Wagner
PARSIFAL WWV 111 Live recording
Jess Thomas
Hans Hotter
George London
Ludwig Weber
Irene Dalis
Gustav Neidlinger

Niels Möller
David Ward

Gundula Janowitz
Anja Silja
Claudia Hellmann
Usrula Boerse

Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele
Hans Knappertsbusch
MYTO (1961/2012 Remastered Edition)


Hello again. To finish my summer of my favourite Bayreuth Wagner recordings, I had been playing some Parsifals from 1966, 1967 finished today, and I picked curiosity in this set of Knappertsbusch done the year before the Philips recording with almost the same cast (L. Weber instead of Talvela as Titurel). Unfortunately, the Stereo recording has gone OOP (doubled the price).

It's still very soon for me to compare both, as I'm finishing Act II of this one. Judging by some excerpts on Spotify (of both), microphones in the Philips recording are a bit elusive and miss the beginning of sentences in the main characters sometimes. This MYTO recording features constantly the voice of the cue guiding the actors, sometimes annoying in Act II. There is also a lot of clarity in the Stereo recording, but generally it wouldn't compare to the richness of a modern recording. MYTO offers probably the best source possible. Everything is in mono and forward, crystal-clear. For speakers, it should work wonders.

And what about performance? I'm growing love for the silky Irene Dalis, whose performance is actually full of fire but her flames feel different from a Martha Mödl in her prime or Astrid Varnay in 1966. Surprisingly, I found Hans Hotter's first Gurnemanz to be really fresh, really likeable for me. And I think his singing in 1962 is a bit more tiresome (1964 stays fresh in my memory and he sounded unbearable) I have no complaint of his Act I. George London is the showstopper of the performance. I can notice him everytime he sings Amfortas, even in the tough first scene when he shows up. Together with Neidlinger's experienced Klingsor, the most benefited from Knappertsbush's baton. Jess Thomas's debut in Parsifal still stands in a second rate when it comes to my book of favourites, very far away from Windgassen, let alone Sandor Kónya and even the most inexperienced James King. His performance here is still really grey, even compared to his energetic Lohengrin in Bayreuth the following 1962. I have the feeling, as I didn't play him enough in 1962, that he's much more dramatically involved in this debut. It sounds realistic.

I think I'm going to get it soon to complement with the iffy sound of Bayreuth 1952. Since then, I don't hold admiration anymore for the 1960 Bayreuth performance.