After a long road of learning to appreciate this opera, I finally found this version with Flagstad, a legendary Isolde. I was moved beyond measure. I really care less that "another great German soprano" sang a couple of high C's for her in the great second act duet. Two notes a role does not make. This is a thrilling performance, and the conducting is sublime. The opera moves constantly forward, never lingering too long on any one thought or feeling (or any one measure, either). The opera is very much alive, and very moving.
Of all the recordings of this opera out there, this is by far the very best. EMI was wise to use it in its famous works series. The sound is lush, but one never hears the incredible sound one listens to in the Decca Ring conducted by Solti. EMI never was able to record sound with as much depth and with the fullest of frequency that Decca was able to do. That depth of frequency in recording does much for Wagner. However, that is a very little thing when the whole is considered. This recording is lush, wonderful, and moving. The sound is very full, and the singers are balanced with the orchestra and not recorded too closely.
This is a must buy for anyone wanting this opera in their collection. It is well worth the price.