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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good sound and some unusual casting Nov. 19 2011
By Shaun Greenleaf - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
We already have an unqualified rave and a couple of "tut-tut, not so fast" reactions to this set. I have only a little to say about it. First, the sound is quite excellent (I never listen with headphones, so I can't address anything those might reveal). This is, in the main, a Bayreuth 50's cast, and hearing Windgassen and Modl in a different acoustic, captured by different engineers, was refreshing and enjoyable. There are a number of coughers throughout, and a fair amount of stage noise. The set ends, indeed, with a Big Bang. If these extraneous noises make it impossible for you to enjoy a live recording, be aware that they are noticeable. I purchased the set (I already have 20 or so) for Neidlinger's Amfortas, perhaps the only surviving recording of this great artist in this role. The hair-raising dramatic experience I hoped for is not really to be found here; he sounds either under-rehearsed or perhaps not settled into the part. It also sounds to me as if he wanders "off mike" a few times. Neverthelss, it is a very fine characterization, although not as fully formed or vocally commanding as one might wish. Hearing his quintessential "bad guy" sound is in itself intersting, as if Amfortas' wound has transformed his essentially noble nature in a vocal way. If he had sung the role more often, I expect he would have created the fascinating characterization that he doesn't quite achieve here, but I'm quite happy to have added a Neidlinger rarity to my collection--he is an artist whom I collect avidly, and, as other reviewers have justly pointed out, he is the definitive Alberich and Klingsor. I heard Neidlinger live only once, as the Siegfried Alberich at the Met around 1972, and his is the largest male voice I have ever heard in the theater, a huge, viscerally exciting sound. Modl is in very fine voice, secure throughout the range and reacting a little differently to her French audience than to her more familiar German ones, which I found interesting. Windgassen is in similarly fine voice and entirely within the character. As for Otto von Rohr--on this point I must respectfully disagree with the dismissive review. I would very much like to hear more of him, but there doesn't seem to be very much available. I found him vocally secure from bottom to top (and the top very satisfying and unforced). Hearing a healthy and vigorous voice singing tirelessly through this very long role, with a very appealing timbre and impeccable musicianship, was very enjoyable. Heinz Cramer as Klingsor and Frithjof Sentpaul as Titurel are artists not previously known to me; they sing well and characterize effectively, and hearing somebody in these roles other than the usual suspects is also a pleasure. I played the set through twice, and for the $20 I paid for it I am quite satisfied with my purchase. Obviously this is not a "definitive" recording, not a first or even a second choice; but if you love the work and enjoy a certain freshness and novelty (even with the thrice-familiar central couple), I find it a lot more interesting than more than a few much better-known sets. I leave the snarling about conductors to others. Leitner, more than holding his own, delivers a cogent, exciting account. No translation is included, but there is a very informative booklet with a synopsis, several good photographs of the artists (onstage as well as commercial headshots) and very welcome biographies of all the singers down to Hetty Plumacher, who sings three small roles. An attractive product for discerning collectors.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For Windgassen and Modl fans....... July 23 2011
By Wagnerfan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Even considering this as a good performance is going abit too far. Modl and Windgassen are good and their voices are recorded clear enough to give this recording a fair rating for those who like these two singers.

The sound is very unusual. It sounds like pretty good mono but there seems to be a separation when listened to closely on headphones, as I did. Makes it sound somewhat like stereo. My guess it is mono but was recorded with two microphones...one in the orchestra and one on the stage OR it was re-mastered this way from the tapes. The sound (both voices and orchestra) were controlled somehow since some instruments leap out at you from the orchestra and are lost altogether a few seconds later.

The orchestra itself sounds unfamiliar with the score. During the chorus scenes near the end of act one, the orchestra and soloists sound like they are sight-reading the score for the first time. And what is Gustav Neidlinger doing singing Amfortas???? If ever there was a singer typecast in an operatic role it is Neidlinger as Alberich. Maybe it is just me but everything I hear him sing sounds like Alberich....save maybe for his scary Klingsor on the Phillips recording. He should have been singing Klingsor here. His Amfortas is a mess. He sounds lost.

There are loud and irritating 'crashes' twice in Act Two when Klingsor vanishes to make way for the Flower Maiden scene and then again at the end of the act when the garden (and castle) collapse. But it is somewhat better than Solti's bowling ball-down-the-alley effect in his recording.

To sum it all up, if you enjoy Windgassen and Modl add it to your collection. Modl especially sounds very good here.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Parsifal from Paris? It's rather good, too Sept. 13 2009
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The earlier reviewer jumps off the cliff for this unusual Parsifal, performed at the Paris Opera with exactly the kind of cast one would have heard at Bayreuth in the early to mid-Fifties. The mono sound is quite good, although there is stage noise, audience coughing, and occasional imbalances, as when the harp jumps out at you. I won't provide a full review, but for those who hope this might be some kind of ideal Parsifal, far form it. Windgassen and Modl are in fine form, but Leitner is prosaic in the big climaxes. There's an overall thrust to his conducting that is fairly exciting, but little in the way of finesse, and one can hear that the French orchestra doesn't quite "get" Wagner. The singers are led into some fairly dull singing when Leitner loses concentration. The great climax that ends the opera is quite underwhelming, also, and during the last chord there's a great crash and bang onstage.

I could overlook most of this, but to my ears the Gurnemanz of Otto von Rohr is wooden and unmoving. His voice is steady and at times quite powerful, but the characterization, besides sounding rather aged, is nil. Compared to Hotter, the outstanding Gurnemanz of those years, von Rohr is a non-starter.

I'm sorry to abbreviate my comments, but the overly enthusiastic response of the first reviewer struck me as very odd.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A REFERENCE RECORDING OF PARSIFAL Sept. 11 2009
By Ryan Kouroukis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Now that I've heard this recording, I can tell you all that it is one of the most special recording of Parsifal ever preserved on tape.

Really, no words can describe this performance...but I'll say a few...

I've never heard a Parsifal recording so intense, so beautiful...so realistic!

Windgassen and Modl are fully and totally PERFECT and realized in their roles. They know their parts so well that absolutely NO effort is required of them in their singing OR acting. They simply ARE.

Leitner is pure magic from beginning to end, the dramatic through-line is present throughout, and everything in the score seems to develop and occur naturally...almost like their was no conductor! It's indeed very rare for this to happen. To say this performance is Inspired is an understatement! Spiritual and Lyrical?...still, both understatements!

"Magic" is the only word that come to mind that includes all these qualities. But even so, there is much more to boast about, which I will save for other reviewers.

The set has no libretto, just some background notes to the opera itself and some artist bios. It says that the recording was made in 1955...but I can't tell if it's in mono OR stereo...It's very strange, it could very well be early stereo or the best mono recording I've ever heard. And although it is a live recording, there is hardly any audience interference, except when they blaze out in applause after each stupendous act!

A TRUE REFERENCE RECORDING.

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