[Met Performance] CID:150490

Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, April 15, 1949 Matinee

Parsifal (179)
Richard Wagner | Richard Wagner
Set Svanholm

Rose Bampton

Herbert Janssen

Joel Berglund [Last performance]

Gerhard Pechner

Dezsö Ernster

Margaret Harshaw

Third Esquire
John Garris

Fourth Esquire
Paul Franke

First Knight
Emery Darcy

Second Knight
Clifford Harvuot

Flower Maiden
Anne Bollinger

Second Esquire/Flower Maiden
Lucielle Browning

Flower Maiden
Frances Greer

Flower Maiden
Paula Lenchner

Flower Maiden
Martha Lipton

First Esquire/Flower Maiden
Inge Manski

Fritz Reiner

Review 1:

Harold C. Schonberg in the Sun

Svanholm and Hawkins Sing in ‘Parsifal’


Two changes in cast – one expected, the other not – marked last night’s presentation of “Parsifal” at the Metropolitan Opera House. As announced, Set Svanholm appeared as the hero for the first time this season. Herbert Janssen, however, who was to sing the role of Amfortas, was indisposed, and his part was taken on short notice by Osie Hawkins. The rest of the cast was familiar: Joel Berglund as Gurnemanz, Gerhard Pechner as Klingsor, Rose Bampton as Kundry and Deszo Ernster as Titurel, with smaller parts in the usual hands and voices. Fritz Reiner conducted.

For Svanholm, it was an excellent evening. He was in fine voice for his ungrateful part – ungrateful, because he has little to do until well into the second act. In the Garden Scene he acquitted himself beautifully, singing with fullness of tone and color, rising to the climax with ample reserve. Hawkins, a dependable singer and musician, acted the role of Amfortas with the dignity it requires. He has sung it once before (last season), but considering that he is relatively inexperienced in the part, it would be hypercritical to apply ultimate criteria.

It cannot be said that the singing of the other principals was breathtaking, though the performance was on a steady level of vocal competence, and Reiner had everything coordinated into one supple unit. Doubt remains in some quarters about his identification with the spiritual message of the music, but one had to look very closely for any carelessness in the orchestra. Moreover, the lyrical mood he achieved in parts of the first act and in the Garden Scene were quite unusual.

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