Wagner: Parsifal

In this video

Composer: Richard Wagner
Artists: René Kollo (tenor), Ulrik Cold (bass), Theo Adam (bass),Gisela Schröter (contralto), Reid Bunger (baritone), Fred Teschler (bass), Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Thomanerchor Leipzig, Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig, Herbert Kegel (conductor)

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Wagner’s most elusive and enigmatic opera, Parsifal has given scholars much to think about it since its premiere in 1882. A cryptic mixture of Christian, pagan and oriental elements, as well as containing some nods to the 19th-century writings of Schopenhauer, the opera follows the medieval legend of the knights of the Holy Grail. With their leader Amfortas gravely injured, the Knights are in trouble, and turn to the unlikely hero Parsifal to steal back the holy spear Amfortas possessed when he was seduced and stabbed by Klingsor, an embittered ex-knight. On the way, Parsifal must battle the temptations of the flower maidens and the manipulative Kundry – this in addition to him discovering more about his own past. Wagner’s last opera, Parsifal deals centrally with the theme of Mitleid, or compassion, a redemptive quality that is underlined by Wagner’s gloriously sublime score.

Featuring a stellar cast, this production was originally released in 1978 and has certainly stood the test of time. René Kollo takes the main role in a release that was lauded by Gramophone for its ‘highly distinguished’ singing and conducting ‘unusual in its swiftness and dramatic candour’. With a first-class supporting cast that includes Gisela Schröter as the devious Kundry and Theo Adam as the despairing Amfortas, this Parsifal marks a wonderful tribute to Wagner’s work of intense humanity.

This reissue of the 1975 live recording of Wagner’s Parsifal features a stellar cast: the great René Kollo in the title role, further Theo Adam, Gisela Schröter and Ulrik Cold, and the splendid Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig, conducted by Herbert Kegel, a specialist in late romantic repertoire.
First issued on Berlin Classics this historic recording received high praise for its “unusual swiftness and dramatic candour” (Gramophone) and the “highly distinguished” title role of Rene Kollo.

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