Best cast Parsifal of the century (so far)?

Munich, June 2018:

 

 

 

Richard Wagner 1813 — 1883
PARSIFAL

Ein Bühnenweihfestspiel in drei Aufzügen • 1882
Libretto vom Komponisten

Conductor Kirill Petrenko
Director Pierre Audi

• Amfortas Christian Gerhaher 
Titurel Bálint Szabó
Gurnemanz René Pape
Parsifal Jonas Kaufmann
Klingsor Wolfgang Koch
Kundry Nina Stemme
Erster Gralsritter Kevin Conners
Zweiter Gralsritter Callum Thorpe
Stimme aus der Höhe Rachael Wilson
Erster Knappe Elsa Benoit
Zweiter Knappe Tara Erraught
Dritter Knappe Manuel Günther
Vierter Knappe Matthew Grills
Blumenmädchen Golda Schultz, Elsa
Benoit, Selene Zanetti, Tara Erraught,
Alyona Abramowa, Rachael Wilson

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  • Olassus says:

    Oh, this is funny, Norman, that you post about the Parsifal cast — of all the many announced today. You know, Stemme is not gonna be a natural fit for Kundry, temperamentally if not vocally as well. But the bigger problem is Pape. There are at least three fantastic basses around who can sing the most pivotal role in this work, and the three in my mind are all around 40 years old and all known to the management in question, in fact recently employed by them. And what does the company do? They screw it up and go for a name, perhaps to let Jonas reunite with his NY cast buddy. Gurnemanz needs a young, firm voice. Then you make him up to look old. But you never cast a fading voice in this role. (Even the great Kurt Moll declined in the assignment in later life.) So I would say this Parsifal cast is actually a lost opportunity, one of several messes in today’s announcement, most of them in maestro slots for the Italian operas. Callegari? Allemandi? Rustioni? Horrors. And Petrenko in Trittico? Not a promising season.

    • Tristan says:

      OMG you seem to have no idea what u are talking here
      Moll was a fabulous Gurnemanz and Pape has not a fading voice – je was the only strong fit in Vienna recently
      Koch is excellent, Gerhaher same and Kaufmann was fantastic at the MET! Why should Stemme not be a good fit for Kundry? It seems you need to study a bit more…
      Petrenko the best around so this seems to be another feast for the currently by far the best Opera House around

      • Olassus says:

        Well, Vienna standards are lower, so Pape standing out there is relative.

        Moll was fabulous in everything — but by 1992 his G was fading, because the role musically needs a young voice despite the character.

        On Stemme’s Kundry, all I can say is I’m skeptical it will be as good as her Isolde and Brünnhilde once were.

        The thought of Wolfgang Koch’s smooth baritone being used on the sharp lines of Klingsor bothers me. Leave that to people like Nikitin.

        Of course KP and JK will be fine, as will Gerhaher as the wounded Amfortas — but I’m more looking forward to his Magelone-Lieder, lol!

  • Ungeheuer says:

    Agree about the long on the tooth Nina Stemme. Her NY Isolde was an abomination.

    • John Kelly says:

      Ridiculous. Her Isolde was nuanced and beautifully sung. While we’re at it, her Elektra was sensational.

    • Marshall says:

      You like throwing that word around-sadly-what do you do when you really dislike something? Not much room left after abomination…..it must get unbearable

      Yes, ridiculous- a fine engaging, total performance. Who would argue that it’s some kind of historic voice-compared to what- Flagstad? As a total performance it served the opera well. I wish I could say the same for the production

  • Vienna calling says:

    Pape just sang a fantastic Gurnemanz in the Vienna Parsifal and was the only convincing artist in it. Nina Stemme is a great singer but Kundry was not her thing, sadly.

  • phf655 says:

    The Met’s Parsifal cast, in February 2018, consists of Nezet-Seguin (conductor), Herlitzius (Kundry), K-F Vogt (Parsifal), Pape (Gurnemanz), Peter Mattei (Amfortas), Evgeny Nikitin (Klingsor). Note the presence of the Met’s extraordinary orchestra in the pit. Discounting the mentality of this website that its New York, or Met venue is automatically inferior, is the aforementioned cast so shabby that the Munich cast is properly labelled the ‘best of the century so far’?. Having seen him in the role at Bayreuth last summer, this viewer will gladly go with Vogt, who is at least likely to actually appear!

    • Ungeheuer says:

      Not this listener. K-F Vogt was another abomination, this time as Florestan. His Leonore, A. Pieczonka, was no better. And the less said about the other mediocrities the better, including the inept S. Weigle. Where is that link again to the Tennstedt-Vickers-Marton Fidelio?

    • HugoPreuss says:

      Any cast which contains either Vogt or Kaufmann can, in my humble opinion, by definition not be the cast of the century. But I realize that this is a minority opinion and that many listeners are quite enchanted with these two tenors.

      I miss Johan Botha. Not to mention his predecessors…

      • Robin Worth says:

        I wonder if you would say this if you had seen Vogt sing Lohengrin (with Harteros) in Berlin two years ago : made even the dire Holten production come alive

        • ED says:

          That was exceptional! They are both singing this again in Dec – I am tempted to change Christmas plans to make the one night they are singing..

    • Tom says:

      Are you seriously putting the MET orchestra under Nezet-Seguin on one level with the Bayerische Staatsorchester under Petrenko? Seems like a stretch to me. And given that Parsifal is first and foremost and orchestral piece with obligato voices, liegt da der ganze Unterschied.

  • Silver Fox says:

    Well, before praising this cast too enthusistically, we should wait if Kaufmann really appears on stage when the curtain goes up. He called in sick a couple of times during the last month, and parsifal is a hell of a role. Maybe we will get cold feet before. So better lets hope that Andreas Schager keeps a time slot in his schedule to step in.

  • Scott in PA says:

    What does it matter to have the best available cast if the production is a farce? Eurotrash is still Eurotrash.

  • Robert Hitchings says:

    I too worry if JK will appear. I saw him as Lohengrin in Paris in January, when he seemed to hold back to protect his voice. As I was travelling from London for the performance I was betting that Mutti Merkel would have ordered him to sing in Paris. He could miss the opening of the Elbphilharmonie if he wanted, but Mutti would not the French offended in any way.

    Surprisingly enough he performed Othello as scheduled and to a satisfactory level at the ROH last month.

    As for Munich, I would have thought Andris Nelsons would have been a better choice than Petrenko.

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