Knappertsbusch is the guiding light here, with one of the finest casts ever to be put together on the same stage. It's hard to think how it might be bettered by any cast during the entire history of Wagner's last opera. I cannot say much about all the symbolism and Christian vs Pagan motifs, because I do not know all that much about it. What strikes me here is the humanity and the power of redemption, brought forth brilliantly by all the forces gathered together. For the life of me, I cannot think of a weak point in the cast. George London's anguish as Amfortas is a living thing, grabbing the listener by the throat. Jess Thomas' voice was perfect for the role, powerful and ringing, but able to convey the changes wrought upon the character throughout the course of the opera. Hans Hotter is... well, he's Hans Hotter. If you don't like his Wotan, you won't like him here. However, if you love insightful singing, with a well-honed feel for the character, then this is the place to come to and Hotter is the man to listen to. The Kundry here is wonderful. That's all I can say, since I don't know the opera well enough to give a detailed analysis of her change from the woman who laughed at Christ's Passion up to her moment of redemption and death. All the forces here act upon my emotions, even with as little as I know... and that's a feeling I never got before with Parsifal. Many times, in listening to this, I sit open mouthed with wonder at the grandeur caught here. This set makes me proud to belong to humanity. After all, if someone human, with all the frailties humanity is prone to, can produce something like this, then the creative power of God Himself surely flows through our species.
As for the sound... It's excellent, actually, for a live performance. It seems to catch the sonic ambience of Bayreuth, though I cannot personally vouch for the claim. I have heard many Bayreuth broadcasts and this sounds much better than what I hear over the radio these days. The orchestra and chorus come through loud and clear, without distortion, even on the climaxes. The principles all are bell-clear. The audience can be distracting, but that can be overlooked. Personally, I think the sound is fine. If you insist upon modern digital sound, then this is not for you. Too bad- you don't know what you're missing.