DSD Recording, Mariinsky Concert Hall, St Petersburg, 5–13 June 2009.
The Mariinsky label’s first recording of an opera by Wagner features an exceptional international cast led by René Pape, Gary Lehman and Violeta Urmana.
The Mariinsky Theatre has a long association with Wagner’s music. The composer himself conducted at the Theatre, which in 1863 was the location of the first performance of music from his as yet unstaged Ring Cycle. Over the past decade Valery Gergiev has become a frequent conductor of Wagner’s operas, establishing a formidable reputation in the repertoire, although remarkably this is his first recording of the composer’s operas.
Wagner described his final complete opera as a ‘A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage’ and the work has always sparked controversy, mixing moral and religious themes with music of irresistible sumptuousness. The opera was inspired by Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Arthurian poem Parzifal. Yet despite the story’s overt Christian imagery, Wagner also draws on ideas from other beliefs including Buddhism. The ‘harmonic experiments’ that he adopted for his previous opera Tristan und Isolde are further refined to create music of astonishing beauty that still retains and reflects the deep morality of the tale.
Recording took place between 5 and 13 June 2009 at the Mariinsky Concert Hall in St Petersburg, incorporating live concert performances. It was recorded in high resolution multi-channel DSD by award-winning producer James Mallinson and engineered by John Newton and Dirk Sobotka. Parsifal will be the fourth opera on the Mariinsky label. Previous releases have included Shostakovich’s The Nose, Shchedrin’s The Enchanted Wanderer and Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, which have collected numerous international awards. The Nose, the label’s debut release, also received two Grammy Award nominations.
Sung in German, Notes in Russian (cyrillic), English, French and German.
Libretto in German with Russian (cyrillic), English & French translations.
“Above all, this is Gergiev's Parsifal and it is the superlatively good playing of the Mariinsky Orchestra that, with René Pape's gloriously sung Gurnemanz, makes this new set essential listening for Wagnerians” Hugh Canning , IRR September
MAR 0508 1-03 Wagner: Parsifal - 1. Recht So! Habt Dank! Ein Wenig Rast
MAR 0508 1-04 Wagner: Parsifal - 1. Nicht Dank! Ha, Ha! Was Wird Es Helfen?
MAR 0508 1-05 Wagner: Parsifal - 1. O Wunden-Wundervoller Heiliger Speer
MAR 0508 1-06 Wagner: Parsifal - 1. Titurel, Den Fromme Held, Der Kann' Ihr Wohl
MAR 0508 1-07 Wagner: Parsifal - 1. Weh'! Weh'! Hoho! Auf! Wer Ist Der Frevier?
MAR 0508 1-08 Wagner: Parsifal - 1. Nun Sag' Nichts Weißt Du, Was Ich Dich Frage
MAR 0508 2-01 Wagner: Parsifal - 1. Vom Bade Kehrt Der König Heim"
MAR 0508 2-02 Wagner: Parsifal - 1. Verwandlungsmusik
MAR 0508 2-03 Wagner: Parsifal - 1. Nun Achte Wohl, Und Laß Mich Sehen
MAR 0508 2-04 Wagner: Parsifal - 1. Mein Sohn, Amfortas, Bist Du Am Amt?
MAR 0508 2-05 Wagner: Parsifal - 1. Enthüllet Den Gral!
MAR 0508 2-06 Wagner: Parsifal - 1. Wein Und Brot Des Letzten Mahles
Parsifal: Act II, Scene I, Vorspiel - Prelude
Parsifal: Act II, Scene II, "Die Zeit Ist Da"
Parsifal: Act II, Scene III, "Ach! Ach! Tiefe Nacht!"
Parsifal: Act II, Scene IV, "Hier War Das Tosen! Hier, Hier!"
Parsifal: Act II, Scene V, "Komm'! Komm'! Holder Knabe!"
Parsifal: Act II, Scene VI, "Parsifal! Weile!"
Parsifal: Act II, Scene VII, "Dies Alles Hab' Ich Nun Getraeumt?"
Parsifal: Act II, Scene VIII, "Ich Sah Das Kind An Seiner Mutter Brust"
Parsifal: Act II, Scene IX, "Wehe! Wehe! Was Tat Ich? Wo War Ich?"
Parsifal: Act II, Scene X, "Amfortas! Die Wunde! Die Wunde!"
Parsifal: Act II, Scene XI, "Grausamer! Fuehlst Du Im Herzen Nur And'rer Schmerzen"
Parsifal: Act II, Scene XII, "Vergeh, Unseliges Weib!"
Parsifal: Act III, Scene I, Vorspiel - Prelude
Parsifal: Act III, Scene II, "Von Dorther Kam Das Stoehnen"
Parsifal: Act III, Scene III, "Heil Dir, Mein Gast!"
Parsifal: Act III, Scene IV, "Heil Mir, Dass Ich Dich Wiederfinde!"
Parsifal: Act III, Scene V, "Nicht So! Die Heil'ge Quelle Selbst Erquicke Unsres Pilgers Bad"
Parsifal: Act III, Scene VI, "Du Siehst, Das Ist Nicht So"
Parsifal: Act III, Scene VII, "Mittag. Die Stund' Ist Da"
Parsifal: Act III, Scene VIII, "Geleiten Wir Im Bergenden Schrein Den Gral Zum Heiligen Amte"
Parsifal: Act III, Scene IX, "Ja! Wehe! Wehe! Weh' Ueber Mich!"
Parsifal: Act III, Scene X, "Nur Eine Waffe Taugt"
Parsifal: Act III, Scene XI, "Hoechsten Heiles Wunder!"
26th August 2010
“The great strengths of his performances in the theatre here underpin at least one remarkable performance: René Pape's outstanding Gurnemanz. Gary Lehman's Parsifal is competent, while Violeta Urmana's Kundry mixes thrilling moments with unstable ones. Gergiev's conducting is more than sufficient compensation for those minor shortcomings, though.”
“What really distinguishes this...is Gergiev. His reading is vivid and luminous, generally expansive but with fluidly shifting tempos, unashamedly guilty of theatrical excitement. Yet he evokes a rapt quality which does convey an authentic spirituality - passionate 'Russian soul', perhaps, rather than sombre Germanic brooding, but if so, so much the better.”
“... it’s for René Pape’s majestic Gurnemanz that Wagnerites will want this set. Violeta Urmana’s Kundry is unexpectedly voluptuous, while Gary Lehman makes a conscientious Parsifal...sceptics should be won over by the way his wonderful orchestra and chorus bring Wagner’s problematic swansong to life.”
“Above all, this is Gergiev's Parsifal and it is the superlatively good playing of the Mariinsky Orchestra that, with Pape's gloriously sung Gurnemanz, makes this new set essential listening for Wagnerians...[Pape's] beautifully rounded tone and poetic diction make musical highlights of his long monologues”
“His approach is vigorously dramatic and red-blooded, treating this massive score as an urgent call to arms rather than a dreamy meditation. The Mariinsky Orchestra plays with glowing commitment throughout...Lehman is an agreeably youthful Parsifal, bright in voice and clear in diction...Evgeny Nikitin and Nikolai Putilin bring a distinctively Russian intonation to Amfortas and Klingsor.”
Awards Issue 2010
“...on grounds of the general excellence of its singers and the cumulative authority of the interpretation, this is a performance to be reckoned with...it has an imaginative force, overall, which pushes any hints of contrivance to the musical and dramatic margins.”
“[Gergiev delivers] a reading full of emotional intensity and he's helped by an impressive team of soloists. Gary Lehman is powerfully clarion-like in the title role and Rene Pape is an authoritative Gurnemanz...Urmana's Kundry, full of self-loathing, passion and longing, is hard to forget.”
New York Times
26th November 2010
“a glowing, spacious, near-flawless performance. The solid cast, headed by the tenor Gary Lehman as Parsifal, includes the greatest Gurnemanz of our time: the bass René Pape, in resplendent voice.”
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