Wagner: Parsifal - Vickers, Denize, Moll, Adam, Bastin; Stein. Paris, 1976
Listen to a Sample:
It is hard to compare the Parsifal of Jon Vickers against any of his colleagues. Both, with respect to his artistry and his voice he was of a completely different mold. That said, it is a shame that he did not leave more documents of this role because it suits both his voice and his temperament extremely well. A well known heldentenor once remarked to me, rather ungenerously and perhaps with a little bitterness, that he felt that every role Vickers ever did seemed like a biblical character and that he never worried about him at the end of Peter Grimes because he just assumed that he would be able to walk across the channel to France. While this may have been motivated more out of jealousy, it does distill an aspect of his artistry which in the case of Parsifal obviously translates very well. The anguish that he expresses for Amfortas in Act II is incredibly primal and brutal. He is joined by the fine mezzo Nadine Denize who seems to relish singing both the highs and lows of this role both in both dynamics, pitch. Kurt Moll is both avuncular and noble as Gurnemanz and Theo Adam does well as Amfortas even if his voice lacks some of the beauty it possessed in the sixties. Horst Stein once again gives a sensitive and nuanced performance. Will someone please explain to me why his name is never mentioned among the great Wagner conductors? The sound is pristine.