So Chris’s Cache dives deep into Klingsor’s Kingdom for a Kundry Koven of Agnes Baltsa, Hildegard Behrens, Livia Budai, Mignon Dunn, Elina Garanca, Christine Goerke, Gwyneth Jones, Leonie Rysanek, and Nina Stemme.

A while back Bayreuth announced that Ekaterina Semenchuk was withdrawing from its new production and Kundry would be shared by Garanca and Ekaterina Gubanova. Then tenor problems struck the festival hard; after Stephen Gould dropped out of his two roles due to illness, Joseph Calleja announced he was skipping his Wagner debut with Andreas Schager jumping in. Then the news broke that just 330 audience members would be able to access the production’s much-ballyhooed VR technology.

The Bayreuth website now also has a dedicated “Parsifal FAQ”!

I guess we’ll find out on Tuesday how it all plays out on the Green Hill.

In the meantime, sample rare Kundrys. I’m including Budai—because why not? Rysanek’s Kundry is fairly well documented but today’s comes from a special occasion: an electrifying Wagner gala celebrating the 25th anniversary of the diva’s Met debut.

Did Baltsa ever sing another Wagner role or Kundry after this Madrid run? Many will recall that the schism between Behrens and Herbert von Karajan occurred with the soprano turned down Kundry. Years later, she’d finally take on the role.

A quite early Bayreuth Jones Parsifal was released on record but she then dropped the opera for a long while. It would be her final opera at the Met three years after today’s Vienna performance. Dunn performed the offstage Voice early in her Met career; decades later she’d sing Kundry there several years after this Cincinnati tryout with James Levine in 1978.

Goerke returns to the opera next winter in Houston, but this 2011 Turin broadcast documents her role debut. Stemme took on the role just in 2017 and this concert with the Berlin Philharmonic came a year later. The Vienna Parsifal with Jonas Kaufmann was Garanca’s first and was performed without an audience due to the pandemic. Her second-ever Kundry happens on Tuesday.

Wagner: Parsifal, Act II

Kundry: Mignon Dunn
Parsifal: Spas Wenkoff
Klingsor: John Cheek
Blumenmädchen: Alexa Jackson, Bonnie Kirk, Jill Lane McGregor, Carol Ann Mary, Beverly Rinaldo & Carol Sweeney-Sparrow

Conductor: James Levine

Cincinnati May Festival
26 May 1978

Wagner: Parsifal, Act II

Kundry: Leonie Rysanek
Parsifal: Peter Hofmann
Klingsor: Franz Mazura
Blumenmädchen: Gail Robinson, Cynthia Barnett, Eleanor Bergquist, Betsy Norden, Loretta Di Franco & Isola Jones

Metropolitan Opera
26 February 1984
In-house recording

Wagner: Parsifal, Act II

Kundry: Livia Budai
Parsifal: Gary Bachlund
Klingsor: Franz Mazura
Blumenmädchen: Elzbieta Szmytka, Jayne West Jayne, Mireille Capelle, Jeanne Ommerlé, Qilian Chen Qilian & Alexine Yerna

Conductor: Sylvain Cambreling

La Monnaie, Bruxelles
17 February 1989

Wagner: Parsifal, Act II

Kundry: Hildegard Behrens
Parsifal: Peter Seiffert
Klingsor: Kristinn Sigmundsson
Blumenmädchen: Natalie Karl, Andrea Trauboth, Ute Doring, Teresa Ringholz, Rosamund Cole, & Karen Soury

Conductor: James Conlon

Oper Köln
10 April 1998
In-house recording

Wagner: Parsifal, Act II

Kundry: Gwyneth Jones
Parsifal: Robert Schunk
Klingsor: Oskar Hillebrandt
Blumenmädchen: Ulrike Steinsky, Julia Faulkner, Margareta Hintermeier, Andrea Rost, Joanna Borowska & Jutta Geister

Conductor: Heinrich Hollreiser

Wiener Staatsoper, April 1992

In-house recording

Wagner: Parsifal, Act II

Kundry: Agnes Baltsa
Parsifal: Plácido Domingo
Klingsor: Hartmut Welker
Blumenmädchen: Elena de la Merced, María José Martos. Itxaro Mentxaka, Olatz Saitúa. María Rey-Joly & Mireia Pintó

Conductor: Luis Antonio García Navarro

Teatro Real de Madrid
3 March 2001

Wagner: Parsifal, Act II

Kundry – Christine Goerke
Parsifal – Christopher Ventris
Klingsor – Mark S. Doss
Blumenmädchen: Talia Or, Erika Grimaldi. Anastasia Boldyreva, Arianna Ballotta, Rebecca Jo Loeb & Stefanie Irányi

Conductor: Bertrand de Billy

Teatro Regio di Torino
26 January 2011

Wagner: Parsifal, Act II

Kundry: Nina Stemme
Parsifal: Stuart Skelton
Klingsor: Evgeny Nikitin
Blumenmädchen: Iwona Sobotka, Kiandra Howarth, Elisabeth Jansson, Mari Eriksmoen, Ingeborg Gillebo & Kismara Pessatti

Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle

Berlin Philharmonie
8 April 2018

Wagner: Parsifal, Act II

Kundry: Elina Garanca
Parsifal:  Jonas Kaufmann
Klingsor: Wolfgang Koch
Blumenmädchen: Ileana Tonca , Anna Nekhames, Aurora Marthens, Slávka Zámecniková, Joanna Kedzior & Isabel Signoret

Conductor: Philippe Jordan

Wiener Staatsoper
11 April, 2021

Christa Ludwig, Helge Brilioth and Ezio Flagello can also be heard in Parsifal’s second act here.

Each Wagner act 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.