WAGNER Parsifal [download]
Valery Gergeiv Musical director & conductor
Mariinsky Orchestra & Chorus
Evgeny Nikitin Amfortas
Alexei Tanovitski Titurel
René Pape Gurnemanz
Gary Lehman Parsifal
Nikolai Putilin Klingsor
Violeta Urmana Kundry
Knights of the Grail
Alla Martynenko Voice from Above
Total duration 258m35s
Catalogue number MAR0508
James Mallinson producer
John Newton & Dirk Sobotka recording engineers
Jonathan Stokes & Neil Hutchinson for
Classic Sound Ltd editing, mixing & mastering
Sung in German. Libretto in German, English, Russian & French
Includes multi-channel 5.0 and stereo mixes.
Notes in English / en Francais / auf Deutsch / на русском языке
Disc of the Month
Performance ***** Recording *****
'What really distinguishes this, though, is Gergiev. His reading is vivid and luminous, generally expansive but with fluidly shifting tempos, unashamedly guilty of theatrical excitement. Gergiev, with the vigorous Mariinsky chorus and orchestra, achieves a glowing translucency in both choral and orchestral textures.'
BBC Music Magazine
CDs of the Year Los Angeles Times
CDs of the Year New York Times
Editor's Choice 'A truly moving experience, one of the finest Wagner recordings of recent years.' Gramophone
La Clef Res Musica
ffff 'La Kundry passionnée de Violeta Urmana, le Gurnemanz très tendre de René Pape nuancent subtilement cette palette crue... le son devient couleur, la musique peinture.' Télérama
CD of the Week 'Startling beautiful, rapturously sung and radiantly recorded.' BBC Radio 3 CD Review
'A magnificent recording.' Der Neue Merker
'Gergiev presumably wanted to record a Parsifal that measured up to the international competition... and he's certainly succeeded.' Daily Telegraph
'This recording, taken from live performances in June, 2009 in St. Petersburg, is marvelously theatrical, with the situations dictating tempo and flow. The spiritual moments glow in a way that is rarely achieved, and the Mariinsky Orchestra plays magnificently from start to finish. The voice [Gary Lehman] has weight and authority and enough flexibility to caress some phrases and create quite a grand effect with others. His attention never flags, and he looms over the proceedings as rightly he should; wisdom, piety, and justice never sounded this good. When he comes across Kundry again in Act 3 it's quite an event. Violeta Urmana's Kundry, like all of her work, is vocally remarkable: there's not a weak spot in her voice, even in this difficult-to-cast part.' ClassicsToday.com
'The cast is outstanding, with impressive performances from the brilliant René Pape (Gurnemanz) and Evgeny Nikitin (Amfortas)... This is a landmark for Gergiev and, at mid-price – or even if it were full-price – worth every penny.'
'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.'
International Record Review
'Marvelously theatrical... The spiritual moments glow in a way that is rarely achieved, and the Mariinsky Orchestra plays magnificently from start to finish... Besides Gergiev's leadership and the orchestra's playing, the other crucial thing about this set is René Pape's Gurnemanz. His attention never flags, and he looms over the proceedings as rightly he should; wisdom, piety, and justice never sounded this good. Violeta Urmana's Kundry, like all of her work, is vocally remarkable: there's not a weak spot in her voice, even in this difficult-to-cast part.' ClassicsToday.com
Valery Gergiev, Mariinsky Orchestra
Parsifal, the Mariinsky label's first recording of a Wagner opera, features an exceptional international cast led by René Pape, Gary Lehman and Violeta Urmana.
Wagner described his final complete opera as '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.
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.