Wagner: Parsifal - Uhl, Ludwig, Höngen, Hotter, Wächter, Berry, Janowitz, Güden; Karajan. Wien, 1961
Listen to a Sample:
- The conceit of this production is that it uses two different Kundrys, Christa Ludwig in the Flower Garden scene and Elisabeth Höngen in all the other scenes. Ludwig is red-hot in her Act II scene; (Perhaps the decision to split the role was made to allow her the ability to husband her resources for when it really counts.)
- As Gurnemanz, Hans Hotter creates a fully realized, three-dimension character beyond the "kindly old man" trope that so many of his colleagues have leaned on over the years. His rebuke of Parsifal at the end of Act I is particularly chilling and hints at the fact that Gurnemanz is as human as everyone else.
- As Amfortas, Eberhard Wächter conveys viriitilty as well as visceral suffering.
- The ensemble of Flower Maidens assembled for this production, including Gundula Janowitz, Hilde Güden, Anneliese Rothenberger and Biserka Cvejic, is about as good as it gets.
- In the 60s any time Karajan conducted an opera it was a major event and this evening was no exception. He brings a transparent quality to the score as well as insisting on clear rhythms and articulation from the cast.
- None to mention.