Musically, things are more coherent. Waltraud Meier has been singing Kundry for more than 20 years; she still is magnificent, and is a convincing actress as well. Among the men, Evgeny Nikitin's powerful Klingsor stands out.
Franz Josef Selig is a warm, humane Gurnemanz; Victor von Halem, another veteran, a sonorous Titurel. The weak links are Christopher Ventris's tinny Parsifal and Alexander Marco- Buhrmester's hollow Amfortas. The orchestra is in good form. In the program, Hartmut Haenchen, the conductor, polemicizes against the slow tempi of some of his colleagues, singling out James Levine's 1985 recording of ``Parsifal'' (4 hours and 33 minutes).
With 3 hours and 55 minutes, Haenchen is almost as fast as Pierre Boulez.
Jorg von Uthmann