring to the recent "blood" performance on the Met? It certainly received raving reviews!

Sorry Moonfish, I missed this, yes I was referring to that production.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on December 06, 2014, 08:43:36 AM
I have now listened to the Kubelik Parsifal that arrived this week: thanks Ritter for tipping the balance, prompting me to go for it. The performance is all that you suggest. The music glows. It is slow, but that suits me, there is no stasis or wallowing.

Mike
Glad you enjoyed the recording, Mike!  :) It is very accomplished.

Regards,

Rafael
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Mirror Image on December 06, 2014, 08:35:15 PM
Of the three Parsifal recordings I own (Bohm, Barenboim, Karajan), I still come back to the Bohm recording. Such a smoldering performance by all involved.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on December 07, 2014, 12:17:27 AM
Of the three Parsifal recordings I own (Bohm, Barenboim, Karajan), I still come back to the Bohm recording. Such a smoldering performance by all involved.
Are you sure, Mirror Image? AFAIK, there's no recording of Parsifal under Böhm avaialble (studio or live). He didn't conduct the piese that much (he did do it at the Met, but certainly not at Bayreuth). Might you be thinking of Clemens Krauss (Bayreuth '53) or Boulez (Bayreuth '70)?

Cheers,

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Mirror Image on December 07, 2014, 07:15:18 AM
Are you sure, Mirror Image? AFAIK, there's no recording of Parsifal under Böhm avaialble (studio or live). He didn't conduct the piese that much (he did do it at the Met, but certainly not at Bayreuth). Might you be thinking of Clemens Krauss (Bayreuth '53) or Boulez (Bayreuth '70)?

Cheers,

Whoops! You're right, Ritter. I'm thinking of Tristan und Isolde. :P What can I say other than I was extremely tired when I typed that out last night. I meant Solti, Karajan, and Barenboim are the Parsifal performances I own and my favorite is the HvK. For me, it's hard to beat HvK in Wagner in general.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: knight66 on December 07, 2014, 10:59:57 AM
Below is a review of a Covent Garden Parsifal that I have. The review is by John Woods. I pretty much agrree with it, though don't understand his grudging praise for Vickers, who is compelling and emphatically does not sound dry. Vickers regarded Parsifal as his greatest role, he never recorded it commercially.




With a running time of almost 4 hours and 45 minutes, this new release of Wagner's Parsifal, given on 8 May 1971, is over an hour longer than 2 other live recordings I have to hand, and is indeed one of the longest on record. Upon listening to the Act I Prelude, the number of glaringly obvious split notes from the brass can't help but make one feel a little pang of pity for the audience, knowing they were in for a very long night. But if Reginald Goodall's quest for an ethereal quiet and stasis made his orchestra tense to start with, by the end of the prelude everybody appears to have settled into the part they have to play in realising Goodall's vision, and a certain understated orchestral sumptuousness from everybody, including the brass, quickly becomes one of the defining characteristics of this performance. Although an essay in the liner notes that accompany the release, written by John Deathridge, says that 'it is still difficult to imagine [Wagner] approving of Goodall's first act, which is surely much too long, and indeed constantly verges on incoherence', I found that I got used to the tempi, rather as one did with Klemperer, and accept the validity of the approach.

Wagner's music is of course immensely difficult to sing from many points of view, but one thing it does tend to have is an abundance of places to breathe, which means the slow tempi do not necessarily pose the singers with the problems that might arise were they to be faced with the same situation in Mozart or Verdi. The musical environment created by Goodall therefore allows his artists to create immensely detailed characterisations, which suits this cast particularly well

As Gurnemanz, the Belgian bass Louis Hendrikx brings a beautiful voice, magnificent, elegant gravitas, and something akin to a Lieder singer's attention to text, although it is interesting to note that Hendrikx in fact sang very few Lieder during his career. His operatic debut came as late as 1963, but he quickly made Wagner the cornerstone of his repertoire and his experience with the role shows in this brilliantly nuanced performance.

Amy Shuard, one of Covent Garden's post-war resident dramatic sopranos who deserves to be better remembered than she is, presents a Kundry of fascinating depths. The voice is perhaps not as immediately seductive or glamorous as some who have been acclaimed in the role, but she certainly delves into the character and phrases beautifully, rising to some thrilling climactic high notes in Act II.

Like Shuard, the voice of Jon Vickers has been surpassed in terms of beauty by other interpreters of the title role, but Vickers really seems to get to the heart of the matter, as far as one can with Parsifal. Somehow, one always feels he is creating something very specific, be it during the character's sprawling introspection, active discourse or passionate outbursts. He is on excellent form in this performance in terms of pure vocal production, injecting more colour into his often rather dry timbre than elsewhere in his discography. Vickers is amongst those singers where one is told one had to experience the voice live in order to appreciate its greatness, but it is a credit to the quality and 'style' of the sound on this recording that the greatness somehow comes across.

Such illustrious names as Norman Bailey, Michael Langdon and Donald McIntyre round out a cast of principals notable for being what one might call thinking man's singers. Of the smaller roles, the young Kiri Te Kanawa as the first flower maiden is in such lustrous, fresh voice that the impact is quite distracting, and the other five flower maidens suffer quite badly by comparison, although they do have more of a sense of style than their glamorous colleague. Te Kanawa certainly got noticed in contemporary reviews of the performances, and it is fascinating to have this document of her early years in the Covent Garden ensemble, just months ahead of her shooting to stardom as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro later in 1971.

This Parsifal is not without its idiosyncrasies. Shuard lacks the refulgence of other Kundrys like Gwyneth Jones or Christa Ludwig, and there are Parsifals with more alluring voices, such as James King and Placido Domingo. But I have yet to hear a recording that continues to reveal so much on repeated listening. Vickers, in fairly typical self-congratulatory mode, said in his now famous interview with Brice Duffie 'I can assure you that the Parsifal at Covent Garden [is] talked about to this day' and the release of this recording will ensure that his assertion remains the case for a long time yet
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on December 07, 2014, 11:22:56 AM
I suppose it's this issue which you have, Mike:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517814bxsIL._SX425_.jpg)

I must say I dislike this recording profoundly, as I think Goodall's sluggish tempos and exaggerated pathos turn the score into a parody of itself, and manage to eliminate all the astonishing dramatic impetus this work has. But then again, I come from the "fast Parsifal school" (the Boulez 1970 recording from Bayreuth was my introduction to the piece), so I am a bit biased. But what Kubelik achieves while being slow, I think Goodall most definitely does not.

It is a pity, though: I saw Vickers live in the title role in the late '80s (the twilight of his career) in Chicago, and thought the Goodall could be a sort of memento of that occasion, but even as that it is a failure IMHO.  :(

Cheers,

Rafael
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: knight66 on December 07, 2014, 01:09:06 PM
Rafael, I had not brought this version into the discussion as I have mixed feelings about it.

Boulez was my introduction to Parsifal and it seems to have driven us in different directions. I got rid of the LPs and moved on to Karajan, then Knappersbush, Goodall, Gatti and now Kubelik. Gatti also is slow, but not glacial as Goodall can be. I think it can be involving, but I have to be in the mood for it.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Cosi bel do on December 08, 2014, 07:53:07 AM
This discussion, plus my re-watching Star Wars ( :D ), led me to Parsifal again. I had left aside the 1985 version by Levine in Bayreuth, for a long time (it is in the "Great Operas from Bayreuth" Decca box). Finishing Act 1 just now... And it is an excellent performance ! I mean, for the moment there is absolutely no vocal downside, and the orchestra is really overwhelmingly powerful (when the studio Parsifal by Levine can be rightly deemed as static).
Now that's a bother, I have to listen again to all my versions ::)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on December 09, 2014, 03:06:10 AM
Parsifal > Tristan.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Cosi bel do on December 09, 2014, 03:23:00 AM
This discussion, plus my re-watching Star Wars ( :D ), led me to Parsifal again. I had left aside the 1985 version by Levine in Bayreuth, for a long time (it is in the "Great Operas from Bayreuth" Decca box). Finishing Act 1 just now... And it is an excellent performance ! I mean, for the moment there is absolutely no vocal downside, and the orchestra is really overwhelmingly powerful (when the studio Parsifal by Levine can be rightly deemed as static).
Now that's a bother, I have to listen again to all my versions ::)

Finishing Levine's live Parsifal from Bayreuth in 1985, and it ranks at the very top IMHO. I understand this version is either really loved or, maybe not hated but considered as dull and uninteresting, which I find unimaginable. Also, I didn't think I would be so thrilled by such a slow version, but it is more than possible...

I'll discuss different versions as I listen to them again (or, sometimes, for the first time), but that might take a while :P
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on December 09, 2014, 04:29:43 AM
Levine's 1985 Bayreuth recording was my first Parsifal. Still love it! Tempo is just the correct.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lisztianwagner on December 09, 2014, 04:36:46 AM
Wagner's Parsifal is a masterpiece, one of the most powerful and suggestive works I've ever listened to; I have got four recordings of the sacred drama par excellence, Karajan, Solti, Knappertsbusch 62 and Gatti; I was recently recommended Kubelik's performance, which was described in an enthusiastic way....and after listening to some excerpts and after reading some comments here, the praises seem to be justified. Is the full recording really so good?
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on December 09, 2014, 05:16:51 AM
Wagner's Parsifal is a masterpiece, one of the most powerful and suggestive works I've ever listened to; I have got four recordings of the sacred drama par excellence, Karajan, Solti, Knappertsbusch 62 and Gatti; I was recently recommended Kubelik's performance, which was described in an enthusiastic way....and after listening to some excerpts and after reading some comments here, the praises seem to be justified. Is the full recording really so good?
Ciao, Ilaria! The short answer to your quetion is: YES! The long one is:

The Kubelik is an excellent recording of Parsifal...When I first listened to it, I wasn't that impressed, but some months later...wow! The prelude is done wonderfully: the way that the conductor manages to juxtapose the different motifs of this stunning composition is admirable. The orchestral response is also very, very good.

It is on the slow side, although it isn't "solemn" (and I mean this as a compliment). Some passages are really very slow (the transformation music in Act 1, for instance), but not to the point of dragging.

Of the soloists, the Gurnemanz of Kurt Moll stands out...one of the best I've ever heard. Firm tone, noble delivery, very clear pronunciation. I think that in the title role, the younger King (on Boulez's set) is better than his older self here, but it still is a good performance. Yvonne Minton, an artist I hugely admire, is a "different" Kundry, and again I think she is better on her other recording (conducted Armin Jordan--the soundtrack to the Syberberg film). Franz Mazura is as good a Klingsor as any (I'm partial, as I saw him in the role in Bayreuth when I was very young), and Weikl is an accomplished Amfortas, on the lyrical side (again, I saw him in the role in Bayreuth).

With Knappertsbusch and the Boulez that you've ordered, you'll have the recordings of two conductors who have set standards in this piece, I'd say (Boulez took the Wieland Wagner staging in Bayreuth over from Knappertsbusch after the latter's death--with a one year interregnum of Cluytens in 1965). Knappertsbusch and Boulez are almost complete opposites, but both very valid approaches to the piece. I do think, though, that Knappertsbusch 62 is marred by the poor Gurnemenz of Hans Hotter (a wonderful artist, but here well past his prime and underlining the character's status as an elderly man--something I find really unpleasant).

The Kubelik is an excellent complement to Knappertsbusch and Boulez. Solti is, in my opinion, slightly inferior to any of these (except for Christa Ludwig's breathtaking portrayal of Kundry).
....

One thing though: you are missing one very, very important recording of the piece, one that demonstrates that widely diverging approaches to this music are valid and worthwhile. You're missing this :) :

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51uPspgw0QL.jpg)

Sorry, can't help proselytizing: for me, reading the words "Parsifal" and "Boulez" on the same cover brings together what in IMHO are two of the greatest summtits of the art of music... :D :D
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Moonfish on December 09, 2014, 05:39:53 AM
Just finishing up Barenboim's Parsifal, which I very much enjoyed. I think I prefer it over many of his other Wagner recordings. Relative to other Parsifal renditions I think it is in the top tier with many others.




Finishing Levine's live Parsifal from Bayreuth in 1985, and it ranks at the very top IMHO. I understand this version is either really loved or, maybe not hated but considered as dull and uninteresting, which I find unimaginable. Also, I didn't think I would be so thrilled by such a slow version, but it is more than possible...

I'll discuss different versions as I listen to them again (or, sometimes, for the first time), but that might take a while :P

Like you say some people very much enjoy Levine's slow pace, while others step away from it. I haven't heard his Parsifal, but his Ring cycle definitely had that quality. Perhaps the slower pace enhances the serenity and spiritual qualities of Parsifal?

Ciao, Ilaria! The short answer to your quetion is: YES! The long one is:

One thing though: you are missing one very, very important recording of the piece, one that demonstrates that widely diverging approaches to this music are valid and worthwhile. Your missing this:

(http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/imgs/s300x300/4357182.jpg)
Sorry, can't help proselytizing: for me, reading the words "Parsifal" and "Boulez" on the same cover brings together what in IMHO are two of the greatest summtits of the art of music... :D :D


Boulez's Ring was my very first one so I have fond memories of it even though I haven't heard that version for quite some time. Boulez and Parsifal seems like an interesting combination. Does Boulez twist Wagner's score or does he stay true to it?

There seems to be an abundance of fantastic Parsifal recordings. I find myself at the gateway of Karajan's early live recording that many people seemingly are fascinated by (and some not so much). Probably not the best in terms of sound, but appears intriguing otherwise. Has anybody else here listened to this performance? It is my listening journey for the day!  :)

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on December 09, 2014, 06:43:42 AM

Boulez's Ring was my very first one so I have fond memories of it even though I haven't heard that version for quite some time. Boulez and Parsifal seems like an interesting combination. Does Boulez twist Wagner's score or does he stay true to it?
Well, he certainly desacralizes the Bühnenweihfestspiel (something I like), and pays more attention to the dramatic aspects of the score than to its alleged "ritual" components. It's not a matter of speed, but yes, he's very fast. His attention to orchestral detail and transparency has also been pointed out. It is, to a certain extent, a radical rethinking of the score, something that Wieland Wagner wanted (or I'd even say, needed) after 14 (almost uninterrupted) years of Knappertsbusch's solemn approach. Now, I think there's more than one way to stay "true" to the score, and Boulez's is certainly one of them.

Quote
There seems to be an abundance of fantastic Parsifal recordings. I find myself at the gateway of Karajan's early live recording that many people seemingly are fascinated by (and some not so much). Probably not the best in terms of sound, but appears intriguing otherwise. Has anybody else here listened to this performance? It is my listening journey for the day!  :)


I haven't heard it, and have read mixed reviews. It has the oddity of having two female leads: Elisabeth Höngen is the penitent Kundry, and Christa Ludwig is the seductress. Also, I have read that a chunk of Gurnemanz's narration in Act 1 was missing from the original tapes, and a recording from Bayreuth (with other singers under Knappertsbusch) was allegedly  used to fill in the gap.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Moonfish on December 09, 2014, 07:03:02 AM
Well, he certainly desacralizes the Bühnenweihfestspiel (something I like), and pays more attention to the dramatic aspects of the score than to its alleged "ritual" components. It's not a matter of speed, but yes, he's very fast. His attention to orchestral detail and transparency has also been pointed out. It is, to a certain extent, a radical rethinking of the score, something that Wieland Wagner wanted (or I'd even say, needed) after 14 (almost uninterrupted) years of Knappertsbusch's solemn approach. Now, I think there's more than one way to stay "true" to the score, and Boulez's is certainly one of them.
 I haven't heard it, and have read mixed reviews. It has the oddity of having two female leads: Elisabeth Höngen is the penitent Kundry, and Christa Ludwig is the seductress. Also, I have read that a chunk of Gurnemanz's narration in Act 1 was missing from the original tapes, and a recording from Bayreuth (with other singers under Knappertsbusch) was allegedly  used to fill in the gap.

I read that Höngen could not handle the high notes so Ludwig filled in for part of Act 2 (?).  Yeah, I guess one can expect issues with a live radio broadcast recording!  ???   At the same time I am grateful for the moment being captured. I tend to have forgiving ears when it comes to historical recordings. I will immerse myself in it today (at the moment it is dawn here with my family asleep so Parsifal's soundscape has to wait for the sun to rise a bit over the horizon).
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on December 09, 2014, 09:04:17 AM
I I will immerse myself in it today (at the moment it is dawn here with my family asleep so Parsifal's soundscape has to wait for the sun to rise a bit over the horizon).
In that case, the words ''He! Ho! Waldhueter ihr, Schlafhueter mitsammen, so wacht doch mindest am Morgen!'' will take on a very literal meaning  :)  Enjoy your Parsifal sunrise!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lisztianwagner on December 09, 2014, 12:59:31 PM
Ciao, Ilaria! The short answer to your quetion is: YES! The long one is:

One thing though: you are missing one very, very important recording of the piece, one that demonstrates that widely diverging approaches to this music are valid and worthwhile. You're missing this :) :

(http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/imgs/s300x300/4357182.jpg)
Sorry, can't help proselytizing: for me, reading the words "Parsifal" and "Boulez" on the same cover brings together what in IMHO are two of the greatest summtits of the art of music... :D :D

Very good, thank you for the feedback, Rafael!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on December 09, 2014, 01:13:21 PM
Wagner's Parsifal is a masterpiece, one of the most powerful and suggestive works I've ever listened to; I have got four recordings of the sacred drama par excellence, Karajan, Solti, Knappertsbusch 62 and Gatti;

Solti and Knappertsbusch are my favorite parsifal recordings, along with Levine's 1985 Bayreuth. Solti's is probably my favorite if had to pick one. Karajan would otherwise be fine recording to me except for one thing: I think his tempo is way too fast. To me Parsifal is supposed to be slow and solemn, for the most part. Karajan's tempo ruins many of those moments (not so much in act II which has more fast moments than I and III). Usually I find Karajan excellent with Wagner but I don't think Parsifal is his strongest area.Nothing personal intended to those who like Karajan's Parsifal. I actually find most of the recording quite excellent, it's just that I see "wrong" tempo as such a big thing it tends to ruin lot of it. Haven't even heard Gatti.

What annoys the heck out of me is that I once heard best Klingsor ever but I can't remember neither recording nor the singer and nowadays I can't find that sound bit anywhere. Really, I think that for his 15-20 minutes of stagetime in this almost five hour opera he is really impressive opera character. Debussy may dislike "ghost of old Klingsor" (even though he meant Wagner himself by that remark) all he wants, I won't.  8)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on December 09, 2014, 01:35:21 PM
Really, I think that for his 15-20 minutes of stagetime in this almost five hour opera he is really impressive opera character. Debussy may dislike "ghost of old Klingsor" (even though he meant Wagner himself by that remark) all he wants, I won't.  8)
I agree about Klingsor, Alberich. He's no run-of-the-mill villian, but a very complex and quite fascinating character, full of contradictions. The way he was portrayed in Stefan Herheim's acclaimed Bayreuth staging (alas, never issued on DVD) was quite stunning.

As for Debussy (a composer who ranks very, very high in my own personal pantheon), he did express his dislike of Wagner, but also said that the prelude to Act 3 of Parsifal was sublime (or something to that effect). And, frankly, if there had been no Parsifal, I think there would be no Pelléas et Mélisande (at least, such as we know it).

Cheers,
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on December 09, 2014, 01:48:10 PM
I agree about Klingsor, Alberich. He's no run-of-the-mill villian, but a very complex and quite fascinating character, full of contradictions. The way he was portrayed in Stefan Herheim's acclaimed Bayreuth staging (alas, never issued on DVD) was quite stunning.

As for Debussy (a composer who ranks very, very high in my own personal pantheon), he did express his dislike of Wagner, but also said that the prelude to Act 3 of Parsifal was sublime (or something to that effect). And, frankly, if there had been no Parsifal, I think there would be no Pelléas et Mélisande (at least, such as we know it).

Cheers,

Amen brother. I love Pelleas as well! Debussy is one of my favorite composers even though I rank Wagner higher.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lisztianwagner on December 10, 2014, 07:26:01 AM
Solti and Knappertsbusch are my favorite parsifal recordings, along with Levine's 1985 Bayreuth. Solti's is probably my favorite if had to pick one. Karajan would otherwise be fine recording to me except for one thing: I think his tempo is way too fast. To me Parsifal is supposed to be slow and solemn, for the most part. Karajan's tempo ruins many of those moments (not so much in act II which has more fast moments than I and III). Usually I find Karajan excellent with Wagner but I don't think Parsifal is his strongest area.Nothing personal intended to those who like Karajan's Parsifal. I actually find most of the recording quite excellent, it's just that I see "wrong" tempo as such a big thing it tends to ruin lot of it. Haven't even heard Gatti.

The Knappertsbusch is also my favourite Parsifal recording, along with the Karajan; but the Solti is amazing too, and it has an excellent sound quality. The Gatti is the one performed last year at the Met, with Kaufmann and Pape; it's beautiful, but I have to admit I listened to it only once when it was broadcast on the BBC Radio.
Too fast, really?  ??? ;). I have no problems with Karajan's tempo, I've always found it very fine and suitable for the great sacredness of that musikdrama. I agree Parsifal is supposed to be slow and solemn, especially because of the deep, mystical atmosphere of the matter.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Cosi bel do on December 10, 2014, 08:00:54 AM
When you all say "Knappertsbusch", it would be better to say which year, because there must be a dozen different recordings conducted by Kna...
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: jochanaan on December 10, 2014, 08:48:37 AM


I think that's the one I'm familiar with.  Yes, it really is an amazing recording, fully worthy of being the "only" Parsifal recording if you're going to choose one of many. 8)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on December 10, 2014, 08:53:52 AM
-62. Excellent recording (even to me, who almost never pays attention to recordings).

It has also been some time since I heard Karajan Parsifal. My memory may fail me or my taste could have improved...  ;D IIRC, the tempo wasn't "wrong" at all parts, merely at some of the most crucial moments.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: kishnevi on December 10, 2014, 10:38:34 AM
When you all say "Knappertsbusch", it would be better to say which year, because there must be a dozen different recordings conducted by Kna...

A partial discography of the opera here:  http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsifal_discography

Although it leaves out some of the various remasterings of the 1951. " My" Knapp. is 1951 on Naxos Historical.

And an outlier....a review of the 1951 recording that is rather negative on all counts : http://www.wagnerdiscography.com/reviews/par/par51kna.htm
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 28, 2015, 04:02:01 AM
Parsifal's music is great, even by Wagner's standards, and libretto is crap, even by Wagner's standards. Or so I've often heard told.

Strangely,though, I never had problem with Parsifal's libretto, IMO Wagner's prose style has been much worse (for ex. Tristan is at times utterly incomprehensible). The main fault I find with Parsifal's text is Wagner trying to be clever by insisting that "Fal parsi" is Arabic for "pure fool", thus the reason he changed Parzival to Parsifal. It's not Arabic. It's gibberish. Then there is also Gurnemanz's stupid parting comment to Parsifal at the end of Act 1. On the most part, however, it really captures me.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 28, 2015, 06:13:17 AM
Then there is also Gurnemanz's stupid parting comment to Parsifal at the end of Act 1.
Are you referring to something to the order of "the gander should be allowed to chase the goose"? Probably the only attempt at humor, ever, by Wagner.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: jochanaan on July 28, 2015, 06:55:40 AM
...And an outlier....a review of the 1951 recording that is rather negative on all counts : http://www.wagnerdiscography.com/reviews/par/par51kna.htm
If that's the one I'm familiar with, the author must have listened to a particularly bad remaster, or simply not known what s/he was talking about.  I've got (in storage now with all my other LPs) that Parsifal on London vinyl, and the orchestra sounds just fine. 8)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 28, 2015, 07:01:12 AM
Are you referring to something to the order of "the gander should be allowed to chase the goose"? Probably the only attempt at humor, ever, by Wagner.

Reminds me of the comment (and I forget of whom it was originally said):  "He is at his most depressing, when he tries to be amusing."
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 28, 2015, 07:13:15 AM
Are you referring to something to the order of "the gander should be allowed to chase the goose"? Probably the only attempt at humor, ever, by Wagner.

Exactly the one I had in mind!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Mandryka on July 28, 2015, 09:24:35 AM
Why doesn't Parsifal just bonk Kundry in Act 2? I mean what happens when he kisses her that turns him into Jesus?

These are the things which make me suspect that Parsifal is a load of codswallop.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: San Antone on July 28, 2015, 09:44:00 AM
(http://static01.nyt.com/images/2013/02/18/arts/18PARSIFAL/18PARSIFAL-articleLarge.jpg)

I thoroughly enjoyed the recent Met production (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/arts/music/parsifal-at-the-metropolitan-opera.html?_r=0) with Jonas Kaufmann, despite the dark, somewhat depressive quality - I thought it suited the subject well.  Wonderful orchestral playing and singing by the various leads, especially, René Pape
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 28, 2015, 09:55:23 AM
Why doesn't Parsifal just bonk Kundry in Act 2? I mean what happens when he kisses her that turns him into Jesus?

What if she's a god-awful kisser?
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Lisztianwagner on July 28, 2015, 10:06:29 AM
Parsifal's music is great, even by Wagner's standards, and libretto is crap, even by Wagner's standards. Or so I've often heard told.

Strangely,though, I never had problem with Parsifal's libretto, IMO Wagner's prose style has been much worse (for ex. Tristan is at times utterly incomprehensible). The main fault I find with Parsifal's text is Wagner trying to be clever by insisting that "Fal parsi" is Arabic for "pure fool", thus the reason he changed Parzival to Parsifal. It's not Arabic. It's gibberish. Then there is also Gurnemanz's stupid parting comment to Parsifal at the end of Act 1. On the most part, however, it really captures me.
Wagner based that idea on Joseph Görres' edition of Lohengrin, where there was the erroneous hypothesis for the etimology of the name "Parzival" that made it come from the Arabic "fal parsi", meaning "pure fool"; so he decided to change Parzival/Perceval into Parsifal. Tannhäuser is also a similar case of mistakes in the sources, since Wagner, reading about the Minnesingers and the song contest at Wartburg, took inspiration from legends telling Tannhäuser and Heinrich of Ofterdingen were the same person.

Out of curiosity, where would Tristan be incomprehensible, for example?
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 28, 2015, 10:15:42 AM
Wagner based that idea on Joseph Görres' edition of Lohengrin, where there was the erroneous hypothesis for the etimology of the name "Parzival" that made it come from the Arabic "fal parsi", meaning "pure fool"; so he decided to change Parzival/Perceval into Parsifal. Tannhäuser is also a similar case of mistakes in the sources, since Wagner, reading about the Minnesingers and the song contest at Wartburg, took inspiration from legends telling Tannhäuser and Heinrich of Ofterdingen were the same person.

Most interesting, thanks, Ilaria!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: jochanaan on July 29, 2015, 06:39:23 AM
Why doesn't Parsifal just bonk Kundry in Act 2? I mean what happens when he kisses her that turns him into Jesus?

These are the things which make me suspect that Parsifal is a load of codswallop.
Some have suggested that there are homosexual overtones in Parsifal.  I can see their point; only one female lead (but Kundry has some of the best vocal writing in any Wagner opera!), and Parsifal ends up rejecting her.  Mad King Ludwig would have approved; probably he did approve. :laugh:
What if she's a god-awful kisser?
That does not describe the live Parsifal I saw at the Met; Jon Vickers and Christa Ludwig shared as intense a stage kiss as I've ever seen. ;D Hey, maybe THAT was the trouble; she was just too good for Parsifal's repressed homosexuality! :laugh:
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Wendell_E on July 29, 2015, 08:31:04 AM
Some have suggested that there are homosexual overtones in Parsifal.

Well, right after Parsifal gets that kiss, he does sing out a guy's name.  Poor Kundry!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 30, 2015, 01:38:24 AM
Out of curiosity, where would Tristan be incomprehensible, for example?

Pretty much any time Tristan and Isolde sing after drinking the love potion. But I actually misshaped my previous post when I mentioned Tristan as an example of worse prose style in Wagner: in some odd way I actually like the incomprehensibility of it, it gives it much more mystery which kind of fits in Wagner's music (which obviously is superior to text, but many masterpieces in literature would have hard time competing with it). I was more trying to draw attention to it's incomprehensibility (which, like I said, I strangely like) than it being actually a bad libretto. The symbolism of the text may or may not actually mean that much but I really like that effect. In particular the part in Act II from "O sink hernieder" to Kurwenal's entrance has great symbiosis with the text.

Well, right after Parsifal gets that kiss, he does sing out a guy's name.  Poor Kundry!

"Oh, yes, yes, yes! You're amazing, Amfortas - I MEAN KUNDRY!"
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 30, 2015, 03:30:02 AM
These are the things which make me suspect that Parsifal is a load of codswallop.

Do you like the music?
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Mandryka on July 30, 2015, 04:05:00 AM
Do you like the music?

Yes, I think so, it's so long since I last heard it I can't be confident. The last time I heard it was in the 1990s with Abbado in The Edinburgh Festival - a bit disppointing in fact.  I certainly wouldn't mind seeing it again, with an interesting production.

I never liked Klingsor's music, or indeed Act 2 until Parsifal arrives. I used to love the final scene.

In Nike Wagner's book she talks about a Robert Wilson production which emphasises the isolation of each character, each character trapped in his own neurotic obsessions. Amfortas isolated in his pain, Gurnemanz in the past, in memories, Kundry in some sort of idea of service . . . That comment made me think that there's a way of presentlng it which is really fresh and rather exciting. And one which brings it closer to more modern dramas like Pelleas, even Wozzeck.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: San Antone on July 30, 2015, 04:30:07 AM
Yes, I think so, it's so long since I last heard it I can't be confident. The last time I heard it was in the 1990s with Abbado in The Edinburgh Festival - a bit disppointing in fact.  I certainly wouldn't mind seeing it again, with an interesting production.

I never liked Klingsor's music, or indeed Act 2 until Parsifal arrives. I used to love the final scene.

In Nike Wagner's book she talks about a Robert Wilson production which emphasises the isolation of each character, each character trapped in his own neurotic obsessions. Amfortas isolated in his pain, Gurnemanz in the past, in memories, Kundry in some sort of idea of service . . . That comment made me think that there's a way of presentlng it which is really fresh and rather exciting. And one which brings it closer to more modern dramas like Pelleas, even Wozzeck.

I have liked the productions by Robert Wilson I've seen, a lot; I think his approach would suit this work quite well.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 30, 2015, 04:49:35 AM
Pretty much any time Tristan and Isolde sing after drinking the love potion. But I actually misshaped my previous post when I mentioned Tristan as an example of worse prose style in Wagner: in some odd way I actually like the incomprehensibility of it, it gives it much more mystery which kind of fits in Wagner's music (which obviously is superior to text, but many masterpieces in literature would have hard time competing with it). I was more trying to draw attention to it's incomprehensibility (which, like I said, I strangely like) than it being actually a bad libretto. The symbolism of the text may or may not actually mean that much but I really like that effect. In particular the part in Act II from "O sink hernieder" to Kurwenal's entrance has great symbiosis with the text.

Most interesting, thanks.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on July 30, 2015, 04:50:04 AM
. . . That comment made me think that there's a way of presentlng it which is really fresh and rather exciting. And one which brings it closer to more modern dramas like Pelleas, even Wozzeck.
I find it surprising that you don't see Parsifal as a "modern" drama...I think it's very modern (for its time and for ours)...in the way the characters are delineated--with all their contradictions--, in the way the ideas are presented (like them or not, that's another issue). And musically, I'd say it's groundbreaking; as the respected Spanish critic José Luis Téllez once stated, the prelude anticipates not only La Mer, but even Stockhausen's Momente.

A good friend of mine says that to a certain extent, Parsifal absorbs the history of western music, not only of what came before it, but also a good chunk iof what came after it. Sounds extreme as an opinion, but I do think he has a point...
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 30, 2015, 05:01:27 AM
Do you like the music?

You didn't ask me, but . . . even though I started out my awareness of Parsifal via a band transcription of the Good Friday music (to which I formed no great attachment as a result, so that for long decades my feeling towards the opera was an arguably ill-informed meh) . . . it was Parsifal which got me at last listening to Wagner's music, or I should say, to an entire Wagner opera, with that degree of sympathy which, face it, any music (even great music) needs in order to communicate with the listener.

The thin edge of the wedge for me was this Abbado recording:



And the recording I have of the complete opera is Levine conducting, from this box:



I got this box for $63, seven years ago, and it's available for even less now.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 30, 2015, 05:21:59 AM
Interesting, Karl! I actually have wondered a bit at times whether you like his music or not. IIRC (please correct me if I'm wrong), you mentioned in some thread that you can't stand the fanboys who unconditionally worship every single thing the guy ever wrote (which actually includes some of the most disgraceful and hateful prose ever written). I agree with you in that case and feel actually ashamed by remembering that I was bit of a fanboy myself when I first arrived on this forum. Okay, even back then I (of course) didn't like his racist essays except as interesting curiosities to how low a human being can go while still writing some amazing music as an artist. He's still probably my favorite composer but I do acknowledge nowadays that his operas do have longueurs. Wagner's music has been compared to a drug so I guess when I discovered Wagner as a teenager, I had my share of acid trips after all. Teenagers often being ruled by their emotions, I guess it is no wonder Wagner's emotional music took over my mind and turned me into a fanboy for a certain period of time.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 30, 2015, 05:28:13 AM
No worries!  I do understand the intoxicative power of Wagner at his best (and the narcotic properties at his weakest  8) ) . . . there have always been "bits of Wagner" which I have admired unconditionally;  I think the first two pieces I knew of his, were the Ride of the Valkyries (which, perhaps strangely, I found myself rather mixed about even at an early age, and probably without any "cultural baggage" weighing it down when I first heard it) and the Prelude to Die Meistersinger, which absolutely won me over first I heard it as a young teenager.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Mandryka on July 30, 2015, 06:35:44 AM
I find it surprising that you don't see Parsifal as a "modern" drama...I think it's very modern (for its time and for ours)...in the way the characters are delineated--with all their contradictions--, in the way the ideas are presented (like them or not, that's another issue). And musically, I'd say it's groundbreaking; as the respected Spanish critic José Luis Téllez once stated, the prelude anticipates not only La Mer, but even Stockhausen's Momente.

A good friend of mine says that to a certain extent, Parsifal absorbs the history of western music, not only of what came before it, but also a good chunk iof what came after it. Sounds extreme as an opinion, but I do think he has a point...

At the back of my mind is this idea, which may be nonsense, I don't know. That in a lot of Wagner, including Parsifal, there's a mediaevalism which to me reeks of the 19th century. The Arts and Crafts movement, pre Rapaelites, that sort of thing.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 30, 2015, 06:39:43 AM
At the back of my mind is this idea, which may be nonsense, I don't know. That in a lot of Wagner, including Parsifal, there's a mediaevalism which to me reeks of the 19th century. The Arts and Crafts movement, pre Rapaelites, that sort of thing.

That was one of the modes of the day, one likes it or (since you use the word reeks) one does not.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on July 30, 2015, 06:53:28 AM
At the back of my mind is this idea, which may be nonsense, I don't know. That in a lot of Wagner, including Parsifal, there's a mediaevalism which to me reeks of the 19th century. The Arts and Crafts movement, pre Rapaelites, that sort of thing.
I can understand that point of view, but am convinced that the medievalism (e.g. Parsifal) or mythical elements (e.g. the Ring)  in Wagner are not goals in themselves, but only means to tell stories and ideas (I insist, the fact of liking them or not is an altogether different issue) which are open to all sorts of different interpretations (and have been doing so for generations, which means there must be something to them). I think Wagner in some way trascends the 19th century, something the pre-Rapahelites for instance don't achieve, and remain "dated".
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Mandryka on July 30, 2015, 09:03:45 AM
I can understand that point of view, but am convinced that the medievalism (e.g. Parsifal) or mythical elements (e.g. the Ring)  in Wagner are not goals in themselves, but only means to tell stories and ideas (I insist, the fact of liking them or not is an altogether different issue) which are open to all sorts of different interpretations (and have been doing so for generations, which means there must be something to them). I think Wagner in some way trascends the 19th century, something the pre-Rapahelites for instance don't achieve, and remain "dated".

Yes, I can see that. In Parsifal we have a text to decode, and there is no correct interpretation. Maybe The Ring and Tristan too. That makes his work different from Verdi I suppose, and more like Kafka.

Another modern aspect is to do with using the medium to work on problems, to explore  moral and philosophical problems. I know Shakespeare did that, but I don't think 19th century people did that so much, though I could be wrong there. Dickens, Tolstoy and George Elliot had moral things to say, but their works were about leading us to answers, rather than showing the problem for all its intractable-ness(?) Contrast Shakespeare in Hamlet. Wagner's like that in The Ring and maybe elsewhere, and then it happens all the time in 20th century literature - Joyce, Proust, Döblin, Mann, maybe Broch.


Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 30, 2015, 09:06:13 AM
Yes, I can see that. In Parsifal we have a text to decode, and there is no correct interpretation. Maybe The Ring and Tristan too.

Is that "modern," or is it Author's Disorganization?  8)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Florestan on July 30, 2015, 11:42:52 AM
Some have suggested that there are homosexual overtones in Parsifal.  I can see their point;

Well, given that Richard Wagner abhorred the opposite sex and was/is famous for not having a single known affair with a woman, their point might be spot on indeed...
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: jlaurson on July 30, 2015, 11:22:58 PM
Well, given that Richard Wagner abhorred the opposite sex and was/is famous for not having a single known affair with a woman, their point might be spot on indeed...

You're tongue in cheek comment is appreciated but perhaps misplaced... as being a devout connoisseur of the female sex (knowing Cosima, I hesitate to say "weaker sex") does not therefore preclude the possibility of homo-eroticism in some form or another. We may sexualize man-man relationships in a way they were not intended, I grant you, but there are certainly strong bonds of some form of love between several male characters in several Wagner operas... most of all, perhaps, Tristan & Isolde... the one opera that you most obviously reference with your hint at his affairs. Both Marke + Tristan and, more one-sided, Kurwenal -> Tristan could easily be explored in such a light.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Mandryka on July 31, 2015, 12:13:51 AM
Tristan could easily be explored in such a light.

Go on then. Spell it out.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 31, 2015, 03:46:08 AM
A good friend of mine says that to a certain extent, Parsifal absorbs the history of western music, not only of what came before it, but also a good chunk iof what came after it.

Well, I always have thought Parsifal leitmotive sounds like the music they use in Looney Tunes (outside of What's opera, doc, obviously)... Obviously a stretch since pretty much every brass fanfare in existence could sound like Looney Tunes.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 31, 2015, 03:52:59 AM
and, more one-sided, Kurwenal -> Tristan could easily be explored in such a light.

Agreed. Stage directions in Tristan specifically mention Kurwenal lying at Tristan's feet. From real life there is of course Wagner's relationship with Ludwig, many of their letters to each other are almost impossible to see in heterosexual light, were it not for the fact that Wagner was most likely manipulating the young king (who actually was a homosexual) in order to squeeze some more money out of him.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 31, 2015, 03:59:26 AM
I do feel rather sorry for Wagner.  His was not the strongest or noblest character to start out with;  and then he becomes a leech, and (assuming that he had any qualms about that to start with) he rationalizes it away . . . because he's A Great Artist™, he deserves to leech  8)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Mandryka on July 31, 2015, 04:05:39 AM
Agreed. Stage directions in Tristan specifically mention Kurwenal lying at Tristan's feet. From real life there is of course Wagner's relationship with Ludwig, many of their letters to each other are almost impossible to see in heterosexual light, were it not for the fact that Wagner was most likely manipulating the young king (who actually was a homosexual) in order to squeeze some more money out of him.

Where's that stage direction? Or do you just mean the bit where he sinks at Tristan's feet when Tristan's dying?
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 31, 2015, 04:20:03 AM
Where's that stage direction? Or do you just mean the bit where he sinks at Tristan's feet when Tristan's dying?

I assume that's what Alberich means: Act III Scene 3, Kurwenal (severely wounded) sings, Da liegt er - hier wo ich liege (He sinks down at Tristan's feet).

That seems more the act of a faithful "dog" than a lover.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 31, 2015, 04:32:02 AM
Actually I meant the part in act 1 when Brangäne is delivering message to Tristan. When Brangäne enters, Kurwenal is at Tristan's feet. Depending on what edition of libretto you're reading, they may or may not be that elaborate. Some are shortened possibly because Wagner in true 19th century fashion over-describes everything. It's bad enough when you run into that in books, but when you actually have to stage it (and the early productions, especially those under Cosima's orders, wanted to include every single thing, leaving none for imagination and creativity) it becomes exceedingly difficult.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Mandryka on July 31, 2015, 04:40:28 AM
Like this?

(http://www.victorianweb.org/art/illustration/dumaurier/130.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 31, 2015, 04:42:50 AM
Pretty much.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ZauberdrachenNr.7 on July 31, 2015, 05:02:44 AM
Hey, no one's getting past the Parsifal Line , ooops, I guess they did! (1918 anti-German, anti-Wagner Chicago Tribune cartoon). 

Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on August 11, 2015, 12:41:03 AM
The Parsifal prodcution permièred this year at the Berliner Festtage, directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov and conducted by Daniel Barenboim, has been posted on YouTube (let's see how long it lasts there  ::) ):

https://www.youtube.com/v/yMqDgYgqvtM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMqDgYgqvtM
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on December 01, 2015, 06:16:41 AM
Klingsor as a pimp:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA2CzbksgqU (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA2CzbksgqU)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T02Lk83aaNc (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T02Lk83aaNc)
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: rw1883 on October 31, 2016, 10:22:14 AM
Hello Parsifal fans!  I'm going to bump this thread up because I'm a Parsifal nut!  I won't even go into how many recordings I have of this incredible work.  Quick question: I'm trying collect all of Kna's Parsifals at Bayreuth.  Here is what I have so far:

1951✔️(Teldec/Naxos)
1952✔️(Archipel)
1954✔️(Archipel)
1955
1956✔️(Walhall Eternity)
1957✔️(Walhall Eternity)
1958✔️(Andromeda)
1959✔️(Walhall Eternity)
1960✔️(Myto)
1961✔️(Myto)
1962✔️(Philips)
1963
1964✔️(Orfeo)

The 1963 is only available on Golden Melodrama and it's very expensive.  I'll wait for a reissue.  My question concerns the 1955 performance.  Does anyone know why this has never been available?  I've been searching for quite a while and can't find anything.  Thank you...

Paul
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Spineur on October 31, 2016, 10:50:04 AM
I have a preference for opera on DVD if the production is good.  Here this blu-ray release of Bayreuth production directed by Wolfgang Wagner is a reference in good taste.  Sinopoli does an excellent job as a conductor.


Get it before it gets OOP.
Otherwise Knapperbush 1964 CD is another great reference.

I view this opera as a quest for truth, something to which most people can relate.  An of course the music is a summit of European art.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on October 31, 2016, 01:47:12 PM
...My question concerns the 1955 performance.  Does anyone know why this has never been available?  I've been searching for quite a while and can't find anything.  Thank you...

Paul
Hello Paul. From what I've read, the 1955 perfomance has never been issued in any format. But it is likely that tapes of it are at the Bavarian Radio, as I suppose all opening nights of the '55 festival were broadcast (Orfeo has already published the Knappertsbusch Dutchman and the Cluytens Tannhäuser from that same year). But I suppose Orfeo might not see that much of a market for yet another Knapperstbusch Parsifal (even if I know you certainly are not alone among the completists looking to fill that gap  ;) ).

I myself only have the "official" 1951 (Decca) and 1962 (Philips) issues by Knappertsbusch, as (even if I acknowledge his mastery of the score) I prefer different approaches (my first and to this day "go to" version is Boulez on DG).

One thing I would like to see is a Cluytens Parsifal from Bayreuth (preferably from the "transitional" year 1965). AFAIK, that has never seen the light of day either, but it would be interesting to get to know hoy Cluytens handled this miraculous score in the brief interregnum between Knappertsbusch and Boulez. After all, we already have a document of the previous interregnum (Krauss in '53--another great performnace IMHO).

Regards,

Rafael
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: rw1883 on November 05, 2016, 01:26:51 PM
Hello Paul. From what I've read, the 1955 perfomance has never been issued in any format. But it is likely that tapes of it are at the Bavarian Radio, as I suppose all opening nights of the '55 festival were broadcast (Orfeo has already published the Knappertsbusch Dutchman and the Cluytens Tannhäuser from that same year). But I suppose Orfeo might not see that much of a market for yet another Knapperstbusch Parsifal (even if I know you certainly are not alone among the completists looking to fill that gap  ;) ).

I myself only have the "official" 1951 (Decca) and 1962 (Philips) issues by Knappertsbusch, as (even if I acknowledge his mastery of the score) I prefer different approaches (my first and to this day "go to" version is Boulez on DG).

One thing I would like to see is a Cluytens Parsifal from Bayreuth (preferably from the "transitional" year 1965). AFAIK, that has never seen the light of day either, but it would be interesting to get to know hoy Cluytens handled this miraculous score in the brief interregnum between Knappertsbusch and Boulez. After all, we already have a document of the previous interregnum (Krauss in '53--another great performnace IMHO).

Regards,

Rafael

Thank you for the info Rafael.  I do hope that someday the 1955 Kna will see the light.  And I completely agree–the Cluytens would be a great addition to the Parsifal discography!  Which performances/recordings do you have in your collection?  My collection so far:

Knappertsbusch - 1951, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964
Barenboim - Teldec
Thielemann - DG
R. Kraus - Gebhardt
C. Krauss - Gebhardt
Kegel - Berlin Classics
Levine - Decca Box (The Wagner Operas)
Levine - DG (DVD)
Gatti - Sony (DVD)
Kubelik - Arts Archives
Solti - Decca Box
Jordan - Erato
Gergiev - Mariinsky
Jochum - Living Stage
Conlon - 2002 (Paris)

Way too few!! ;D

Still some major holes to fill: Boulez, Zweden, Kempe, Levine (DG-Domingo), Goodall, Kanowski, Karajan...

Best,

Paul
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on November 05, 2016, 02:12:44 PM
I'm afraid I'm an amateur compared to you, Paul;). This is my list (alphabetically):

Pierre Boulez 1966 (Melodram) & 1970 (DG)
Reginald Goodall (ROH Heritage Series)
Hartmut Haenchen (DVD from Brussels, staged by Romeo Castellucci)
Armin Jordan (Erato, and the same perfromance on DVD--the Hans-Jürgen Syberberg film)
Herbert von Karajan (DG)
Herbert Kegel (Berlin Classics)
Hans Knappertsbusch 1951 (Decca) & 1962 (Philips)
Clemens Krauss (Andromeda)
Rafael Kubelik (Arts)
James Levine 1985 (Decca Bayreuth box)
Giuseppe Sinopoli (DVD, Wolfgang Wagner's 2nd Bayreuth staging)
Horst Stein (DVD, Wolfgang Wagner's 1st Bayreuth staging--which I saw in the theatre  :))
Christian Thielemann (DG)
Jaap van Zweden (Challenge Classics)

I used to have the Solti (Decca) on LP, but somehow I've never gotten the CDs (and I should, because of Christa Ludwig, mainly)

The Jochum looks appealing.... And I am still furious that the Stefan Herheim's staging from Bayreuth, conducted by Philippe Jordan--which I also saw live--, although filmed, was never released on DVD (rumour has it that, for some unfathomable reason, Katharina Wagner vetoed the issue >:( ). As discussed not long ago with SurprisedByBeauty, I consider this the single most rewarding evening I have ever experienced in a theatre...

Regards,
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: rw1883 on November 05, 2016, 02:49:14 PM
I'm afraid I'm an amateur compared to you, Paul;). This is my list (alphabetically):

Pierre Boulez 1966 (Melodram) & 1970 (DG)
Reginald Goodall (ROH Heritage Series)
Hartmut Haenchen (DVD from Brussels, staged by Romeo Castellucci)
Armin Jordan (Erato)
Herbert von Karajan (DG)
Herbert Kegel (Berlin Classics)
Hans Knappertsbusch 1951 (Decca) & 1962 (Philips)
Clemens Krauss (Andromeda)
Rafael Kubelik (Arts)
James Levine 1985 (Decca Bayreuth box)
Giuseppe Sinopoli (DVD, Wolfgang Wagner's 2nd Bayreuth staging)
Horst Stein (DVD, Wolfgang Wagner's 1st Bayreuth staging--which I saw in the theatre  :))
Christian Thielemann (DG)
Jaap van Zweden (Challenge Classics)

I used to have the Solti (Decca) on LP, but somehow I've never gotten the CDs (and I should, because of Christa Ludwig, mainly)

The Jochum looks appealing.... And I am still furious that the Stefan Herheim's staging from Bayreuth, conducted by Philippe Jordan--which I also saw live--, although filmed, was never released on DVD (rumour has it that, for some unfathomable reason, Katharina Wagner vetoed the issue >:( ). As discussed not long ago with SurprisedByBeauty, I consider this the single most rewarding evening I have ever experienced in a theatre...

Regards,

That's an impressive collection!!!  And to have seen the Wolfgang #1 with Stein–wow!!

I have only seen Parsifal in Seattle (2003–Ascher Fisch/François Rochaix; Ventris, Watson, Milling, Grimley) and in NYC (2013–Daniele Gatti/François Girard; Kaufmann, Dalayman, Pape, Mattei).  I'm looking forward to the next live performance wherever that may be.

And yes!–I remember reading about the Herheim/Jordan and I'm still hoping they will release it in the near future (as well as Herheim's Ring).  In the meantime, being a fan of Jordan's conducting, I'm going to order the CD from Premiere Opera ;D http://premiereopera.net/product/parsifal-by-wagner-bayreuth-2012/ (http://premiereopera.net/product/parsifal-by-wagner-bayreuth-2012/)

Best,

Paul
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on November 05, 2016, 02:58:31 PM
I was just about to recommend that site to you, Paul  .  ;) They have the '65 Cluytens, Abbado in Salzburg, Eschenbach in Bayreuth, and the 2004 Boulez, among many others. I've used them in the past (for some off the beaten track repertoire), with usually excellent results (except once--a badly edited copy of Boulez conducting Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie  :( ).

And I edited my list to include the Syberberg film (the soundtrack of which is the Armin Jordan recording). If you haven't seen it, you definitely must! It's fascinating (sometimes bizarre, but fascinating!)...

(https://ximo.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/parsifal-syberberg.jpg)

AFAIK, currently only available from Mr. Syberberg himself: http://syberberg.de/Syberberg4_2008/080408-DVD-Werk-alle.html

I missed the Girard staging from the MET when they showed it in cinemas here in Madrid. Must have been quite something to see it live (and what a great cast!).

EDIT: And, of course, as I write this, I'm inevitably listening to:


Karajan was OK a couple of days ago, but this is it! What a performance!!!!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Barbebleu on November 28, 2016, 01:34:16 PM
Thank you for the info Rafael.  I do hope that someday the 1955 Kna will see the light.  And I completely agree–the Cluytens would be a great addition to the Parsifal discography!  Which performances/recordings do you have in your collection?  My collection so far:

Knappertsbusch - 1951, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964
Barenboim - Teldec
Thielemann - DG
R. Kraus - Gebhardt
C. Krauss - Gebhardt
Kegel - Berlin Classics
Levine - Decca Box (The Wagner Operas)
Levine - DG (DVD)
Gatti - Sony (DVD)
Kubelik - Arts Archives
Solti - Decca Box
Jordan - Erato
Gergiev - Mariinsky
Jochum - Living Stage
Conlon - 2002 (Paris)

Way too few!! ;D

Still some major holes to fill: Boulez, Zweden, Kempe, Levine (DG-Domingo), Goodall, Kanowski, Karajan...

Best,

Paul

I have Parsifal from Bayreuth for every year from '51 to '72 plus '76, '85, '98 and 2012. The only Kna I am missing is the elusive '55. Others are

Buenos Aires 1969 Leinsdorf
Covent Garden 1971 Goodall
Covent Garden 2013 Pappano
Milan 1960
Munich 1964
Munich 1977 Stein
New York Met 1966
Paris 1954
Paris 1976 Stein
Rome 1950
Rome 1970
Salzburg 2013
Stockholm 1976 Segerstam
Venice 1970
Vienna 1961 Karajan

Studio
Gergiev, Goodall, Karajan, Kegel, Kubelik, Moralt, Solti and Thielemann

As you can see I'm quite fond of Parsifal myself. I'm also not too shy to admit I haven't listened to them all yet. Getting there though. I have a list in my wallet giving bare info on my Wagner operas which is why I am short on conductor details. I shall get back with the missing data.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: rw1883 on November 28, 2016, 06:48:53 PM
I have Parsifal from Bayreuth for every year from '51 to '72 plus '76, '85, '98 and 2012. The only Kna I am missing is the elusive '55. Others are

Buenos Aires 1969 Leinsdorf
Covent Garden 1971 Goodall
Covent Garden 2013 Pappano
Milan 1960
Munich 1964
Munich 1977 Stein
New York Met 1966
Paris 1954
Paris 1976 Stein
Rome 1950
Rome 1970
Salzburg 2013
Stockholm 1976 Segerstam
Venice 1970
Vienna 1961 Karajan

Studio
Gergiev, Goodall, Karajan, Kegel, Kubelik, Moralt, Solti and Thielemann

As you can see I'm quite fond of Parsifal myself. I'm also not too shy to admit I haven't listened to them all yet. Getting there though. I have a list in my wallet giving bare info on my Wagner operas which is why I am short on conductor details. I shall get back with the missing data.

Wow–that is a great collection!  I'm very interested in hearing about the Segerstam from '76.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Barbebleu on November 29, 2016, 02:32:31 AM
Wow–that is a great collection!  I'm very interested in hearing about the Segerstam from '76.

Here is a link to where I got the Segerstam.

http://operadepot.com/products/wagner-parsifal-kolbjorn-hoiseth-barbro-ericson-bengt-lundgren-erik-saeden-leif-segerstam

I think the reviewer is a bit harsh. It's not staggeringly good but it's not too bad either. The technical issues are an irritation but no more than that. It's nice to have a Scandinavian slant to this work.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: rw1883 on December 03, 2016, 01:50:52 PM
Here is a link to where I got the Segerstam.

http://operadepot.com/products/wagner-parsifal-kolbjorn-hoiseth-barbro-ericson-bengt-lundgren-erik-saeden-leif-segerstam

I think the reviewer is a bit harsh. It's not staggeringly good but it's not too bad either. The technical issues are an irritation but no more than that. It's nice to have a Scandinavian slant to this work.

Thank you!!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on March 15, 2017, 06:40:35 AM
I have recently fallen in love with Knappertsbusch's -54 Parsifal recording. This one is even better than -62. Along with Solti's magnificent recording this has to be my favorite. The only minor criticism I could think of is that Titurel's singer, Theo Adam, was only 28 when participating in this, thus making him much younger than Hotter who plays Amfortas, Titurel's son. But still, it works much better than one would think.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on March 28, 2017, 05:56:30 AM
It seems in Wolfram's epic, a squire calls Parzival a goose for not asking the healing question (the question is: "Sir, why do you suffer so?"). This in turn is based on even older poem by  Chrétien de Troyes where the question is different ("Who is served by the Grail?").So that explains Gurnemanz's goose comment. Still not less cringe-worthy, though, and the reference is very illogical in any case since Wagner decided to dispense with the "healing question" entirely in his handling of the myth and instead focused on the importance of recovering the spear.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 28, 2017, 06:05:48 AM
It seems in Wolfram's epic, a squire calls Parzival a goose for not asking the healing question (the question is: "Sir, why do you suffer so?"). This in turn is based on even older poem by  Chrétien de Troyes where the question is different ("Who is served by the Grail?").So that explains Gurnemanz's goose comment. Still not less cringe-worthy, though, and the reference is very illogical in any case since Wagner decided to dispense with the "healing question" entirely in his handling of the myth and instead focused on the importance of recovering the spear.

Interesting, thanks!
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: Barbebleu on April 05, 2017, 12:32:36 AM
I have recently fallen in love with Knappertsbusch's -54 Parsifal recording. This one is even better than -62. Along with Solti's magnificent recording this has to be my favorite. The only minor criticism I could think of is that Titurel's singer, Theo Adam, was only 28 when participating in this, thus making him much younger than Hotter who plays Amfortas, Titurel's son. But still, it works much better than one would think.

This is a good Parsifal. You might want to have a listen to Kna's final outing in 1964 with Jon Vickers in the title role. At the moment this is my favourite.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on May 09, 2017, 03:22:38 AM
Cross-posted from the "New Releases" thread:

And more Wagner...last year's new production of Parsifal from Bayreuth:

(https://media1.jpc.de/image/w220/front/0/0044007353509.jpg)
Announced for July 21st.
I find it rather sad that the current management in Bayreuth has given in to the fashion by which anything is immortalized and made available on DVD immediately after it's been given in the theatre. One of the beauties of the festival is that productions are given usually for at least five summers, and can therefore be polished and improved if necessary. With these issues on DG, what we get is how a production starts out, not the end result.
Title: Re: Wagner's Parsifal
Post by: ritter on April 11, 2020, 03:36:51 AM
The Stefan Herheim staging of Parsifal, which ran in Bayreuth from 2008 to 2012, and has by now achieved almost legendary status, has once again been posted on YouTube (one video per act). It’s the live broadcast from 11 August 2012, conducted by Philippe Jordan (he took over the baton that year from Daniele Gatti, who had been at the helm since the first run 4 years earlier).  For anyone interested in watching this, I’d suggest they do so quickly, as it’s likely it’ll be pulled down soon (due to copyright issues).

Why the Bayreuth management never allowed this to be commercially released remains a mystery. Granted, the effect is not the same as what could be experienced in the theatre, but that’s true for almost all opera productions, and this landmark staging—Bayreuth at its considerable best— merited the widest exposure.

Act I:
https://www.youtube.com/v/DXaGWCHsQBA

Act II:
https://www.youtube.com/v/KYSa1jSpNC4

Act III:
https://www.youtube.com/v/jsRzlAXYV1w