Wagner: Parsifal - Beirer, Crespin, Greindl, Stewart, Neidlinger, Ward, Hesse, Janowitz, Adam; Knappertsbusch. Bayreuth, 1960
Listen to a Sample:
- No matter how glittering the cast (and make no mistake, the cast in this instance is quite glittering), Hans Knappertsbusch was always the star of the show whenever he conducted Parsifal. This performance has all of the magical, timeless quality that he brought to the work, however one cannot ignore the small ensemble issues in the orchestra, on stage, and, perhaps most noticeably, in the ending moments of the opera with the off-stage chorus. That said, I will take an imperfect performance with this amount of feeling and spiritual insight any day over a perfectly manicured, polished performance in the hands of a lesser conductor.
- Régine Crespin is in complete control of her voice, launching high b-naturals like they are nothing. It is apparent from this live performance just how sizable her soprano was in every part of her range.
- Although I admire Hans Beirer greatly, his voice lacks a little bit of the Mozartian purity you want in this role. That said, he more than makes up for his with some thrillingly virile singing, particularly in the second act.
- Josef Greindl's Gurnemanz exudes poise and love.
- Thomas Stewart's Amfortas is near flawless.
- The supporting cast is a "who's who" of up-and-coming singers, including David Ward, Gundula Janowitz, Ruth Hesse, Ruth-Margret Pütz and Theo Adam.
- None to mention.