BBC Music Magazine
Romantic Arias by Puccini, Bizet, Flotow, Verdi, Weber, Massenet, Gounod, Wagner and Berlioz
Jonas Kaufmann Label: Decca
Cat No: 475 9966
Run Time: 65:12 mins
Performance: *****
Sound: ****

This is an exciting disc, for it shows that at long last there is a German tenor whose voice is rich and warm enough to encompass the Romantic Italian repertoire, while being as much at home in French and in his native German operatic traditions. He is, in other words, a successor to Fritz Wunderlich and more besides. He launches this recital with authentic fervour in ‘Che gelida manina’, where the ringing tones aren’t at the expense of a concentration on meaning. So it is with everything that follows. These recital discs can be wearing, but Kaufmann creates the world of each of the 13 arias so compellingly that one simply wants more. Possibly the high point is his singing of the ‘Prize Song’ from Die Meistersinger, which sounds as if it is being composed as he sings it; Wagner would have been thrilled to have his intentions so precisely discerned. This disc is closely comparable to Simon Keenlyside’s Tales of Opera (on Sony); it’s exciting to think they will join forces at the Salzburg and Lucerne Festivals later this year.

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