[Met Performance] CID:133130
Parsifal {152} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 02/27/1942.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 27, 1942 Matinee


PARSIFAL {152}
Wagner-Wagner

Parsifal................Lauritz Melchior
Kundry..................Kerstin Thorborg
Amfortas................Julius Huehn
Gurnemanz...............Alexander Kipnis
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............John Garris [Debut]
Second Knight...........John Gurney
Flower Maidens: Eleanor Steber, Irra Petina, Helen Olheim,
Marita Farell, Maxine Stellman, Lucielle Browning

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

Director................Désiré Defrère
Designer................Joseph Urban

Parsifal received three performances this season.


Review of Mark Shubart in PM

The Met's first "Parsifal" of the season Friday afternoon brought with it several innovations. The most important was Kerstin Thorborg's first Kundry at the Met. Kundry is one of the most difficult roles in Wagnerian opera to interpret, so Mme. Thorborg's first go at it might have been only fair. It wasn't. It was one of the best I've ever heard.

The first thought that springs to mind is how did she compare with Kirsten Flagstad, who has been handling the assignment at the Met for the past few seasons. The answer is that Mme. Thorborg's Kundry was entirely different from her predecessor's and, in some ways more arresting. Mme. Flagstad has the edge as far as vocal equipment is concerned. But Thorborg brought to the role a new interpretation that, if nothing else, makes Kundry a more understandable character.

Flagstad's Kundry is a repressed, statuesque creature who seethes, but never boils over. Thorborg sees Kundry as a natural-born woman who screams loudly when she's afraid, swings her hips in the seduction scene and crumples up when she's repentant. Flagstad's Kundry is a character from a stately passion play. Thorborg's is from a flesh-and-blood drama.

Other innovations were less important, but no less pleasant. The Met trotted out a new group of flower maidens who were a great improvement over last year's crop as far as shapeliness is concerned. They sang prettily, too. Then there were little touches in staging which added to the effectiveness of the piece, such as having Gurnemanz, beautifully sung by Alexander Kipnis, discover Kundry at the edge of the stage in the beginning of the third act, instead of completely off-stage. It helped the audience understand what was going on.

Aside from innovations, the Met's standbys performed smoothly and well. Lauritz Melchior as Parsifal was in excellent voice. Julius Huehn was a finely tortured Arnfortas and Erich Leinsdorf didn't allow the performance to drag.

All in all it was a moving, sensitive performance and one of the Met's best. There will be only one other "Parsifal" this season, and that will be on Apr. 1 for the benefit of the Music School of the Henry Street Settlement. If it's as good as last Friday's it will benefit you, too.



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