Wagner: Parsifal - Vickers, Ericson, Hotter, Stewart, Neidlinger; Knappertsbusch. Bayreuth, 1964


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Few conductors have the same kind of instant association with one work as Hans Knappertsbusch did with Parsifal. It is impossible to discuss interpretations of this work without mentioning his.  A brisk performance this is not, however Knappertsbusch possessed the unique ability to take a broad tempo and as opposed to making it sound turgid and lacking in momentum, he was able to convince the audience that time had come to a complete standstill.  Jon Vickers sings the title part.  Christian martyrs seemed to be his specialty and this role is no exception.  Just like his Tristan, Vickers was able to make a characters suffering viscerally palpable to the audience unlike any other tenor.  Hans Hotter uses the burnished quality that his voice acquired in his later years to great effect as Gurnemanz as well as honing his experience as legendary Lieder singer towards creating many wonderfully nuanced and intimate moments throughout.  Thomas Stewart was at the height of his powers in 1964 and his Amfortas is both virile and anguished.  Barbro Ericson's Kundry is a little more aloof and mysterious than Irene Dalis' approach in  Act I and the beginning of Act II but as her character goes through its transformation when she witnesses Parsifal's pity of Amfortas, she begins to reveal Kundry's inner life making the character seem more human.  The sound is excellent.

OD 10570-4