Wagner: Parsifal - Vinay, Mödl, Weber, London, Greindl; Krauss. Bayreuth, 1953
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The opening of the post-war Bayreuth in 1951 heralded an era of legendary performances, many of which have remained unsurpassed to this day. This Parsifal from 1953 is one such performance. Ramón Vinay’s burnished tenor manages to convey both the strength and youth of Parsifal, creating an alluring presence during the flower maiden scene as well as credible spiritual leader during the Good Friday scene. It is clear why Martha Mödl was often referred to as the “German Callas”. Mödl becomes possessed by Kundry without letting the character devolve into empty histrionics, and her voice shows almost none of the wear and tear that would mar her performances just a few years later. Ludwig Weber is a noble Gurnemanz and George London delivers pristine vocalism and stoic anguish to Amfortas’ plight. Clemens Krauss balances the transparent, opulent, and the dramatic colors of Wagner’s delicate score deftly. The sound is excellent.