"The current Guild series ... offers up its fourth treasure, a complete second act of Parsifal, with a filler provided by the last fifteen minutes of the opera with Herbert Janssen partnering Melchior.
Melchior was a supreme Parsifal, ‘Amfortas! Die Wunde’ (track 9) confirms that, while Kundry was nothing short of sublime in her phrasing, with a kaleidoscopic variety of drama and vocal colour being at the core of her interpretation." "... a memorable souvenir of a golden age."
Classic Music on the Net - January 2002
"As Guild’s excellent program notes accurately explain, the Good Friday April 15, 1938 Metropolitan Opera broadcast performance of Wagner’s Parsifal has been known to vocal connoisseurs by way of a hideous-sounding, virtually unlistenable aircheck. The acetate source used for the present release proves a zillion times better, but a sonic bed of roses it ain’t. If you’ve heard the Artur Bodanzky Das Rheingold and Götterdammerung Met releases on Naxos, you’ll know what to expect. More to the musical point, though, this recording preserves Kirsten Flagstad’s Kundry in its most vocally pristine and emotionally three-dimensional incarnation. Those familiar with the soprano’s statuesque studio versions of “Ich sah das Kind”, for instance, will notice her more lilting, conversational manner, which continues up through the pivotal kiss.
Here Lauritz Melchior’s suave, ringing timbre opens up, and from “Amfortas, die wunde!” onward the drama comes utterly alive. Flagstad, in turn, responds to her partner with equal urgency and excitement. Arnold Gabor’s Klingsor sounds ordinary in comparison, but the baritone is thoroughly into the role and sings with focused authority. It’s just as well that the matronly, hooty Flowermaidens aren’t identified. Erich Leinsdorf elicits top notch, dramatically alert playing from what you can hear of the Met Orchestra. To fill out the disc, Guild includes two-thirds of an “Opera House of our Dreams” broadcast featuring Parsifal’s Third Act Finale with Melchior and Herbert Janssen as Amfortas. Grungy sound notwithstanding, all Melchior/Flagstad devotees should hear this release"
ClassicsToday.com - 27 March 2002
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