To mark the opening of the Ring Cycle at Bayreuth this week, I posted three recordings of Wotan’s Farewell yesterday. Today’s offering on the Green Hill is Parsifal, so I thought we might listen to a few different approaches to the final scene from that opera.
Lauritz Melchior (rec. 1924)
Gotthelf Pistor (rec. 1928)
Torsten Ralf (rec. 1946)
Wolfgang Windgassen (rec. ca. 1954)
James King (rec. 1971)
(Parsifal, accompanied by Gurnemanz and Kundry, has appeared unobserved among the knights and now steps forward and extends the Spear, touching Amfortas’s side with its point.)
But one weapon serves:
only the Spear that smote you
can heal your wound.
(Amfortas’s features light up in holy ecstasy; he seems to stagger under overpowering emotion; Gurnemanz supports him.)
Be whole, absolved and atoned!
For I now will perform your task.
O blessed be your suffering,
that gave pity’s mighty power
and purest wisdom’s might
to the timorous fool!
(Parsifal steps towards the center, holding the Spear aloft before him)
I bring back to you
the holy Spear!
(All gaze in supreme rapture at the uplifted Spear to whose point Parsifal raises his eyes and continues ecstatically)
O supreme joy of this miracle!
This that could heal your wound
I see pouring with holy blood
yearning for that kindred fount
which flows and wells within the Grail.
No more shall it be hidden:
uncover the Grail, open the shrine!
(Parsifal mounts the altar steps, takes the Grail from the shrine already opened by the squires, and falls to his knees before it in silent prayer and contemplation. – The Grail gradually glows with a soft light. – Increasing darkness below and growing illumination from above.)
Miracle of supreme salvation!
Our Redeemer redeemed!
(A beam of light: the Grail glows at its brightest. From the dome a white dove descends and hovers over Parsifal’s head. – Kundry slowly sinks lifeless to the ground in front of Parsifal, her eyes uplifted to him. Amfortas and Gurnemanz kneel in homage to Parsifal, who waves the Grail in blessing over the worshipping brotherhood of knights.)