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Subject: PARSIFAL - was : collectors and men
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sat, 9 Jun 2001 08:29:26 -0400

TEXT/PLAIN (103 lines)

In the context of this thread, I have a little mystery that someone,
perhaps, might clear up.

Recently, while checking on the operatic offerings on eBay, I was
flabbergasted to see a 4CD item going for sale for a price of (slightly
more) than 200 dollars (US$).

That item was a certain live recording of PARSIFAL with Vickers and
Rysanek (see details below).

How to explain such a price? EBay, as you all know, is an auction site,
which means that, for the item to reach such heights, you needed at least
two people willing to pay a price of such a magnitude for it, i.e. the
winning bidder, willing to pay at least as much (and conceivably much
more) and the unsuccessful higher bidder, willing to pay nearly as much.

Now there are a certain number of things that I already know and do not
need to be told...

1) I know that the music is divine
2) I know that this performance is superlative
3) I know that this is a forbidden fruit - a recording from a performance
in  a house that generally frowns on such recordings, at least when they
get beyond its control (a point that I am not willling to raise in this

However, I do not think that any of those three factors suffices, ON
ITS OWN, to explain such a high price.
1) Other recordings of PARSIFAL are available at much lesser price (we now
even have a *budget* PARSIFAL on the Opera d'Oro label)
2) Recordings of superative performances of a great many operas are widely
available at rock=bottom prices
3) Forbidden fruits are routinely put up for auction on eBay, and, while
they may sometimes reach fairly high price (e.g. around 20 bucks a CD),
nothing in that range.

But then what about this particuliar issue?

Is it true that this performance has never been made available before on
CD? And what about LPs?
And what about that Lyrica label? I have seen some of their products on
sale elsewhere - both on eBay and through Berkshire - and my  impression
is that this label is a comparatively *cheap* one (minimal documentation,
no libretto) hailing from Italy and that their other titles are not
So what about this particular release? Is it still available somewhere? Or
was it available for only a short period of time?
Does that price reflect the prices fetched by rare CD items at auctions?

Comments from more knowledgeable collectors would be much appreciated.

All of the relevant information is provided below. The only additional
info that you will get if you check on the link given below will be a scan
of the cover - a black and while picture of Jon Vickers in ecstasy (I mean
: the kind of dazed look that they get when they sing that repertory.)

Also I have not provided the address of the winning bidder. I will only
say (and that is most interesting in the context of our thread) that, to
judge by the email address, it would seem that the person in question was
a woman. -)

Pierre M. Bellemare
[log in to unmask]

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Subject: Interesting item on eBay web site item#1432857730: PARSIFAL -
Vickers Rysanek - Met 1985 LIVE

I saw this item for sale at eBay, the world's largest personal trading community, and thought that you might be interested.

Title of item:  PARSIFAL - Vickers Rysanek - Met 1985 LIVE
Starts: May-21-01 18:30:53 PDT
Ends:   May-28-01 18:30:53 PDT
Price:  Final price  $202.50

To bid on the item, (you had to) go to :

Item Description:
        Wagner - Parsifal - Jon Vickers (Parsifal); Leonie Rysanek
(Kundry); Kurt Moll (Gurnemanz); Simon Estes (Amfortas); Franz Mazura
(Klingsor); Julien Robbins (Titurel); James Levine, cond.; Lyrica
4CD.This is the performance that New Yorker Magazine critic Andrew Porter
called "blessed."  Said Porter, it was "from the opening bars to the
concluding chord, a performance of such beauty, spirituality, depth and
intense feeling, that one could not come away from it unchanged or
unaffected."  Jon Vickers is radiant in one of his greatest roles.
Leonie Rysanek, although perhaps a bit past her vocal prime, is an
intense Kundry, by terms demonic and seductive.  (This recording is the
only one of Rysanek's Kundry on disc and thus is doubly precious.)  But
the most amazing performance of all is Kurt Moll's Gurnemanz, sung with
lieder-like subtlety and a voice like black velvet; every time Moll
sings, one wants just to bask in the beauty of his tone.  James Levine
and the Met orchestra  are beyond praise.The sound is excellent - clear
stereo.  There are three or four very short dropouts, apparently where
tapes were being changed, and the very first bars of the prelude are
missing, but IMO this hardly matters.  This is a great, great performance
of Parsifal.This performance has never before been available on CD.

        Visit eBay, the world's largest Personal Trading Community at

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