[Met Performance] CID:153240

Metropolitan Opera House, Tue, March 21, 1950

Parsifal (180)
Richard Wagner | Richard Wagner
Max Lorenz [Last performance]

Helen Traubel

Herbert Janssen

Jerome Hines

Gerhard Pechner

Nicola Moscona

Second Esquire
Lucielle Browning

Third Esquire
Paul Franke

Fourth Esquire
Leslie Chabay

First Knight
Emery Darcy

Second Knight
Osie Hawkins

Flower Maiden
Anne Bollinger

First Esquire/Flower Maiden
Inge Manski

Flower Maiden
Hertha Glaz

Flower Maiden
Lois Hunt

Flower Maiden
Paula Lenchner

Voice/Flower Maiden
Jean Madeira

Fritz Stiedry

Herbert Graf

Joseph Urban

Parsifal received three performances this season.

Review 1:

Herbert F. Peyser in the April issue of Musical America

Of the three Parsifal representations scheduled at the Metropolitan before the close of the season, the first, given for the benefit of the New York Diet Kitchen Association, had several news features. The least novel, yet the most gratifying, was the return to the musical direction of this immensely sensitive work of Fritz Stiedry. Mr. Stiedry's treatment of the score is technically, imaginatively, and spiritually in the great Parsifal tradition, which descends from Hermann Levi by way of Felix Mottl and Karl Muck. It is filled with the elevation and the amplitude the masterpiece calls for. This conductor is, happily, not bent on adapting the fundamental tempo of the festival play to the supposed requirements of the modern age. He realizes, for one thing, that an essential of Parsifal is a kind of timelessness, which no interpreter of the score who aims to step up its pace can rightly capture.

The first Kundry here of Helen Traubel was another novelty of the occasion; likewise the first Gurnemanz of Jerome Hines. Max Lorenz, who had not yet embodied Parsifal in New York, undertook a role whose dramatic business he has had plentiful chance to absorb at Bayreuth. Miss Traubel's Kundry promised to be more or less of a problem and such, indeed, it was. To be wholly candid, the soprano's portrayal at this disclosure proved to be tentative and insufficiently developed. The complex and vastly subtle psychology of the part she has not yet clearly seized, and the dramatic business its realization calls for seemed sketchy
and inadequate. As the Loathly Damsel of the first act, she had a tendency
to be too much in the picture; while as the penitent of the third she seemed to lack the spiritual vibrations of this aspect of the character, as well as the dramatic imagination and resource to suggest them. Obviously, the second act was the most trying. The subtleties of its emotional transitions from tenderness to seduction and thence to poignant entreaties and stormy ragings still elude her.

A great deal of Miss Traubel's singing was superb. For the greater part the music lay very well in her voice, and she negotiated the high tones and the difficult leaps in the latter part of the garden scene with complete success. The perilous "lachte" with its drop from a high B to a C sharp two octaves below was one of the finest things one has heard from this soprano. Foolishly she ventured to take a high B in the phrase “dich weih' ich ihm zum Geleit'!" although Wagner's autograph shows that he wrote a middle B and no alternative at all. The Herzeleide narrative earlier in the act, if not deeply emotional, was tonally Miss Traubel's vocalism at its finest.

Jerome Hines' voice was admirably suited to the music of Gurnemanz, and his delivery of it stamped him as a most promising exponent of the part once he has acquired a grasp of its dramatic meaning In this performance, his embodiment was quite unformed and amateurish. Max Lorenz, despite his hard voice and his
incorrigible tendency to pose and attitudinize, demonstrated a real understanding of the name part even when he overplayed it. Herbert Janssen's Amfortas was, as ever, authoritative, while Gerhard Pechner, by reason of his forceful diction, made once again an unexcelled Klingsor. Nicola Moscona. repeated his wonted Titurel.

The temple choruses, if not invariably in tune, sang rather better than they have in recent seasons, as did the Flower Maidens. But their costuming and their evolutions remained an oft-told tale. The attendance was slim. Parsifal is not a repertoire opera, as no one realized better than Wagner himself.


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