Wow! This recording has to be one of the most beatiful recordings of a Wagner opera ever made.
Herbert von Karajan is renound for producing beautiful sounds in just about every piece he recorded, but here he created something very special. His tempo is fairly slow, but this is precisely what this opera requires to bring out its majesty and beauty. The recording is DDD and the sound is understandably wonderful and clear.
The cast is fantastic all round. Peter Hoffmann plays the title role, and he gives a magnificant performance as 'the innocent fool, enlightened by compassion'. Van Dam is brilliant as Amfortas. Nimsgern as Klingsor and Vejzovic as Kundry are wonderful (Vejzovic gives a particulary fantastic account of Kunsdry's manic laugh!). The Berlin Philharmoniker are on their usual top form in the orchestral playing and the Chor der Deutchen Oper are stunning in some of the most beautiful choral sections ever written for opera.
I listened to these CDs as if under some sort of spell cast by the music. Every section seemed to glow in beauty. From the exquisitly crafted and beautifully played prelude of Act I to the final chorus of Act III which seems to lift its sounds beyond earth and to heaven itself, this is an awe inspiring set. I listened to all 4 CDs in one sitting, unable to stop and not wanting to be deprived of the music.
Wagner's music in Parsifal is very spiritual. It was the last opera he wrote and listening to it you can here his thoughts and feel his emotions as he wrote this final encapsulating piece.
I urge, implore, and beseech whoever reads this review to buy this recording. It is truly a beautiful set. I am sorry to use the word beautiful so often, but it is really the only word which describes this music and this recording. Wonderful!!!