Wagner: Parsifal - King, Denize, Sotin, Roar; Sawallisch. München, 1977


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Despite the fact that Wolfgang Sawallisch was a distinguished Wagnerian, this is the first time I have come across a Parsifal featuring the great Bavarian maestro. It is a shame because he brings his customary sweep and sensitivity to the vocal line. Many of his musical choices seem to owe a lot to Hans Knappertsbusch’s legendary interpretation, but to paraphrase Stravinsky “lesser artists borrow, great artists steal”. James King was the ideal Parsifal. The role sat exactly in the meatiest part of his voice and he was uniquely capable of conveying the character’s youthful vigor and subsequent enlightenment. Hans Sotin’s pristine bass conveys a youthful gravitas that suggests a dynamic with Parsifal that is more fraternal than avuncular. Nadine Denize’s slender mezzo-soprano fairs better during Kundry’s hysterical outbursts than the seductive melodies. The sound is excellent.

OD 11344-4