[Met Performance] CID:83480
Parsifal {101} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/3/1923.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 3, 1923 Matinee


PARSIFAL {101}

Parsifal................Curt Taucher
Kundry..................Barbara Kemp
Amfortas................Clarence Whitehill
Gurnemanz...............Michael Bohnen
Klingsor................Gustav Schützendorf
Titurel.................William Gustafson
Voice...................Marion Telva
First Esquire...........Ellen Dalossy
Second Esquire..........Myrtle Schaaf
Third Esquire...........George Meader
Fourth Esquire..........Pietro Audisio
First Knight............Angelo Badà
Second Knight...........Louis D'Angelo
Flower Maiden: Marie Sundelius, Grace Anthony, Raymonde Delaunois,
Laura Robertson, Marie Tiffany, Marion Telva

Conductor...............Artur Bodanzky

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Herald

MME. KEMP IN 'PARSIFAL' HAS SECOND ROLE IN OPERA HERE

Has Moments of Real Impressiveness as Kundry - Michael Bohnen, Another Newcomer, Makes Fine Impression as Gurnemanz

The matinee subscribers at the Metropolitan Opera House had the treat of their lives yesterday afternoon when "Parsifal" was presented for their honorable consideration. It has been the custom to keep the sacred festival play sacred and to perform it as a pious specialty outside the subscription list. And this is entirely in harmony with Wagner's own attitude toward his last creation. If he had lived he might have made even clearer his views.

Mr. Gatti-Casazza, however, proceeds along lines not contemplated by Richard Wagner. For example he not infrequently produces new operas at matinees, thereby submitting their merits to the judgment of the afternoon habitués of the theater. It was therefore not at all astonishing that the general director unfolded the story of the guileless Fool yesterday.

The performance gave the matinee goers the opportunity to hear and see the two new singers who claimed public favor on Thursday evening by their vigorous doings in the "Mona Lisa" of Schillings. Mme. Barbara Kemp was the Kundry and Michael Bohnen the Gurnemanz. Mme. Kemp put much earnest effort into her impersonation of the temptress. There were moments of real impressiveness in her portrayal, but on the whole it did not seem that the role brought into play her most effective possessions. Her tones were best in the lowest part of her scale. Elsewhere they were generally unsteady, and her method of production revealed the use of much sheer strength. In the second act she performed the stage business intelligently but without any subtlety of suggestion. Her passionate outbursts revealed what is commonly called temperament and her personality was interesting.

As Gurnemanz Mr. Bohnen sounded a distinctly individual note. His conception of the part was that Gurnemanz was a man of exceedingly sensitive feeling, with emotions lying close to the surface and quickly disclosed with a comprehensive tenderness which led him to embrace and caress every one from the wounded king to the erring Parsifal. He carried out this conception with much variety of action and with a vocal style which ran from a gentle parlando all the way across the spaces to a richly and finely sustained cantilena. His Gurnemanz was consistent and very human. It was rich in theatrical significance and it was musical. Mr. Whitehill was admirable as Amfortas.

The other members of the cast call for no special comment. Mr. Taucher as Parsifal repeated what he has done before and Mr. Schützendorf as Klingsor was satisfactory. The flower maidens sang tolerably and the orchestra played admirably. Those who attend "Parsifal" performances frequently doubtless wish that Mr. Gatti-Casazza had equipped the festival drama with new scenery. There is room for improvement in the pictorial presentation of the work, and it is almost safe to say that it will not be long before it is forthcoming.



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