Richard Wagner is best known for creating several complex operas, including Tristan and Isolde and Ring Cycle, as well as for his anti-semitic writings. 43 CD set on Membran International Documents: Der Fliegende Hollander (Krauss–1944); Tannhauser (Heger–1951); Lohengrin (Keilberth–1953); Das Rheingold (Neuhold–1993); Die Walküre (Neuhold–1994); Siegfried (Neuhold–1994); Götterdämmerung (Neuhold –1995); Rienzi (Zillig–1950); Parsifal (Knappertsbusch–1951); Die Feen (Ötvös–1998); Meistersinger (Karajan–1951); Das Liebesverbot (Heger–1963); Tristan & Isolde (Furtwängler–1952). Included is a 24 page booklet with cast lists, plot summaries, and background notes.
Parsifal (WWV 111) is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a 13th-century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival (Percival) and his quest for the Holy Grail (12th century). Wagner first conceived the work in April 1857 but did not finish it until twenty-five years later. It was Wagner's last completed opera and in composing it he took advantage of the particular acoustics of his Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Parsifal was first produced at the second Bayreuth Festival in 1882. The Bayreuth Festival maintained a monopoly on Parsifal productions until 1903, when the opera was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
James Levine's is a more recent entry in the realm of Dutchman recordings, and sonically the recording is absolutely stunning, with great attention having been paid to the recording process. The casting for this Metropolitan Opera effort is also uniformly first rate, even in the less grateful roles of the hapless Erik, sung by the impressive Ben Heppner, and the scolding nurse, Mary, sung by Birgitta Svendén. Morris's brooding Dutchman is hard to match on any other available recording, and Deborah Voigt is a ravishing Senta. The chorus work is quite good, though not quite as rich as that heard in the Solti/Chicago recording. Overall, Levine does a workmanlike job of conducting these impressive forces, though there are passages in which his tempi seem to drag. This recording is a must for anyone who needs a completely up to date version of Wagner's first major opera.
Wolfgang Sawallisch (26 August 1923 – 22 February 2013) was a German conductor and pianist. (…) When he debuted at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus conducting Tristan und Isolde in 1957, he was the youngest conductor ever to appear there. (…) For thirty years, he was closely associated with musical events in Munich. Here he conducted practically all of the major Richard Strauss operas, Salome being the sole exception. He also conducted 32 complete Richard Wagner Ring des Nibelungen cycles and is credited with nearly 1200 opera performances in the city alone…