Wagner: Parsifal - Vinay, Mödl, Greindl, London, Blankenheim; Knappertsbusch. Bayreuth, 1957
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Although any Parsifal featuring the likes of Martha Mödl and Hans Knappertbusch is an exciting prospect, this has the added bonus of Ramón Vinay in the title role. By 1957 he was nearing the end of his career as a tenor, but Parsifal still proved an ideal fit and he sings with consistent ease and power the whole evening. And despite the baritonal burnished quality of his tenor, remarkably, he was still able to convey the naif wonder of the title character. Martha Mödl was also poised for a fach shift as her voice was starting to show the wear and tear of years of Wagner singing. However, the problems that marred her performances of Fidelio and Brünnhilde at this point in her career curiously enhance her performance as Kundry by helping to reveal the character's desperation. Pretty, it is not but certainly riveting. George London is an excellent Amfortas and Josef Greindl delivers a sympathetic Gurnemanz, although lacking slightly in the elegance department. The sound is very good.