Wagner: Parsifal - Brilioth, Shuard, Talvela, Nimsgern, Bailey, Te Kanawa; Horenstein. London, 1973
Listen to a Sample:
Top to bottom, this is a remarkable performance of Parsifal. Helge Brilioth’s nordic sound is ideal in the title part, bringing Italianate bravado, Mozartian lyricism and, of course, Wagnerian heft. Amy Shuard brings a human quality to Kundry which is refreshing in a role that in the wrong hands can veer towards camp. Her ”Ich sah das Kind” is particularly beautiful. Martti Talvela was one of the few basses who had both gravitas and vocal beauty and treats the audience to both as Gurnemanz. Norman Bailey may have found his ideal role as Klingsor. The elegance that he brings to the part creates an interesting ambiguity as vocally he seems indistinguishable from any of the knights. This poses the question why Klingsor should be denied the redemption that he seeks/sought as feverishly as Kundry. The rest of the cast is stocked with great singers including Siegmund Nimsgern as Amfortas, Forbes Robinson as Titurel, and if you keep your ears open you will be treated to the Alto voice and Flower Maiden of a young Kiri Te Kanawa. The one draw-back is that the sound is only fair.