[Met Performance] CID:128470

Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, March 20, 1940

Parsifal (148)
Richard Wagner | Richard Wagner
René Maison

Kirsten Flagstad

Friedrich Schorr

Emanuel List

Walter Olitzki

Norman Cordon

Voice/Flower Maiden
Doris Doe

First Esquire
Natalie Bodanya

Third Esquire
Karl Laufkötter

Fourth Esquire
Lodovico Oliviero

First Knight
George Cehanovsky

Second Knight
Louis D'Angelo

Flower Maiden
Irene Jessner

Flower Maiden
Irra Petina

Second Esquire/Flower Maiden
Helen Olheim

Flower Maiden
Hilda Burke

Flower Maiden
Thelma Votipka

Erich Leinsdorf

Review 1:

Review signed T. in Musical America

Maison Heard as Parsifal

An embodiment of the title rôle new to the Metropolitan gave special interest to a benefit performance of "Parsifal" on the evening of March 20. Though René Maison had been heard there in other Wagnerian parts - Walther, Lohengrin, Loge, Erik - this was his first Parsifal in the house. It must be accorded a place of a certain individuality among the limited number of different impersonations of the character in the history of the Wagner "consecrational festival play" in New York - there have been but nine in all since the first Parsifal of Aloys Burgstaller on Christmas Eve, 1903, according to one journalist's count of the tenors who have sung the part at the Metropolitan.

Mr. Maison's portrayal was one well conceived and ably sung and acted. The more heroic moments were not those in which he made his best effect, though the cry of "Amfortas!" after the kiss of Kundry in the second act was dramatically convincing. It was in the Good Friday scene that his ability to sing lyrically and to make effective use of the half voice contributed most to the musical individuality of the portrayal; and it was in this scene also that he went beyond routine in suggesting something of ecstatic sorrow.

Mr. List gave his usual sympathetic portrayal of Gurnemanz. Friedrich Schorr was in good voice as Amfortas. No new encomiums are needed for Kirsten Flagstad's superb Kundry. Her singing at the close of the garden scene was again of the highest beauty. Norman Cordon supplied the voice of Titurel and Doris Doe, that which intones the motto in the Temple. Walter Olitzki's Klingsor had the virtue of clearly projected words. Erich Leinsdorf conducted.

Review 2:

Review of Howard Phillips in the Journal of Commerce

Maison Makes His Debut in 'Parsifal' at Opera

The season's third performance of Wagner's 'Parsifal' at the Metropolitan on Wednesday night marked the first appearance here of the French tenor René Maison in the title role.

Mr. Maison's portrayal of this difficult role was effective in many ways. He brought to his performance, especially in the second act scene with Kundry, an intensity and fervor not always bestowed in portrayals of the "guileless fool." In the Good Friday episode, marking the return of Parsifal, there was also a commendable effort on the singer's part to give the role its inherently mystic, devotional character. On the vocal side Mr. Maison was especially effective in the second act, his tones ringing out with unusual brilliance.

Kirsten Flagstad was once again the Kundry, and an enormously effective performance it was, vocally and dramatically. The remainder of the cast was as before. Mr. List as a sincere though undramatic Gurnemanz, Mr. Schorr as Amfortas and Mr. Olitzki as Klingsor. Mr. Leinsdorf led the orchestra faithfully.

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