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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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on 15 December 2010
I recently purchased the DVD of this production of Parsifal which was recorded at Bayreuth in the early 1980s. The production is directed by Wolfgang Wagner and the conductor is the Swiss maestro and Bayreuth regular Horst Stein (both are sadly no longer with us).

This production has a special place in my heart as it was the first Wagner work that I actually experienced live in the Festspielhaus. That was in 1982 and this recording was made the year before. I recall that it was broadcast by the BBC at Easter one year sometime later on in the decade.

Anyway enough personal reminiscence. The production is a fairly conventional one by the standards that opera goers experience nowadays. The costumes seem right and the scenery is suggestive rather than representational. The lighting is good. All in all the work is presented to us in a way that will not distract us from the singing and playing.

The orchestral playing is sublime and we have Wagner's incandescent score given a sensitive and exquisite performance by Horst Stein and the Festival Orchestra. The choral singing is all one would expect from Bayreuth at this time. In terms of the soloists Hans Sotin and Bernd Weikl take the honours with Siegfried Jerusalem also deserving much credit. Eva Randova is not the best Kundry I have seen or heard and her upper register is a little strident. However, I recall the passion and fire in my heart as I walked out of the Festspielhaus after the second act into the evening air back in the summer of August 1982 and I forgive her failings in a way that others who had not experienced the intensity of the live performance cannot be expected to.

I can whole heartedly recommend this DVD recording of Parsifal. It gives a true account of a moving performance of one of the world's greatest works of art - and all for £8.99 at Amazon as at the time of me writing this review!
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on 25 March 2013
This is my third of four attempts at finding a production of Parsifal that fullfills all my expectations.
Teatro La Fenice is stark and depressing, though the music is fine, similarly with Nagano Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the set designer has had a touch of the sun, or a rush of blood.
On to the current reviewed item the sets are what I expect or even better, totally appropriate to the storyline, and with some very nice touches like the destruction of Klingsors palace.
The costumes fit my conception of what they should be. The flower maidens are particularly beautiful. The Sinopoli version from Bayreuther Festpiele is an equal contender for best version.
The voices, Hans Sotin with his sonorous tones is very impressive. Matti Salminen is as always good in character, and rich in voice. Bernd Weikl has a most pleasant vibrato, and a rounded sound that is most listenable.s
Siegfried Jerusalem is equal best Parsifal of the four versions that I now own. He is a true professionel in all aspects, an excellent performance.
I perhaps should have been a gentleman and put ladies first, but Eva Randova in her portrayal of Kundry is also equal best in singing and performing of the four versions of which I am familiar. She has a very clear voice and plenty of power for the emotional bits.
Picture quality is acceptable, sound very good and the orchestral interpretation much to my liking.
The booklet has timings, a comprehensive synopsis, item by item, and notes on Wolfgang Wagners original production.
Of course there may be better productions on the other DVDs that are available but I shall not pursue them in fear of disappointment.
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on 25 March 2014
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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on 15 September 2012
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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on 6 May 2014
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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on 23 July 2016
Superb picture & sound quality. The nearest thing to being there in person.
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on 23 July 2010
I agree with all the reviews, that this is a first class performance. The only comment I would make is that I would liked to have seen the orchestra during the prelude rather showing a garden scene.
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on 16 July 2015
Very good traditional performance.
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on 5 January 2015
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on 10 May 2012
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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