The Ace of Bass
24 Nov 2013
As René Pape gets set to wow us with his Gurnemanz, he reveals how he really feels about Wagner
It is the lot of operatic basses that, with few exceptions —Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov being the obvious example — they tend to take a back seat to star tenors and sopranos. René Pape’s Gurnemanz may have been the outstanding performance in the Met’s new production of Wagner’s Parsifal, beamed live in HD to cinemas worldwide, but you can bet it was Jonas Kaufmann’s appearance in the title role that put millions of bums on seats.
The German 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. In 1991, the late Georg Solti chose him for the Mozart bicentenary-year production of The Magic Flute at the Salzburg Festival — the youngest singer to have played Sarastro there.
– Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times