Wagner: Parsifal - Vickers, Shuard, Frick, Bailey, Langdon, Te Kanawa; Goodall. London, 1971
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Although Reginald Goodall will always be known for his involvement in Sadler's Wells’ legendary English Ring Cycle, this recording asserts, in my opinion, that Parsifal was the perfect match for this unique maestro. The broad tempos that he uses in the Ring certainly go a long way to create an epic feel for the work, but they also tend to sap the energy out of the more action-packed scenes. Parsifal, on the other hand, is more contemplative in nature and lends itself better to Goodall’s touch. As opposed to feeling slow, (and make no mistake, this is one of the longer Parsifals you will hear) Goodall creates an illusion of suspension allowing the listener to luxuriate in Wagner’s harmonies and orchestral colors. Jon Vickers, in the title role, benefits enormously from the breadth that Goodall creates, giving his oversized voice ample room to bloom. Gottlob Frick, as Gurnemanz, reveals a beauty of tone that I never knew he had, having only heard him as villains. Amy Shuard delivers a wild Kundry and Norman Bailey is an earnest, if somewhat unglamorous Amfortas. A young Kiri Te Kanawa manages to stand out from the pack, as one of the flower maidens. The sound is monaural but excellent.