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Wagner: Parsifal / Elsner, Selig, DeYoung, Nikitin, Schulte, Ivashchenko

Notes & Reviews:

PentaTone presents Parsifal, the third recording in their monumental undertaking to record all 10 of Wagner's major operas. Performed by top Wagner soloists under the direction of Marek Janowski, the series has already met with great critical acclaim. 'Janowski's Dutchman indicates that he is on course for a triumphant Wagner cycle' - Gramophone Magazine (Der Fliegende Hollander, Editor's Choice)

The Guardian
The set is beautifully engineered, and the presentation immaculate.

BBC Music Magazine
It has spontaneity of something which has sunk so deeply into the performers' minds and souls that they can throw caution to the wind and still be accurate...Elsner is a wonderfully sensitive and expressive Parsifal...But the strongest performance of all is the Amfortas of Evgeny Nikitin...If Janowski's planned cycle...continues like this, it will unquestionably be the finest modern traversal on disc of Wagner's achievement.

Financial Times
The strongest contributions come from Evgeny Nikitin's Amfortas and Eike Wilm Schulte's Klingsor.

American Record Guide, July / August 2012
Pentatone's presentation is superb. The booklet includes the complete libretto in German, English, and French and good notes that trace the history of the opera, citing comments by Thomas Mann, Debussy, Stravinsky, and Berg. They also discuss the characters in some detail.

International Record Review, September 2012
Janowski's approach is pointedly symphonic...[Elsner] proves an inspired choice as Parsifal, dark-toned yet lyrical...DeYoung delivers what is by some margin her most compelling performance to date...She pins you to your seat with her description of her alter ego laughing at Christ...All told, this is a Parsifal - in modern sound - to rank with some of the great performances on disc.

Financial Times, 5th January 2013
These performances sound polished and well cast, revealing diaphanous beauty and detail in the orchestration...Parsifal is distinguished by Franz-Josef Selig's majestic Gurnemanz.

MusicWeb International, August 2012
The first benefit that strikes the listener is the quality of the recorded sound... This is matched by a vivid performance from the orchestra, who have played Wagner brilliantly throughout this cycle so far...Selig is outstanding, anchoring the whole set with gravitas and weight. He sings not only with authority but with outstanding beauty...Nikitin is outstanding at evoking sympathy...DeYoung's Kundry is outstanding because she gets inside both aspects of the role.

Gramophone Magazine, October 2012
Familiar tropes from previous concerts in this all-Wagner series resurface. Pacing is generally quite quick. Casting and characterisation are naturalistic, apparently written by Wagner. Gurnemanz (Selig) sounds like an inquisitive old squire rather than a retired Wotan waiting to unearth the secrets of the universe. Parsifal (Elsner) is a rough, innocent outsider instead of the chosen one in embryo.

Sunday Times, 15th July 2012
The Parsifal strikes me as one of the finest on disc, easily the best of the past decade, with an avuncular, Sachs-like Gurnemanz in Franz-Josef Selig, an exciting Kundry in Michelle DeYoung, Evgeny Nikitin's noble, anguished Amfortas (better than in 2010's Gergiev/Mariinsky set) and, best of all, Christian Elsner's ideally lyrical and heroic Parsifal.



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