René Pape: “The ace of bass” in Parsifal at Covent Garden

13 December 2013

In his feature on René Pape, Hugh Canning of The Sunday Times wrote before the premiere of Parsifal on November 30th “The ace of Bass… who will be 50 next year, has been at the top of his profession, the finest representative of his voice type, for the best part of 25 of those years.”

Gurnemanz is the largest role in Parsifal and in Covent Garden’s new production by Stephen Langridge with designs by Alison Chitty, René Pape has been one of the greatest assets of the performances. The Guardian comments that vocally the standard is set by René Pape’s immaculate, intense Gurnemanz, who makes every syllable in his narrations matter and The Telegraph: “René Pape’s Gurnemanz is magnificently sung: nobly authoritative, but never pompous or barking”. For The Financial Times it was “René Pape [who] brings crisp, conversational tone to Gurnemanz’s monologues.” The Wagner expert, Barry Millington wrote in the Evening Standard that “René Pape gives one of his more verbally animated performances as Gurnemanz.” Other plaudits have included “perfect” (Daily Express), “burnished beauty” (The Independent), “richly lyrical” (The Stage), “authoritative” (the Observer), “the most beautiful of bass timbres” (The Arts Desk) and “glorious” (What’s on Stage).

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