[Met Performance] CID:177490
Parsifal {201} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/20/1958.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 20, 1958


PARSIFAL {201}
Wagner-Wagner

Parsifal................Ramon Vinay
Kundry..................Martha M÷dl
Amfortas................Mack Harrell [Last performance]
Gurnemanz...............Jerome Hines
Klingsor................Gerhard Pechner
Titurel.................William Wilderman
Voice...................BelÚn Amparan
First Esquire...........Madeline Chambers
Second Esquire..........Margaret Roggero
Third Esquire...........Charles Anthony
Fourth Esquire..........Gabor Carelli
First Knight............Robert Nagy
Second Knight...........Osie Hawkins
Flower Maidens: Laurel Hurley, Rosalind Elias, Helen Vanni
Heidi Krall, Emilia Cundari, Margaret Roggero

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

Director................Herbert Graf
Staged by...............Nathaniel Merrill
Designer................Leo Kerz

Parsifal received two performances this season.

Review of Robert Sabin in the April 1958 issue of Musical America

"After this, what are we all but a lot of mandolin strummers and dilettanti? . . . This terrific music reduces us to nothingness." Though it happened to be the score of "Tristan" which Puccini was playing through, when he burst out with this confessional tribute, "Parsifal" was his favorite. And every year, when the Metropolitan brings us this unique work, Wagner's genius shines more brightly than ever, bringing into the opera house a spirit which had not dwelt there before and drawing people of the most diversified tastes and backgrounds under its spell.

At this performance, the season's first, four of the artists were heard in their roles for the first time at the Metropolitan: Ramon Vinay, as Parsifal; Martha Moedl as Kundry;
William Wilderman, as Titurel; and Robert Nagy, as the First Knight of the Grail.

It was wonderful to have a Parsifal and a Kundry who understood so profoundly the subtle psychological implications of Wagner's text and music. Although Mr. Vinay had his troubles, vocally, there was never a moment when he was not completely in character; and when he burst out with that searing cry, "Amfortas! Die Wunde!" one sensed the worlds of feeling behind it.

Equally masterly was Miss Moedl's portrayal of the three Kundrys-the disheveled wild woman of Act I, the magnetic temptress of Act II, and the humble penitent of Act III. And she, too, built to almost unbearable intensity the celebrated outcry: "Ich sah-Ihn-Ihn-und-lachte ů.

Gurnemanz has always been one of Jerome Hines's best roles, for he has not only the mighty voice for it but the wellspring of religious conviction that inspires him in the Good Friday scene to transcendent performance. Mack Harrell was a dignified and touching Amfortas, but too pale of voice and gesture to give the role its full impact. Mr. Wilderman sang expressively, if a bit too aggressively for a voice from the tomb; and Mr. Nagy acquitted himself well.

Gerhard Pechner was the Klingsor, and in other roles were Belen Amparan. Osie Hawkins, Madelaine Chambers, Margaret Roggero, Charles Anthony and Gabor Carelli. The Flower Maidens, led by Laurel Hurley, Rosalind Elias. Helen Vanni, Emilia Cundari, Heidi Krall and Miss Roggero, sang beautifully.

In no opera is the spirit more important than in "Parsifal" and, even though the chorus onstage had some perilous moments and the orchestral brasses hit a few clinkers, the music always glowed and soared, thanks to Fritz Stiedry.



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