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Parsifal discography

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Parsifal discography

This is a partial discography of Parsifal, an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner.

Parsifal was expressly composed for the stage at Bayreuth and many of the most famous recordings of the opera come from live performances on that stage. In the pre-LP era, Karl Muck conducted excerpts from the opera at Bayreuth which are still considered some of the best performances of the opera on disc (they also contain the only sound evidence of the bells constructed for the work's premiere, which were later melted down by the Nazis during World War II). Hans Knappertsbusch was the conductor most closely associated with Parsifal at Bayreuth in the post-war years, and the performances under his baton in 1951 marked the re-opening of the Bayreuth Festival after the Second World War. These historic performances were recorded in mono sound, originally issued but now no longer available on the Teldec label, and reissued in 2003 on Naxos Historical. Knappertsbusch recorded the opera again for Philips in 1962 in stereo, and this release is often considered to be the classic Parsifal recording.[1] There are also many "unofficial" live recordings from Bayreuth, capturing virtually every Parsifal cast ever conducted by Knappertsbusch.

Amongst the studio recordings, those by Herbert von Karajan and Daniel Barenboim (the latter two both conducting the Berlin Philharmonic) have been widely praised.[2] The von Karajan recording was voted "Record of the Year" in the 1981 Gramophone Awards. Also highly regarded is a recording of Parsifal under the baton of Rafael Kubelík. Originally recorded for Deutsche Grammophon but never released, it is now available on the Arts Archives label.

On the Saturday 14 December 2013 broadcast of BBC 3'S CD Review – Building a Library, music critic David Nice surveyed recordings of Parsifal and recommended the 1980 recording by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Rafael Kubelik (conductor), as the best available choice.[3]

Audio recordings

Year Cast
(Parsifal, Kundry, Gurnemanz, Amfortas, Klingsor)
Opera house and/or orchestra
Label Catalogue number
1949 Günther Treptow, Anny Konetzni, Ludwig Weber, Paul Schöffler, Adolf Vogel Rudolf Moralt,
Wiener Symphoniker
Myto (Mono) 4MCD 954.136
1950, Italian Alfrico Baldelli, Maria Callas, Boris Christoff, Rolando Panerai, Giuseppe Modesti Vittorio Gui,
Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro di Roma della RAI
Cetra (Mono) CDAR 2020
1951 Hermann Uhde Hans Knappertsbusch,
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Naxos Historical (Mono) 8.110221-24
1954 Wolfgang Windgassen, Martha Mödl, Josef Greindl, Hans Hotter, Gustav Neidlinger Hans Knappertsbusch,
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Golden Melodram GM 1.0053
1958 Eberhard Wächter, Régine Crespin, Josef Greindl, Hans Beirer, Jerome Hines Hans Knappertsbusch,
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Golden Melodram GM 1.0058
1959 Eberhard Wächter, Martha Mödl, Josef Greindl, Hans Beirer, Jerome Hines Hans Knappertsbusch,
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Golden Melodram GM 1.0070
1961 Fritz Uhl, Elisabeth Höngen/Christa Ludwig, Hans Hotter, Eberhard Waechter, Walter Berry Herbert von Karajan,
Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Vienna State Opera Chorus
RCA 61950
1962 Gustav Neidlinger Hans Knappertsbusch,
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Philips Classics 475 7785
1963 Ludwig Weber, Hans Hotter, Wolfgang Windgassen, Gustav Neidlinger, Irene Dalis Hans Knappertsbusch,
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Golden Melodram GM L0034
1964 Jon Vickers, Barbro Ericson, Hans Hotter, Thomas Stewart, Gustav Neidlinger Hans Knappertsbusch,
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Arcadia KLMP 451.4
1970 James King, Gwyneth Jones, Franz Crass, Thomas Stewart, Donald McIntyre Pierre Boulez,
Bayreuth Festival Orhestra, Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Deutsche Grammophon 435718
1972 René Kollo, Christa Ludwig, Gottlob Frick, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Zoltan Kelemen Georg Solti,
Vienna Philharmonic Orhestra, Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung, Vienna Boys' Choir
Decca 470805
1976 René Kollo, Gisela Schröter, Ulrik Cold, Theo Adam, Reid Bunger Herbert Kegel
Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra and chorus
Berlin/VEB Deutsche Schallplatten DDR 0013482BC
1979–1980 Peter Hofmann, Dunja Vejzović, Kurt Moll, José van Dam, Siegmund Nimsgern Herbert von Karajan,
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
Deutsche Grammophon 413347
1980 James King, Yvonne Minton, Kurt Moll, Bernd Weikl, Franz Mazura Rafael Kubelík
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Arts Archives 430272
1981 Reiner Goldberg, Yvonne Minton, Robert Lloyd, Wolfgang Schoene, Aage Haugland Armin Jordan
Monte Carlo Radio Orchestra
Erato 2292-45662-2
1985 Warren Ellsworth, Waltraud Meier, Phillip Joll, Donald McIntyre, Nicholas Folwell Reginald Goodall
Welsh National Opera Chorus & Orchestra
EMI 65665
1987 Peter Hofmann, Waltraud Meier, Hans Sotin, Simon Estes, Franz Mazura James Levine
Bayreuth Festspielhaus orchestra and chorus
Philips 434 616-2
1990 Siegfried Jerusalem, Waltraud Meier, Matthias Holle, José van Dam, Gunter von Kannen Daniel Barenboim,
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin State Opera Chorus
Teldec 74448
1993[4] Plácido Domingo, Jessye Norman, Kurt Moll, James Morris, Ekkehard Wlaschiha James Levine,
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Deutsche Grammophon 437501
2005 Plácido Domingo, Waltraud Meier, Franz-Josef Selig, Falk Struckmann, Wolfgang Bankl Christian Thielemann
Vienna State Opera Orchestra and chorus
Deutsche Grammophon 4776006
2005 Richard Decker, Doris Soffel, Wolfgang Schöne, Matthias Hölle, Mikolaj Zalasinski Gabor Ötvös
Teatro La Fenice Orchestra and chorus
Dynamic (record label) 33497
2009 Gary Lehman, Violeta Urmana, René Pape, Evgeny Nikitin, Nikolai Putilin Valery Gergiev
Orchestra and chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre
Issued on hybrid SACD: Mariinsky, 2009 n/a
2012 Christian Elsner, Michelle DeYoung, Franz-Josef Selig, Evgeny Nikitin, Eike Wilm Schulte Marek Janowski
Rundfunkchor Berlin and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Pentatone Marek Janowski Wagner Opera Cycle PTC5186401

Video recordings

This is a partial filmography of Parsifal (1882), an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. In addition to the productions of the complete opera listed below, there is a 1998 documentary directed by Tony Palmer, titled: Parsifal – The Search for the Grail. It was recorded in various European theaters, including: the Mariinsky Theatre, the Ravello Festival, Siena, and the Bayreuth Festival. It contains extracts from Mr. Palmer's stage production of Parsifal starring Plácido Domingo, Violeta Urmana, Matti Salminen, Nikolai Putilin and Anna Netrebko. It includes interviews with Domingo, Wolfgang Wagner, Robert Gutman and Karen Armstrong. The film exists in two versions: (1) a complete version running 116 minutes and officially approved by Domingo, and (2) an 88 minute version, cut as a result of being censored in Germany as being too "political", "uncomfortable" and "irrelevant".[5]

(Parsifal, Kundry, Gurnemanz,
Amfortas, Klingsor, Titurel)
Opera house, orchestra
Stage director Label /
Cat. #
1981 Siegfried Jerusalem, Eva Randová, Hans Sotin,
Bernd Weikl, Leif Roar, Matti Salminen
Horst Stein,
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele
Wolfgang Wagner DG Unitel / 0734328
1982 Reiner Goldberg, Yvonne Minton, Robert Lloyd,
Wolfgang Schöne, Aage Haugland, Hans Tschammer
Armin Jordan,
Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Hans-Jürgen Syberberg Image Entertainment / n/a. This film was released theatrically with the following actors appearing on the screen in place of the singers – Parsifal 1: Michael Kutter, Parsifal 2: Karen Krick, Kundry: Edith Clever, Amfortas: Armin Jordan, Titurel: Martin Sperr.
1992 Poul Elming, Waltraud Meier, John Tomlinson,
Falk Struckmann, Günter von Kannen, Fritz Hübner
Daniel Barenboim,
Chor der Deutschen Staatsoper & Staatskapelle Berlin
Harry Kupfer EuroArts / 2066738
1993 Siegfried Jerusalem, Waltraud Meier, Kurt Moll,
Bernd Weikl, Franz Mazura, Jan-Hendrik Rootering
James Levine,
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & Chorus
Otto Schenk DG / 0730329
DVD direction: Brian Large
1998 Poul Elming, Linda Watson, Hans Sotin,
Falk Struckmann, Ekkehard Wlaschiha, Matthias Hölle
Giuseppe Sinopoli,
Orchestra of the Bayreuther Festspiele
Wolfgang Wagner C Major / 705908
2004 Christopher Ventris, Waltraud Meier, Matti Salminen,
Thomas Hampson, Tom Fox, Bjarni Thor Kristinsson
Kent Nagano,
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Festspielchor Baden-Baden
Nikolaus Lehnhoff Opus Arte / OA0915D
2006 Richard Decker, Doris Soffel, Matthias Hölle,
Wolfgang Schöne, Mikolaj Zalasinski, Ulrich Dünnebach
Gabor Ötvös,
Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro La Fenice di Venezia
Denis Krief Dynamic / 33497
2007 Christopher Ventris, Yvonne Naef, Matti Salminen,
Michael Volle, Rolf Haunstein, Günther Groissböck
Bernard Haitink,
Zurich Opera House
Hans Hollmann DG / 0734407
2013 Johan Botha, Michaela Schuster, Stephen Milling,
Wolfgang Koch, Wolfgang Koch, Milcho Borovinov
Christian Thielemann,
Salzburg Easter Festival, Staatskapelle Dresden
Michael Schulz DG / 0734939 DVD – DG – 0735036 Blu-ray



  1. ^ Holloway, Robin (1982) in "Opera on Record", Harper and Row ISBN 0-06-090910-2
  2. ^ Blyth, Alan (1992), "Opera on CD" Kyle Cathie Ltd, ISBN 1-85626-056-9
  3. ^ Nice, David. "Wagner 200 Building a Library: Parsifal". CD Review. BBC Radio 3. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Parsifal, Deutsche Grammophon
  5. ^ "Parsifal – The Search for the Grail". Presto Classical Limited. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 


  • Brown, Jonathan (1992). Parsifal on Record : a discography of complete recordings, selections, and excerpts of Wagner's music drama (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press). ISBN 0313285411
  • discography, accessed 12 May 2009
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