More of Kubelík's Wagner
I have a lot of regard for Rafael Kubelík, and his wonderful 1980 Parsifal, which has had a long and complicated history on record. In some ways, I prefer it to Knappertsbusch's 1962 recording on Philips, though I am less sure about the 1964 set (most recently officially on Orfeo) with Jon Vickers. Thanks to the DG Web Shop, I downloaded Kubelík's 1971 SOBR Lohengrin, which has had a reasonably successful history on record. Before this, my standard recording had been the Lovro von Matačić set on Orfeo from the 1959 Bayreuther Festspiele. It doesn't have the best sound quality on the market, but Von Matačić had an excellent understanding of the score and a cast headed up by the fantastic Sándor Kónya one year after his debut on the Green Hill. Kubelík might have just knocked the venerable Bayreuth set off my pedestal.
I won't belabor the point, so I'll be succinct (necessarily). Kubelík, along with his frequent timing-mate, Hans Knappertsbusch, knew how to judge his tempi in such a manner that "real" time and "music-world" time became the same thing. His Parsifal is on the long side, up there with Knappertsbusch (both 1962 and 1964), but you wouldn't know it from listening to it. His service to the score, both in the letter and spirit, in my experience, provided an excellent example of how a conductor should approach a Wagner score. To my ears, it does not seem as though he is trying to engage Wagner in a conversation; he is translating Wagner's language to the audience. I sincerely doubt that Richard Wagner would care what any conductor thought about his decisions; it seems to me that he was interested in engaging the audience. His music is not seductive as some sort of self-congratulatory exercise. He's trying to grasp the audience in his hand and tell his story. Kubelík apparently understood this (as Furtwängler and Knappertsbusch did before him), and he was content to let Wagner do the work.
Give Kubelík's Wagner records a try if you can find them.