[Met Performance] CID:165550

Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, April 16, 1954 Matinee

Parsifal (191)
Richard Wagner | Richard Wagner
Set Svanholm

Astrid Varnay

George London

Jerome Hines

Lawrence Davidson

Luben Vichey

Jean Madeira

First Esquire
Genevieve Warner

Second Esquire
Mildred Miller

Third Esquire
Paul Franke

Fourth Esquire
Gabor Carelli

First Knight
James McCracken

Second Knight
Osie Hawkins

Flower Maiden
Lucine Amara

Flower Maiden
Maria Leone

Flower Maiden
Hertha Glaz

Flower Maiden
Heidi Krall

Flower Maiden
Jean Fenn

Flower Maiden
Margaret Roggero

Fritz Stiedry

Review 1:

Review of Robert Sabin in the May 1954 issue of Musical America

The Good Friday matinee performance of "Parsifal" at the Metropolitan Opera is almost invariably inspired. The spirit of the day, the special character of the audience and the peculiar appropriateness of the opera to the occasion combine to make it a unique experience. This performance was no exception; it was one of glowing beauty and profoundest feeling from start to finish; and the absence of applause was a double blessing, for one not only felt the respect implied,but one heard the final measures of Wagner's music at the ends of the acts, a luxury denied to listeners of other Wagnerian works on ordinary occasions at the Metropolitan.

Mack Harrell and Margaret Harshaw, who had been scheduled to appear as Amfortas and as Kundry, were indisposed, so the artists who had sung those roles at the season's first performance of Parsifal, George London and Astrid Varnay, remained in the cast. Both of them gave magnificent performances, which could scarcely be surpassed in any opera house in the world. Set Svanholm was heard as Parsifal for the first time this season. He was in admirable voice, after a bit of preliminary vocal stiffness, and he both sang and acted the role with warmth, richness of feeling and nobility. Jerome Hines's characterization of Gurnemanz had gained perceptibly in musical sensitivity, searching power of expression and (an all-important element in Parsifal) in clarity and emphasis of the German text. Lawrence Davidson's Klingsor was also a more imposing and authoritative conception than it had been when he first presented it at the Metropolitan. The cast, which was largely familiar, included Lubomir Vichegonov, as Titurel; Jean Madeira, as the Voice that sings the famous phrase "Durch Mitleid wissend," in the temple; James McCracken and Osie Hawkins, as the First and Second Knights of the Grail; and Genevieve Warner, Mildred Miller, Paul Franke, and Gabor Carelli, as the four Esquires.

Fritz Stiedry conducted once again with compassionate power and inexhaustible tenderness. I do not remember having heard the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra play more luminously than it did in this performance.

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