[Met Performance] CID:268140
Parsifal {236} Metropolitan Opera House: 04/5/1982.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
April 5, 1982


PARSIFAL {236}
Wagner-Wagner

Parsifal................Peter Hofmann
Kundry..................Mignon Dunn
Amfortas................Thomas Stewart
Gurnemanz...............Jerome Hines
Klingsor................Morley Meredith
Titurel.................Ara Berberian
Voice...................Batyah Godfrey Ben-David
First Esquire...........Elizabeth Volkman
Second Esquire..........Claudia Catania
Third Esquire...........Charles Anthony
Fourth Esquire..........Dana Talley
First Knight............Michael Best
Second Knight...........Richard Vernon
Flower Maidens: Eleanor Bergquist, Louise Wohlafka, Elizabeth Volkman,
Betsy Norden, Loretta Di Franco, Isola Jones

Conductor...............James Levine

Production..............Nathaniel Merrill
Designer................Robert O'Hearn
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler
Choreographer...........Milenko Banovitch

Parsifal received six performances this season.

Review of Harriett Johnson in the New York Post

Met's 'Parsifal' triumphs

TALENTED TENOR DEBUTS IN TITLE ROLE

With Peter Hofmann singing the role of Parsifal here for the first time, the Metropolitan Opera has a sexy, athletic young tenor for the "absolutely pure" one.

He looks like tennis star Bjorn Borg, and he adds a charisma that stands the test of analysis. As excellent singer and actor, Hofmann will encourage the operatic cult to forget the reasons and just sum up that "he's fantastic."

Wagner's "Parsifal," named by its composer, "A Sacred Festival Drama," returned the other night to prove in performance what Gurnemanz, Knight of the Holy Grail, says of Monsalvat, the Knight's distant, mythical home: "Here Time and Space are One."

James Levine, the Met music director, led the work as if he believed that. The
performance began at 7 and lasted almost 5-1/2 hours, including two intermissions.
Yet the extended spaciousness with its seemingly endless threads of sound hopefully purified us all.

The interpretation was dedicated and noble. It generated a mystical splendor that during Act III which takes place on Good Friday, became a sympathetic companion of the Easter season.

Parsifal, a union of Arthurian and other legends with the Christian ethic, deals with people who are symbols. They represent the forces of good and evil.

As Klingsor, "The Enemy of Good," Morley Meredith has perhaps the crowning role of his Met career. In the Nathaniel Merrill production, with sets and costumes by Robert O'Hearn Meredith is chalk-white from the top of his head until his flame-colored costume takes over with its long trek downward to his feet. High on the ramparts of his luridly "Enchanted Castle," he was a dominating force of evil both in his singing and acting.

The appearing and disappearing projections moving, on occasion, from a few misty pillars to a vaulted cathedral, evoke the ideas and emotions of the singers.

Jerome Hines as Gurnemanz is a bulwark of faith, singing with a richness that reflects the ideas his sterling character represents. Thomas Stewart as the repentant, wounded Amfortas gave a convincing interpretation. Ara Berberian as Titurel, Amfortas' aging father, who, mourning his son's lapse from grace, urges him to uncover the Grail, did so in appropriate basso sonority.

As Kundry, who along with Amfortas, symbolizes humanity with its conflicting urges toward good and evil, Mignon Dunn, tentative in her singing, was more convincing as penitent than when transformed by Klingsor's power into, supposed/y, the essence of seduction.

Besides its holy Knights of the Grail, Parsifal also has four dedicated Esquires, and alluring flower maidens who try unsuccessfully to seduce "the pure one." Whether it is error or repentance expressed, Wagner's genius triumphs.



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