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Wagner: Parsifal (Goodall, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House) Box set


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Product details

  • Conductor: Reginald Goodall
  • Composer: Richard Wagner
  • Audio CD (29 Sept. 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Medici Arts
  • ASIN: B00186FWGC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,876 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Parsifal - Richard Wagner

Product Description

Jon Vickers (Parsifal), Norman Bailey (Amfortas), Amy Shuard (Kundry), Donald McIntyre (Klingsor), Louis Hendrikx (Gurnemanz), Michael Langdon (Titurel)... - The Royal Opera Chorus - Orchestre du Royal Opera House - Reginald Goodall, direction

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Klingsor Tristan VINE VOICE on 10 Jun. 2009
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The two performances of Parsifal that have stuck most conspicuously in my memory over the years happened within just a few months of each other. Deeply memorable as they both were, it would be hard to imagine two more disparate performances.

The first was in August, 1970, at the Bayreuth Festival, conducted by Pierre Boulez. This was the famous Wieland Wagner production from 1951, by then getting a little ossified 5 years after his death, but still the highly moving benchmark of the New Bayreuth style. Boulez' conducting, too, was settled in after some 5 years but was, in its way, just as revolutionary - far brisker tempi than anything heard in those hallowed halls for many a year, clarified textures even in the context of the Bayreuth `sound' and all Boulez' familiar acuity in elucidating shape and structure. A most memorable account of the work, available on disc for some years now.

The second memorable performance happened the following May at Covent Garden and was conducted by Reginald Goodall. It, too, is now available on disc, thanks to the Royal Opera House Heritage Series. In stark contrast to Boulez (running time 3hrs 39mins), Goodall's has to be the slowest Parsifal on record at 4hrs 43mins (compared to other famous slow-coaches - Knappertsbusch gloriously at Bayreuth in 1951 at 4hrs 32mins and Levine interminably at Bayreuth in 1985 at 4hrs 38mins). Goodall, of course, was often in the famous subterranean pit at Bayreuth during Kna's Parsifal performances in the 50's and patently learned much from the older man's long commitment to and intimacy with the score.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jim Brooks VINE VOICE on 13 Oct. 2008
I suspect that if a performance or an artist is universally liked and admired, then something must be lacking. This Parsifal will undoubtedly divide opinion, but that is in some ways its glory. Cards on the table - for me it's a magnificent performance which vividly communicates the work's physical and mystical qualities.

The sound quality is excellent; rich, full-bodied and detailed, very much a Royal Opera House acoustic, capturing the voices superbly, inevitably including the occasional discrete murmur from the prompter which I didn't find particularly distracting.

As for the singers, least satisfactory is Louis Henrikx as Gurnemanz, unfortunately the lynchpin of the first and third acts. Gottlob Frick sang the first night, followed by Franz Crass and Peter Meven. Presumably Hendrikx sang the last two. Perhaps he didn't have the luxury of sufficient rehearsal time with Goodall, whose generally broad tempi seem to take the Belgian bass well out of his comfort zone. The voice lacks both richness and a true centre, but does have a vibrato that I find neither noble nor endearing. Norman Bailey's is an outstanding Amfortas, his anguish and guilt intensely expressed but always within the framework of the music, Michael Langdon voices an already other-worldly Titurel most beautifully and Donald Macintyre is an extraordinary Klingsor. No ranting opera villain, he finds an uncanny balance of malevolence, bitterness and, through the sheer beauty of his singing, a certain vulnerability.

Amy Shuard was the possessor of a magnificent voice which she didn't always deploy to its best effect, but here under Goodall'guidance she is an outstanding and subtle Kundry, not only thrilling but surprisingly voluptuous.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Roberto56 on 7 April 2011
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In a few words: I am in favour of slow tempi in Parsifal. Granted, if one can pull them off as Goodall indeed can. Shame the orchestra was not at his best that night and shame also for Amy Shuard, a singer who, in my opinion, has neither a particularly pleasant voice nor such interpretative qualities to justify her presence here.
However, the intensity of some moments - remarkably, the adoration of the spear in act 3 - justifies the purchase of this set. I own possibly all the Parsifals available but I often go back to this one as Goodall masters this score as very few do.
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