Live recording in stereo from
Festspielhaus Bayreuth
Conductor: Hans Knappertsbusch
Amfortas George London
Titurel Martti Talvela
Gurnemanz Hans Hotter
Parsifal Jess Thomas
Klingsor Gustav Neidlinger
Kundry Irene Dalis
Altsolo Ursula Boese
Gralsritter Niels Möller
Gralsritter Gerd Nienstedt
Knappe Sona Cervená
Knappe Ursula Boese
Knappe Georg Paskuda
Knappe Gerhard Stolze
Blume Gundula Janowitz
Blume Anja Silja
Blume Else-Margrete Gardelli
Blume Dorothea Siebert
Blume Rita Bartos
Blume Sona Cervená
Chor und Orchester der
Bayreuther Festspiele
Philips, 416 390-2 4 CDs ADD
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Review by Graham Clark

Generally speaking, if there is such a thing as definitive Wagner recordings, this might well be one. Knappertsbusch's conducting is very slow, granted, but it has a spiritual quality to it that barely anyone else can match. The Bayreuth orchestra is at its best here, and the acoustics of the theater are excellently caught.

The cast has no fatal flaws, and many virtues. At the very top is Jess Thomas, one of the very best Heldentenors. He is in beautiful, but strong voice, especially in Act 1. Unfortunately, Dalis as Kundry does not match up to him. She is convincing enough, but no dramatic match for, say, Gwyneth Jones. Never the less, she pulls herself together in time for the curse in Act 2, and her brief part in Act 3.

The rest of the cast is flawless, with Neidlinger an intense, if slightly too coarse, Klingsor, and Hotter a commanding Gurnemanz. Add to that a quartet of squires that includes Paskuda and Stolze, and you get a very alive and exciting recording.

This review is from the now closed Wagner on the Web and it is published without the author's consent. I haven't been able to get in touch with him. If the author reads this, please contact me as soon as possible. If you don't want it here, I'll take it of the site immediately.