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104 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last - a great recording of "Parsifal" comes to DVD
Until now, I haven't felt that there was a recommendable "Parsifal" available on DVD. Nagano's version from the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden is visually inane and musically uninspiring, while Levine's Metropolitan Opera version is safely traditional but unexpectedly dull.

Here is a version recorded live at the Bayreuth Festival in 1981. I've been very pleased to...
Published on 29 July 2007 by Mr. Christian Hoskins

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All Around Adequate
This, Wolfgang Wagner's first production of his grandfather's final masterpiece, was a traditionalist reaction to his elder brother's famous 30 year old iconoclastic staging. The sets are very attractive, but the direction misses many opportunities for emotional depth and psychological insight. The singers are generally very good, but all have done better elsewhere...
Published on 5 April 2011 by L. Lubin


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Performance, 10 May 2012
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This review is from: Parsifal: Bayreuther Festpiele (Stein) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I have seen Parsifal several times, including at Bayreuth, and I found this production to be excellent. One is soon drawn into the performance especially in the forest scene.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All Around Adequate, 5 April 2011
By 
L. Lubin (NY, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Parsifal: Bayreuther Festpiele (Stein) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
This, Wolfgang Wagner's first production of his grandfather's final masterpiece, was a traditionalist reaction to his elder brother's famous 30 year old iconoclastic staging. The sets are very attractive, but the direction misses many opportunities for emotional depth and psychological insight. The singers are generally very good, but all have done better elsewhere.

Siegfried Jerusalem was a far better proponent of the title role a few years later. Here, though fresh of voice, he lacks the nuance that distinguished his more mature work. And he had not learned to act. Through most of the opera his elbows appear to be nailed to his sides. Eva Randova isn't bad as Kundry. Since mezzo-sopranos have taken over a role Wagner intended for sopranos, we have to expect a certain amount of strain at the top. And not many star level performers want to take on a demanding role whose third act puts them on stage for over an hour with only four notes to sing. Bernd Weikl's Amfortas is firmly sung, but also not yet the characterisation into which it would soon ripen. Gurnemanz comes off best here, with Hans Sotin's voluminous and burnished basso resounding throughout. He is hampered by Horst Stein often criticized leadership.

Pedestrian conducting? No, merely prosaic, and precipitous. This is the fastest performance of Parsifal I've found in comparison with 27 others. (The total time is twenty minutes faster than Hermann Levi's 1882 premiere, and that is one of the five fastest I know of.) The result is a perfunctory-ness that refuses to allow the music to unfold as it should, in spite of some sterling efforts on the part of the orchestra's musicians.

If you must have a traditional Parsifal video, this is one of two equally inadequate choices. The MET's production is better sung, less attractive and equally apathetic, but Levine's lethargic and ennervated tempi are infuriating.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of the DVD of Wolfgang Wagner's 1981 production of Parsifal., 30 Oct 2009
By 
A. J. Freestone (Woking, Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Parsifal: Bayreuther Festpiele (Stein) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I had been looking for a recommendable DVD of Wagner's Parsifal for several years and I finally chose this recording on the basis of my impressions after reading several reviews elsewhere. This DVD presents Wagner's grandson Wolfgang's first production of Parsifal at the Festspielhaus, Bayreuth recorded between 24 June and 15 July 1981. Although not a traditional Easter performance, this production fulfils two of my preferred criteria, namely that the performance should be at Bayreuth as Wagner intended and that it should ideally be produced by one of his descendants.

The picture format is NTSC Colour 4:3 which gave a sufficiently large, clear image on my 32 inch widescreen TV at a distance of about four and a half metres. The English subtitles were easily readable and German, French, Spanish and Chinese are also available. The menu is in English. I listened to the DTS 5.1 (surround) sound option and PCM stereo is also available.

The singing, orchestral playing and Horst Stein's conducting are as fine as reported in other reviews. In addition, I found the singers' acting, the video direction by Brian Large and also the generally rather bare staging all convincing. Despite some minor interruptions from family members, I enjoyed the whole performance which lasts just under 4 hours with only a short break after 100 minutes to change from Act 1 on the first DVD to Acts 2 and 3 on the second DVD. I understood, and hence enjoyed, the opera more from this single viewing than from several audio-only recordings that I had listened to over many years.

Therefore, I have no hesitation in giving this DVD recording of Wagner's last, and perhaps greatest work, an enthusiastic recommendation.

Alan Freestone, 30 October 2009
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A "Parsifal" without magic, 1 April 2005
By 
Mr. Christian Hoskins (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I've owned this performance for some years, firstly on video and then on DVD, and have always found it a disappointment, especially in comparison to Levine's marvellous "Ring" and outsanding "Meistersinger" from the NY Metropolitan Opera. From the prelude to Act 1 the music seems to drag, and key moments do not come to life. The Klingsor's kingdom lacks its otherworldly quality here, and the Good Friday Music does not bring its usual magic. This lack of passion transmits itself to the singers and chorus and seems to last throughout the opera.

A number of critics have blamed Levine's slow tempos for the malaise. I don't think this is the explanation. For example, although the prelude to Act 1 lasts 14 minutes here compared to 12 minutes for Knappertsbusch in his 1962 performance, Karajan also takes 14 minutes over the prelude and makes it seem exactly the right length. Moreover, when there is fast music, such as Parsifal's shooting of the swan in Act 1, I still don't feel any emotion in this performance. The orchestral playing just doesn't come to life.

One might assume that Levine lacks sympathy for "Parsifal". However, Levine has made two audio recordings in addition to this DVD version, which suggests that it is a favourite work for him.

With regard to other aspects of the performance, the staging is a bit gloomy, but at least the producer hasn't distorted Wagner's intentions. In addition to this, the presence of Waltraud Meier as Kundry and a general professionalism results in a 2 star rating for this DVD.

With regard to the competition, Karajan's audio version is excellent, full of passion and mystery. I also have the 1962 Knappertsbusch performance, but I don't find myself drawn to this version. On DVD, the choice is limited. Nagano's new Baden-Baden performance appears to have a greater charge in the music despite some perversity in the staging at certain points. It is probably a first choice until something better comes along, perhaps Horst Stein's 1980s version from Bayreuth.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Music excellent, production disappointing, 6 May 2014
By 
David Keast (Dordogne, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Parsifal: Bayreuther Festpiele (Stein) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I have a Cd of Parsifal that I have loved for ages and wanted to have something more visual, after all, Wagner considered his "operas" to be music drama - intended to be watched, not just listened too. This DVD seemed to fill the need, but although I'm pleased with the performance, the production did nothing for me. I had hoped for something more dramatic and grand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Parsifal, 25 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Parsifal: Bayreuther Festpiele (Stein) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
This is a fine version of the opera. I particularly liked the effort made to make both scenes and costumes contemporary to the time of the opera was set. Special praise must go to Eva Randova who gave a rivetting performance as Kundry, the best I've seen. Although Siegfried Jerusalem portrayed the role of Parsifal well, I would have preferred the voice of Jess Thomas or Jonas Kaufmann. This is the shortest version of the opera I've encountered but this did not detract at all and may not be a bad thing in such a record breaking long opera.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Parsifal DVD, 19 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Parsifal: Bayreuther Festpiele (Stein) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I saw a production of Parsifal in Bayreuth and I thought this production was very well staged and enjoyed the singing and all over setting.
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3.0 out of 5 stars non-seductive Kundry, 15 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Parsifal: Bayreuther Festpiele (Stein) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
This Wolfgang Wagner approach well suits the music and the drama. Parsifal, Gurnemanz and Amfortas, in the hands of Jerusalem, Sotin and Weikl are, at worst, well done and often sublime; that does not apply, however, to Randova as Kundry. Her voice is generally coarse and far too often is delivered at an upleasant and penetrating level, particularly in her middle and upper registers. That works well, of course, in her screams of mental anguish, but it is as tiresome as a bad joke endlessly repeated. Her poor portrayal of a supposedly seductive character completely ruins Act 2. If you are prepared to listen only to Acts 1 and 3, it is worth buying for the performances of Jerusalem and Sotin.

The staging, whilst not very ambitious, serves to support the action without being distracting. A pity, though, about the swan. Although I have no personal experience, I cannot believe that a swan that has just been killed would be as stiff as a board; someone should still be feeling embarrassed.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine performance in dated Bayreuth staging., 24 April 2009
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Amazon Customer (Bournemouth UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Parsifal: Bayreuther Festpiele (Stein) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Parsifal - Wagner/Stein [DVD] [2007]

The performance dates back to 1981 and is rather static (stand up and sing) compared to contemporary acting standards, and it is extraordinary to think this feeble staging is so recent.

The key role of Gurnemantz is portrayed by Hans Sotin and with his lighter voice is more engaging than some gruff bass efforts. Siegfried Jerusalem sings a fine Parsifal at the beginning of his switch to an operatic career and fortunately looks young enough for the part.

Kundry is a difficult role, currently we have the very dramatic Waltraud Meier as the definitive performance but Eva Randova is a refreshing slightly subdued alternative.

Bernd Weikl excels as Amfortas, and Leif Roar does not disappoint as Klingsor. There is also the treat of Matti Salminen (now a superb Gurnemanz) as Titurel.

Fine orchestral performance under Horst Stein.

If you can accept the inadequate staging this DVD is well worth investigating, although definitely not a first choice.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars parsifal wagner, 9 Jun 2010
By 
Teresita (west sussex u.k.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Parsifal: Bayreuther Festpiele (Stein) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Excellently staged and sung. Dare one say Wagner could do with a little editing here and there? I read an online review of this particular DVD before I bought it and thoroughly agree with the reviewers recommendation.
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