Parsifal (WWV 111) is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a 13th-century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival (Percival) and his quest for the Holy Grail (12th century). Wagner first conceived the work in April 1857 but did not finish it until twenty-five years later. It was Wagner's last completed opera and in composing it he took advantage of the particular acoustics of his Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Parsifal was first produced at the second Bayreuth Festival in 1882. The Bayreuth Festival maintained a monopoly on Parsifal productions until 1903, when the opera was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
This recording of a live performance of MEISTERSINGER from Bayreuth 1957 definitely merits five stars. For those of you who don't already know this, Gustav Neidlinger (PeaceBeUponHim) was the undisputed master of Wagner's "howling-and-spitting" villain roles, Alberich and Klingsor, from the early 1950s until the mid 1970s. He sang with unmatched sulfur, cannon-ball density, huge volume, dark tone, and powerful dramatic interpretation. He sang more spontaneously and from-the-gut than most singers. He was the first of his generation to sing these roles with musical line and connected legato, rather than as a series of isolated shouts, grunts, and bellowings. He was typecast for these villainous roles as soon as he set foot on the stage, and almost never performed as a good-guy.
Stephen Fry explores his passion for controversial composer Richard Wagner. Can he salvage the music he loves from its dark association with Hitler's Nazi regime? His journey takes him to Germany, Switzerland and Russia as he pieces together the story of the composer's career. Along the way he plays Wagner's piano, meets the composer's descendants and eavesdrops on rehearsals for the Bayreuth Festival, the annual extravaganza of Wagner's music held in a theatre designed by the composer himself.
Actor and writer Stephen Fry explores his passion for the world's most controversial composer - Richard Wagner. But Stephen is Jewish and lost family members in the Holocaust, so can he salvage the music he loves from its dark association with anti-semitism and the Nazis? Shot on location in Germany, Switzerland and Russia, the film includes unique behind-the-scenes access to the Bayreuth Festival, the annual extravaganza of Wagner's music held in the composer's own purpose built theatre.
Esoteric have produced a remarkable transfer that preserves beautifully the hall sound, spatial information and detail. The brass and mass strings have excellent detail, revealing a lot of subtle harmonies and variation – a boon for anything Wagner. This contributes to an overall impression of sophistication and restraint and goes perfectly with Karajan's Wagner.