In advance of tonight’s premiere of the Met’s Der Fliegende Holländer revival, Chris’s Cache follows up its previous installment “Unexpected Wagneriennes” with in-house recordings of notable local live performances featuring two famous divas in familiar roles.Christa Ludwig sings Kundry in Parsifal with Helge Brilioth, Thomas Stewart and Cesare Siepi conducted by Leopold Ludwig, followed by a legendary Birgit NilssonJon Vickers Tristan und Isolde led by Erich Leinsdorf.

Ludwig sang just three Kundrys when the 1971 new production premiered; she’d return to the role at the Met only in 1979 after a five-year absence. Brilioth and conductor Ludwig’s debuts came just a week earlier as did Siepi’s first local Gurnemanz and only German role there.

In another season plagued by Tristan changes, Vickers would only sing his role twice—this is the second and the only one with Nilsson. She’d perform her role three times more that season opposite Jess Thomas and then never again in the US. This performance marked Paul Plishka’s first Marke, a role he came back to 25 years later for a single performance in 1999.

Wagner: Parsifal

Kundry: Christa Ludwig
Flower Maidens: Gail Robinson, Frederica von Stade, Jacqueline Pierce, Joy Clements, Nedda Casei, Shirley Love
Voice: Batyah Godfrey Ben-David
First Esquire: Loretta Di Franco
Second Esquire: Ivanka Myhal
Parsifal: Helge Brilioth
Amfortas: Thomas Stewart
Gurnemanz: Cesare Siepi
Klingsor: Ezio Flagello
Titurel: John Macurdy
Third Esquire: Leo Goeke
Fourth Esquire: Robert Schmorr
First Knight: Rod MacWherter
Second Knight: Rober Goodloe

Conductor: Leopold Ludwig

Metropolitan Opera House
21 November 1970
In-house recording

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

Isolde: Birgit Nilsson
Brangäne: Michèle Vilma
Tristan: Jon Vickers
Kurwenal: William Dooley
King Marke: Paul Plishka
Melot: William Lewis
Sailor’s Voice: Raymond Gibbs
Shepherd: Nico Castel
Steersman: Louis Sgarro

Conductor: Erich Leinsdorf

Metropolitan Opera
30 January 1974
In-house recording

Each Wagner opera can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.