Monday, July 25, 2011

David Randolph

"Parsifal" is the kind of opera that starts at 6 o'clock.  After it has been going three hours, you look at your watch and it says 6:20.

David Randolph -- who died last year at age 95 -- was a choral conductor whose annual holiday performances of Handel's Messiah at New York City's Carnegie Hall were very popular.  Randolph was known for getting through the entire Messiah in under three hours (including intermission).  It's no surprise he was not a fan of Richard Wagner.

Wagner decided to write an opera based on the legend of the Arthurian knight Percival's quest for the Holy Grail in 1857, but the premiere of the finished Parsifal didn't take place until 25 years later -- July 26, 1882, to be exact.  

Conductor Felix Weingartner found that "The flower-maidens' costumes showed extraordinary lack of taste, but the singing was incomparable."  (I'd like to see a picture of those costumes.  If you find one, please send it to me.)

Mark Twain disagreed with regard to the singing.  After attending a performance of Parsifal in 1891, he said this:  "Singing?  It does seem the wrong name to apply to it."

Here's a brief excerpt from a live performance of Parsifal:

No comments:

Post a Comment