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This review is from: Wagner: Parsifal (Goodall, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House) (Audio CD)
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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Initial post: 17 Sep 2011 23:09:32 BDT
Reaction to voices is a personal thing but I think you are way out regarding Amy Shuard. She reigned at Covent Garden from 1956 to the early 70s when the illness which prematurely ended her life at only 51 caused a deterioration of her powers. But in her glory days she delighted CG audiences as Butterfly, Lisa, Jenufa, Amelia, Cassandra, Aida Turandot, Santuzza, Sieglinde, Lady Macbeth and then Brunnhilde, Elektra and Kundry. Squally she never was - her intonation and accuracy almost legendary and a dominating presence on stage. I was at the performance of Parsifal recorded here and the sheer thrill of the closing pages of act 2 - a passage which many singers find terrifyingly difficult to pitch - is confirmed by this recording. Nowadays many mezzos sing this role and some of them, Waltraud Meier especially, are very fine BUT Wagner wrote this role for a dramatic soprano which has a very different timbre to a mezzo and Shuard was an outstanding dramatic soprano and La Scala, Vienna, San Francisco, Berlin etc. where she performed many of these roles agreed. The tragedy, apart from her early demise, was that she was ignored by the recording companies where a prejudice against British opera singers existed at that time.
In reply to an earlier post on 22 Sep 2011 12:29:37 BDT
As you point out, it is a matter of taste...
Sorry to hear about her illness. I thought I had read somewhere she died in a car accident.
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