Metropolitan Opera / Gurnemanz

The cast is absolutely sensational in every respect. Four years ago, Peter Mattei and René Pape reigned supreme as Amfortas and Gurnemanz respectively.

On Monday, they were even better.

[…] Pape, who was clarity embodied as Gurnemanz. The character’s main role is as the narrator of the opera and the emotional range is limited at best in the opening act. However, his gentle nature came through in the final act in his interactions with Parsifal, his gloriously rich bass sound at its finest. His physicality was also rather telling, Pape imbuing the character with a signature pacing movement throughout the opening act, only to show that same movement impaired and weaker in the final third of the opera. It added to the sense of Gurnemanz being somehow broken over the failures of the knights.

David Salazar, OperaWire

“René Pape remains an ideal Gurnemanz, his bass-baritone full-bodied, subtly colored, richly resonant. His unshakably stoic bearing in Act I warranted a little concern that this might be a wooden performance, but it served to set up his transformation in Act III, where his stony face broke into crushing despair.”

Eric C. Simpson, New York Classical Review

“Most impressive in his development is the bass René Pape, whose long role of Gurnemanz consists largely of filling in the opera’s complex back story. If his luxurious bass now reveals an occasional trace of scratch, that only add a patina to its beauty. More to the point, his declamation never feels oratorial or formal; every word and every inflection is so natural and intimate the whole performance feels like it’s overheard.”

James Jorden, Observer

…with his deep, dark and imposing voice, [René Pape] again proved ideal as Gurnemanz, a veteran knight. And the way he links crisp enunciation of the words to vocal sounds and colorings remains a model for singers.

NY Times

“The mellifluous René Pape (who has, for instance, sung over 200 Met performances in 22 roles) dominated the slow-developing but musically sumptuous first act as Gurnemanz”

The Weekly Standard