[Met Performance] CID:187740
Parsifal {208} Metropolitan Opera House: 04/7/1961.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
April 7, 1961


PARSIFAL {208}

Parsifal................Ramon Vinay
Kundry..................Irene Dalis
Amfortas................Hermann Uhde
Gurnemanz...............Jerome Hines
Klingsor................Gerhard Pechner
Titurel.................William Wilderman
Voice...................Mignon Dunn
First Esquire...........Mildred Allen
Second Esquire..........Helen Vanni
Third Esquire...........Charles Anthony
Fourth Esquire..........Robert Nagy
First Knight............Gabor Carelli
Second Knight...........Louis Sgarro
Flower Maidens: Laurel Hurley, Teresa Stratas, Helen Vanni
Lucille Kailer, Joan Wall, Margaret Roggero

Conductor...............Karl Böhm

Review of Robert Sabin in the May 1961 issue of Musical America

The Metropolitan can now boast of another memorable Kundry in the person of Irene Dalis, who was heard for the first time in the role at the season's last performance of "Parsifal." This role, which Wagner himself considered to be his most difficult, requires not only a musician of the highest rank, but a subtle and powerful actress. And all this Miss Dalis proved to be, in a performance that held the audience breathless and won her a stormy ovation at the end of Act II.

Like her illustrious predecessors in the part, Kerstin Thorborg and Astrid Varnay, Miss Dalis was able to achieve convincingly the transformation from the tortured, ambiguous, wild creature of Act I to the terrible instrument of magic and vengefulness in Act II, with her revulsions of feeling that call for an incredible gamut of expression. Like them, she was radiant with a mysterious loveliness and at the same time subtly menacing. And the beauty of her singing and gesture always sprang from the music and text. Nothing was superimposed.

As if inspired by Miss Dalis, Mr. Vinay gave by far the best performance I have heard from him in years. Here was a Parsifal that one could believe in and not a butter-tub, impervious to spiritual agonies! And never has Mr. Hines (perhaps the most eloquent Gurnemanz on the operatic stage today) sung more magnificently. Nor should Mr. Uhde's poignantly acted Amfortas go unpraised; here again is an artist of the first water. Though not of this stature, the Klingsor of Mr. Pechner is a vivid figure. The others, too, were inspired.

Karl Böhm's "Parsifal" is more "secular" and vehement than Stiedry's or Knappertsbusch's, but it is a glowing conception. Thanks to Miss Dalis and her fellow singers, and to Mr. Böhm and the orchestra, we were able to sense this miraculous work in all its unearthly beauty.



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