Saturday, 12 March 2011

Parsifal Covent Garden 1951

Flagstad as Kundry

Kundry was not a role that Flagstad performed anywhere near as often as Isolde or any of the Brunnhildes, but it was in her repertoire from 1935 to the early 1950s. There are not many chances to hear her in the role, a 1938 Met broadcast with generally poor sound, a commercial recording of the Act 2 duet with Melchior from 1939, and this aircheck from Covent Garden in 1951. The performance doesn't seem to exist complete (though the entire opera was broadcast by the BBC), and we only have the last hour or so from act 1 and a complete act 2. This however preserves most of Kundry's part. If nothing else it shows that Flagstad was still more than capable of delivering a very impressive performance well into her late 50s. The rest of the cast is drawn from some of the best British and continental Wagnerians of the 1950s.

Wager - Parsifal - 16 June 1951
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London
Conductor             Karl Rankl
Chorus Master Douglas Robinson
Leader             Thomas Matthews

Gurnemanz                         Ludwig Weber
Second Knight             Rhydderch Davies
Second Esquire             Monica Sinclair
First Esquire                         Adele Leigh
First Knight                         Thorsteinn Hannesson
Kundry                         Kirsten Flagstad
Amfortas                         Sigurd Bjorling
Third Esquire             William McAlpine
Fourth Esquire             John Cameron
Parsifal                         Franz Lechleitner
Titurel                         Michael Langdon
Klingsor                         Otakar Kraus
Flower Maidens            Adele Leigh, Patricia Howard, Leonne Mills, Audrey Bowman, Blanche Turner, Barbara Howitt
The Covent Garden Orchestra & Chorus
Students of Enfield Road Secondary School

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