Parsifal (2 CD) - Maria Callas

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Parsifal (2 CD) - Maria Callas
Wagner: Parsifal (Roma, 20-21/11/1950)(2CD)
Label: PRX/Warner Classics/Parlophone

In her early years as a dramatic soprano, Callas sang three Wagner roles: Isolde, Brünnhilde (Die Walküre) and Kundry inParsifal. This performance of Wagner’s final opera, recorded for Italian state radio late in 1950, became her farewell to the composer.

Although only 26 at the time, she showed a deep understanding of the complex and tortured character of Kundry, a mythical woman who is hundreds of years old.

The previous year, while singing Isolde in Venice, Callas had been encouraged by the conductor Tullio Serafin to take on the coloratura role of Elvira inI puritaniat very short notice; it set a new and decisive direction for her career.


Richard Wagner’s Parsifal

First seen in 1882, Wagner’s final masterpiece was written specifically for the space and acoustics of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, where it was meant to be performed exclusively. The Met presented the first staged production outside Bayreuth in 1903. With a score of magnificent subtlety and beauty and a story that blends the legend of the Holy Grail with Christian imagery, Buddhist ideas, and 19th-century European philosophy, Parsifal is a unique work that transcends the boundaries of the standard repertoire. “Parsifal is not just an opera—it’s a mission,” says François Girard, who directed the Met’s acclaimed 2013 production. “At the end of his life, Wagner was trying to reconcile all the aspects of his spirituality. It’s a sacred piece in the history of music.”


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