[Met Performance] CID:162360
Parsifal {187} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/23/1953.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 23, 1953


PARSIFAL {187}
Wagner-Wagner

Parsifal................Set Svanholm
Kundry..................Astrid Varnay
Amfortas................Hans Hotter
Gurnemanz...............Dezs÷ Ernster
Klingsor................Gerhard Pechner
Titurel.................Luben Vichey
Voice...................Jean Madeira
First Esquire...........Genevieve Warner
Second Esquire..........Mildred Miller
Third Esquire...........Paul Franke
Fourth Esquire..........Gabor Carelli
First Knight............Thomas Hayward
Second Knight...........Osie Hawkins
Flower Maidens: Lucine Amara, Laura Castellano, Hertha Glaz,
Anne Bollinger, Paula Lenchner, Margaret Roggero

Conductor...............Fritz Stiedry

Director................Herbert Graf
Designer................Joseph Urban

Parsifal received three performances this season.

Review of Howard Taubman in The New York Times

'PARSIFAL' AT MET IS FIRST OF SEASON

Varnay, Svanholm, Hotter and Vichegonov in Main Roles as Fritz Stiedry Conducts

Most of the perennial favorites in the opera repertoire evoke special feeling in their admirers, but none more special than "Parsifal."

Wagner's music-drama was done for the first time this season at the Metropolitan Opera House last night and, even though it was a regular subscription audience and not a dedicated gathering such as attends a performance of the work on Good Friday afternoon, there was the same air of hushed devotion.

This audience heard and saw a performance that had the scope and grandeur traditional with the Metropolitan's handling of ''Parsifal." The decors may be showing their age, but they retain something of the spaciousness and magnificence this vast musical design must have.

Some day the settings will be renewed, and it is to be hoped that the Metropolitan will be bold enough to follow some of the ideas instituted by Wieland Wagner at Bayreuth two years ago. That "Parsifal" did away with literalism almost entirely; literalism and "Parsifal" do not belong together anyhow.

Fritz Stiedry conducted a broadly paced performance last night. He gave the music a chance to unfold with all its burden of emotion and faith. The orchestra played with resourcefulness and, if you have satisfactory orchestral work in "Parsifal," you have the indispensable foundation for a good interpretation.

It must be said that not many of the leading voices were in the best of form. A notable exception was Astrid Varnay, who sang with style and richness of tone. Her Kundry may lack sensuousness, but it is musical.

Hans Hotter has the intelligence and background for Amfortas, but his voice is unhappily variable in quality. Set Svanholm makes a manly and moving Parsifal in appearance, but his tones tend to be without much lyricism. Dezso Ernster had some effective moments as Gurnemanz, but for the most part it was a struggle.

Lubomir Vichegonov did a fine job with Titurel. Gerhard Pechner was a conventional Klingsor. In the lesser roles, there was some good singing and the chorus made a valuable contribution.

But "Parsifal" is "Parsifal." It is sure of its public and its appeal. When Mr. Bing tried one year to leave it out of the repertoire at the Easter season, he found out that a manager at the Metropolitan could not make all the decisions and he had to restore it to its traditional place.



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