Great playing ! Yes it is a bombastic piece of work (but are not operatic fantasies that be default).
Not all are bombastic, but it is probably a reasonable assumption. This one, however, I find more bombastic than most.
I can't help marveling at the sheer beauty of Wagner's big theme (I was not aware this was from Rienzi). Whatever you think of the man and his long-winded operas, some of his tunes are heavenly. I just wish Liszt had treated that with more respect and not woven so much virtuoso rhetoric around it.
Ironically, I think the one thing which didn't come naturally to Liszt, and which emphatically did to Wagner, was writing melodies that stand on their own and not as a function of their harmony (for example, Liszt's most famous melody, Liebestraum no. 3, where the first two bars of "melody" aren't melody until you include the harmony). However when you write paraphrases, melodies are pre-packaged and fair game for anything: it is almost de rigueur from the late 1830s onwards that a long, slow-moving melody will be swathed in arpeggios and suchlike (or "pianistic confectionery" as it says in the sleeve notes of one of my CDs).