As KUNDRY in Richard Wagner's PARSIFAL

DRESDEN / DÜSSELDORF

REPLAY Photos: CFI & E. Reithmayer 2000/01
She first sang Kundry in a concert performance in Cologne in 1998. In 2000, with Semyon Bychkov conducting, she sang the role for the first time on stage at the Dresden Staatsoper (Semperoper) to great critical acclaim:

"On Sunday (in Dresden) this Kundry was Hildegard Behrens, and she was overwhelming.

-Sächsische Zeitung, May 2000 ( Dresden)

With this ageless Kundry, Ms. Behrens has created a brilliant new role...."
- Merker May 2000 (Dresden)

See text below for more.

Performances: Dresden Staatsoper - April 13 & 16 (2001); Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf - March 24 & 29, April 7 (2002)
"I have long been wondering how Hildegard Behrens would fashion her Kundry, which she was now singing for the first time on stage (after concert performances in Cologne), and whether vocally she could pass muster. My conjectures were put to an end with a major surprise: she neither fashioned nor interpreted the role of Kundry - there was absolutely no need for it: she WAS the mysterious, enigmatic being.

There was also absolutely no need for her to force the voice or to be economical with her vocal resources: all she had to do was let her voice ring out, hover and flow. She did not dramatize the vocal part nor did she push it into the depths - everything flowed from her alone, as if she had never sung another role in her life. She was a "Hoellenrose" - a most engaging "rose of hell" who evoked more the image of the "rose" than of "hell".

And she was indeed the sorceress, in the guise of a penitent for the most part... though for for long stretches she was a woman in love, radiating with boundless feeling a longing for love. She fascinated through her phrasing and her seductiveness, with a voice that had a captivatingly youthful timbre. The high notes - always her strong point - posed absolutely no problems.

The way she simply looked at Parsifal - so radiantly like a lover, with an enchanting smile that magically drew him to her - was just bewitching. When he rejected her, she displayed no anger; one felt she had been waiting for this to happen so that she might continue to love him in a totally unerotic, motherly and human way.

In her gray penitent garb of the third act, she was so toned down and restrained she was hardly physically present anymore. And yet her benign attitude of respectful servitude unmistakably exerted its influence on her surroundings.

With this ageless Kundry, Ms. Behrens has created a brilliant new role...."

- Merker May 2000 (Kundry, Dresden)translated from German original

"...who from his tower of corpses sends Kundry onto Parsifal. On Sunday (in Dresden) this Kundry was Hildegard Behrens, and she was overwhelming. The thrilled audience applauded tremendously, and this while Behrens had excused herself for an indisposition and performed the role for the first time on the stage."
Sächsische Zeitung, May 2000 (Kundry, Dresden)translated from German original

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HILDEGARD BEHRENS
dramatic soprano

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