I read a few articles about Richard Wagner recently and became interested in hearing an opera or two. Specifically, Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal. There seems to be so many recordings of each that it's difficult to make a selection. Any suggestions?

PS: While I have listened to a lot of classical music over the years my Wagner experience is an Elmer Fuddish: Kill da wabbit!, kill da wabbit!
Actually, I saw The Flying Dutchman performed but that's it.

PSS: Funny how most of us gained our first exposure to classical music through cartoons. 8^)

You could start with this one ... Tristan un Isolde with Placido Domingo . This is a studio recording from a few years back, which is rare for opera these days as so many recordings are live.

At the time Domingo made this recording, he gave some interviews as to the difficulty of singing certain parts of this opera, as the arias can be quite long and tough on the vocal cords.

You might also consider a Bluray or DVD for your first exposure. Helps define the action.

Domingo has always been a favorite of mine so I would concur.

For just the music alone try von Karajan for either or both but especially Parsifal. His singers were also usually first rate but his conducting, at least to me, was something extraordinary.
Solti is one of the best Wagner conductors, and the recordings also sound great. Another great Tristan is Kleiber's. Knappertsbusch has a good Parsifal as well.