[Met Performance] CID:137330
Parsifal {159} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/29/1944.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 29, 1944


PARSIFAL {159}

Parsifal................Emery Darcy
Kundry..................Astrid Varnay
Amfortas................Herbert Janssen
Gurnemanz...............Emanuel List
Klingsor................Walter Olitzki
Titurel.................Nicola Moscona
Voice...................Margaret Harshaw
First Esquire...........Marita Farell
Second Esquire..........Lucielle Browning
Third Esquire...........John Garris
Fourth Esquire..........John Dudley
First Knight............George Cehanovsky
Second Knight...........Osie Hawkins
Flower Maidens: Lucielle Browning, Christina Carroll, Marita Farell,
Irene Jessner, Mona Paulee, Maxine Stellman

Conductor...............Emil Cooper

Review of Jerome D. Bohm in the Herald Tribune

Emery Darcy Sings Title Role in "Parsifal" at the Metropolitan

Takes Role for First Time Here; Kundry's Music Sung by Astrid Varnay

The second presentation of the season of Wagner's "Parsifal" at the Metropolitan Opera House last night brought with it the first assumptions of the title role by Emery Darcy and the role of Kundry by Astrid Varnay. Herbert Janssen offered his first impersonation of Amfortas of the season and the otherwise familiar principals were Emanuel List as Gurnemanz and Walter Olitzki as Klingsor. Emil Cooper conducted.

Mr. Darcy, who has hitherto only appeared here in minor roles, must be credited with an astounding achievement in his delineation of the character of Parsifal, one of the most arduous of Wagner's heroic parts. Not only is he slender and personable, the only credible Parsifal to gaze upon, excepting one, I have ever seen, and an excellent actor as well, but he sang his music with a consistent beauty and freedom of tone which were quite extraordinary. His tenor voice is a warmly vibrant one, most appealing in texture, and his singing was highly expressive, poetic or poignant as the occasion demanded. One will not soon forget his anguished cry, "Amfortas die Wunde," beginning the visionary pages following Kundry's kiss. It would seem that the Metropolitan's problem in finding another heroic tenor in addition to Mr. Melchior for Wagnerian roles has at last been solved.

The Kundry of Miss Varnay was not quite so felicitous an accomplishment, although it was in many ways an estimable one. The music Wagner penned for this role makes cruel demands on the voice which Miss Varnay was not always able to meet with more than moderate success. Her top tones were nearly always strident and, while much of her singing in the middle register was more agreeable, her manner of squeezing her tones for dramatic purposes was ruinous to the vocal line. Her portrayal was more convincing in its intenser episodes than in those which require alluring singing and her most telling work as an actress was vouchsafed as the penitential, silent Kundry of the last act.

Amfortas is one of Mr. Janssen's finest characterizations and he sang with affecting pathos. Mr. List did a good deal of unsteady singing in the first act, but his tones were less wobbly in the last act and his delineation of Gurnemanz was not without its impressive touches. Mr. Cooper's conception of the score remains a largely pedestrian one; the mysticism of "Parsifal" eludes him completely.



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