[Met Performance] CID:131540
Parsifal {150} Metropolitan Opera House: 04/9/1941.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
April 9, 1941


PARSIFAL {150}
Wagner-Wagner

Parsifal................Lauritz Melchior
Kundry..................Kirsten Flagstad
Amfortas................Herbert Janssen
Gurnemanz...............Emanuel List
Klingsor................Walter Olitzki
Titurel.................Nicola Moscona
Voice...................Doris Doe
First Esquire...........Marita Farell
Second Esquire..........Helen Olheim
Third Esquire...........Karl Laufkötter
Fourth Esquire..........John Dudley
First Knight............George Cehanovsky
Second Knight...........Mack Harrell
Flower Maidens: Eleanor Steber, Irra Petina, Helen Olheim,
Marita Farell, Maxine Stellman, Lucielle Browning

Conductor...............Erich Leinsdorf

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

Parsifal received two performances this season.

Review of Howard Taubman in The New York Times

'PARSIFAL' GIVEN AT METROPOLITAN

Wagner Work Heard in Annual Holy Week Performance to Assist Music School

FLAGSTAD IN KUNDRY ROLE

Lauritz Melchior Sings Title Part - List and Herbert Janssen in Cast

The Metropolitan Opera waited until after its regular season had ended to bring Wagner's "Parsifal" to the stage, but there was nothing unusual about this procedure. "Parsifal" is regularly reserved for Holy Week. Last night's presentation was the first of two Holy Week performances of what Wagner called his "consecrational festival play"; the second will be the Good Friday matinee. The performance last night, for the benefit of the Music School of the Henry Street Settlement, drew a packed house, and there was the usual silence at the end of the first and third acts with applause for the singers at the end of the second and for the conductor at the beginning of the third.

It was a performance that had many profound virtues, not least of which was the development and maturing of Erich Leinsdorf's conducting. But the overwhelming impression of the evening was made by Kirsten Flagstad in the role of Kundry. The Norwegian soprano seems to have tapped the fountain of youth. Her voice last night had an opulence and plenitude that she herself has seldom matched. That in itself would have been enough to make her singing exciting. But Miss Flagstad achieves Kundry as a rounded character, communicating the conflicting motivations of one of Wagner's most complex creations. Her Kundry ranks with her "Goetterdaemmerung" Bruennhilde, which is almost the last word.

As Parsifal, Lauritz Melchior was at his best. His voice had a fresh, ringing quality in the second act, and he companioned Miss Flagstad in the great duet as one fine artist should another. In the last act his characterization took on depth and compassion, as it must. It was a moving and searching performance.

Emanuel List gave his usual impressive performance in the role of Gurnemanz, which requires endurance as well as musicianship. Herbert Janssen was the Amfortas, singing with comprehension, though his voice was too light in texture to do full justice to the role. Nicola Moscona was a pale Titurel. Walter Olitzki's Klingsor was rather obvious.

There were valuable contributions from Doris Doe, George Cehanovsky, Mack Harrell, Marita Farell, Helen Olheim, Karl Laufkoetter, John Dudley, Eleanor Steber, Irra Petina, Maxine Stellman and Lucielle Browning in lesser roles.




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