Wagner: Parsifal - Cox, Shuard, Crass, Stewart, Ridderbusch, McIntyre; Boulez. Bayreuth, 1968
Listen to a Sample:
After having heard so many slow (or I suppose I should say "broad") Parsifals, I have to say it was very refreshing to hear Boulez's crisp approach to the score. Parsifal is an opera that should have a feeling of existing in suspended animation, however, Boulez's brisk tempi give a naturalism and almost conversational rhythm to the vocal lines as well as capturing the youthful energy of the title character. Jean Cox, in my opinion, never got the recognition that he deserved in the heldentenor roles. His voice may not have had star-quality, but his approach in Wagner was always tasteful and his voice managed well with the demands of those roles. Amy Shuard is a wild Kundry without descending into caricature. Franz Crass's suave voice gives Gurnemanz a welcome youthful quality that you don't often hear in this role (René Pape being a present-day exception.) The cast is rounded out by Thomas Stewart as a heroic Amfortas and Donald McIntyre as Klingsor. The sound is excellent.