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Subject: Parsifal 2/23/18
From: Jean Scarr <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Tue, 27 Feb 2018 11:17:04 -0500

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I listened to the opening night stream and also the Saturday matinee broadcast  . I commented on the production as I remembered it five years ago. I said that I would write a few words about the musical side of things after I saw the performance in the house. I attended the Feb. 23 performance.

I know I am going against the grain, but I found that YNS failed to grasp the delicacy of the score.  I have heard many performances of this work at the Met.  This one by far was the loudest in Acts One and Three.  Only the "non-transformation" scenes require a certain amount of bombast, which the orchestra played brilliantly.  Most of the underlying score in these two acts are so ethereal, soft, magical, and truly beautiful.  Because of the heavy handed approach, we lost most of the voice of Rene Pape.  I have heard this great bass sing at the Met many times.  He may have been ill, but the voice was drowned in the orchestral playing. I sensed that perhaps he decided not to compete with the pit. So, as Gurnamanz goes, so goes the opera! Kudos to the other male singers.  I continue to dislike Act Two with all the blood, and I felt that the stage was even darker than it was five years ago during acts One and Three. 

Regardless of the musical interpretation and a problematic production, "Parsifal" is a transforming experience which I am happy I was able to attend.  The following night I saw my first "Semiramide" with a substitute tenor and conductor. At least I could see the stage!  It was nice to see the gold curtain also.  Apparently, this production is 25 years old; "Parsifal" is five years old.  A lot changed in those 20 years, some good, some bad. Jean

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