[Met Performance] CID:125410
Parsifal {140} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/8/1939.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 8, 1939 Matinee


PARSIFAL {140}
Wagner-Wagner

Parsifal................Lauritz Melchior
Kundry..................Kirsten Flagstad
Amfortas................Friedrich Schorr
Gurnemanz...............Emanuel List
Klingsor................Adolf Vogel [Last performance]
Titurel.................Douglas Beattie
Voice...................Doris Doe
First Esquire...........Natalie Bodanya
Second Esquire..........Helen Olheim
Third Esquire...........Karl Laufkötter
Fourth Esquire..........Erich Witte
First Knight............George Cehanovsky
Second Knight...........Louis D'Angelo
Flower Maidens: Marita Farell, Irra Petina, Helen Olheim,
Hilda Burke, Thelma Votipka, Doris Doe

Conductor...............Artur Bodanzky

Director................Leopold Sachse
Designer................Joseph Urban

Parsifal received four performances this season.

Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times

'PARSIFAL' OFFERED AT METROPOLITAN

Sixth Matinee Performance of Wagner Cycle - Title Role Sung by Melchior

BODANZKY IS CONDUCTOR

Kirsten Flagstad Appears in Part of Kundry - Vogel Interprets Klingsor

The good fairy of inspired interpretation does not always visit at the best rehearsed performances, but it may be said that the special performance of "Parsifal" given yesterday afternoon as the sixth offering of the matinee Wagner cycle in the Metropolitan Opera House was one of singular impressiveness. The occasion had to a very unusual degree the quality of atmosphere, so important to this mystical opera or "sacred festival play." The mood was communicated and it enveloped with beauty the individual interpretations. The drama moved at a grave pace, but its progress never sagged. It was intensified by the admirable individual performances of the leading figures of the cast.

The complex task of the interpreter of Kundry found the singer in superb voice, of which the quality seemed to change with the transformations of the character. Thus the tone itself, aside from the wisely planned stage business, told the story. The spiritual and the demoniac were revealed, and this with uncommon intensity. Mr. Melchior's Parsifal, a character in which he is especially fortunate, was in part a human being, in part a hieratic and symbolic figure. In this it follows closely the original Wagnerian conception, in the tradition of which it is steeped.

But the virtues of this performance do not lie only in the appearances of the principal singers. Mr. Vogel's Klingsor is the best the Metropolitan has offered in seasons. It has not only dramatic force but the necessary vocal substance and impact to make it effective. The most human of all the characters, that of Amfortas, is conveyed in its rich humanity of suffering by Mr. Schorr, and Mr. List's Gurnemanz is of a gentleness and wisdom enhanced by the smoothness of his vocal performance.

The opera depends much, of course, upon the singing of the various choirs in the temple scenes. The beauty of the effect was especially moving to those who heard and witnessed the august ceremonies. Mr. Bodanzky's orchestral reading was magisterial, luminous in its coloring, incisive in accent and in its reflection of the stage.




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