Wagner: Parsifal (excerpts from Act I & III) - Thomas, Dalis, Weber (Gurnemanz), London; Knappertsbusch. Bayreuth, 1961


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Lovers of Parsifal will already be well-acquainted with the 1961 Bayreuth performances featuring Jess Thomas, Irene Dalis and Hans Hotter as Gurnemanz. Although this recording of excerpts from Acts One and Three was taken from that same summer, in the place of Hans Hotter we find Ludwig Weber. Weber provides an interesting counterpoint to Hotter’s portrayal. Although he may have lacked Hotter’s legendary depth of expression, his voice was in much better working order and he sings the role with mellifluous ease during the Good Friday music as well as anguished authority while depicting Amfortas’ suffering. Irene Dalis is just wild enough to be exciting without sacrificing Kundry’s humanity and turning the role into camp. Jess Thomas is in fine form as Parsifal, bringing a youthful brashness to the part. George London’s palpable suffering as Amfortas is nothing short of heart-breaking. The sound is good. The excerpts featured on this recording mostly highlight Weber.

OD 11201-2