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4.8 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 12, 2013
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Product Description

Kaufmanns 5th solo album on Decca - specially recorded for the Wagner anniversary year by the worlds leading Wagner tenor.

Kaufmann and Wagner is a classic combination: For any Wagnerians whove been slumbering, Fafner-like, in their caves during the last few years, heres your wake-up call: Jonas Kaufmann is the tenor we've been waiting for(Washington Post).

A selection of the great Heldentenor scenes and arias coupled with the complete (and rarely recorded by the tenor voice) Wesendonck Lieder. Also includes scenes from Die Walkure, Siegfried , Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Tannhauser and Lohengrin (extended Grail Scene Gralserzahlung - with its original second verse).

Joined by one of the most formidable combinations in the opera world today the chorus and orchestra of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, under director Donald Runnicles this recording is also a sonic spectacular, made in Deccas time-honoured tradition.

Among Kaufmanns other contributions to Wagner Year will be Lohengrin at La Scala and Parsifal at The Met in February and March 2013.


From the baritonal colorings, unforced power and lyrical elegance of Mr. Kaufmanns Wagner singing on the new recording, he seems born to the [Wagner] style. --New York Times

The sheer heft and beauty of his sound, his command of legato, his ability to dial down his voice to the tenderest whisper these qualities are rare in todays Wagner tenors. --Washington Post
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Digital Booklet: Wagner
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Product Details

  • Performer: Markus Bruck
  • Orchestra: Orchester de Deutschen Oper, Berlin, Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
  • Conductor: Donald Runnicles, William Spaulding
  • Composer: Richard Wagner
  • Audio CD (February 12, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,422 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 13, 2013
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Jonas Kaufmann has it all - a stunningly beautiful voice that seems to have no limits to range or timbre, movie star good looks, perfect enunciation, and a brilliant actor. Though his other recorded recitals have left no doubt that he is the `real thing', this recording devoted entirely to Wagner proves that fact even more conclusively. He is ably supported by Donald Runnicles and the Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin and in both the operatic excerpts and the lieder the result is polished, exciting, dramatic, and simply magnificent singing.

Though Kaufmann has established his place on the stages of the world as the definitive Wagnerian tenor in the Ring, Parsifal, and Lohengrin, here he adds arias from Tannhäuser and Rienzi - roles he has yet to assume.

Of interest Kaufmann extends the Grail Narrative from Lohengrin to include the second verse - a verse Wagner cut before the premiere and which appears on recordings for the first time here. He is a brave step for Kaufmann but it does indeed demonstrate how immersed in Wagner's output he is. It is the most memorable version on records.

There are many unforgettable moments in this recording, not the least of which is the triumphant moment from the Siegmund scene when he pulls the sword and sings full voice the extended notes of `Wälse!'. There is such mighty power and breathtaking vocal production here that Kaufmann embodies the strength and determination and power of the young Siegmund. It is an astonishing achievement. Another memorable moment his Kaufmann's offering of the prayer from Rienzi.
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Format: Audio CD
In these days of a dearth of Wagnerian tenors, Jonas Kaufmann stands out like a good deed in a naughty world. It is too easy to slip into superlatives when listening to him throw himself into six great Wagner tenor arias from six different operas without any apparent strain or damage to his magnificent instrument. If I am honest, I have two very minor reservations about what is otherwise a veritable feast of Heldentenor singing, devoid of bark, slide, whine, strain or glottal attack - just pharyngeally resonant, baritonally coloured vocalisation complete with ringing top notes and a poet's way with the text. They are these: first, Kaufmann is very closely miked and as such we are not really hearing anything like an opera-house acoustic, for all that we know he can fill those big, empty spaces. Secondly, Donald Runnicles' accompaniments are a tad careful and under-dramatised, emphasising beauty over imagination - sometimes even verging on the slack. I don't want to make too much of that when the playing is so good and the sound so grateful on the ear. I miss a little of the magic which a truly charismatic conductor can impart to the Woodbird music in the "Siegfried" excerpt but it's the combination of the tenor's power and subtlety which carries the day. Having said that, the orchestral postlude to the "Rienzi" aria is exquisitely played.

Of course these chunks merely have the effect of wishing to hear him in more complete roles, and these are gradually appearing in various formats, if not as what is now the rara avis of a studio recording.

Kaufmann remains the most striking and virile Wagner tenor of his voice-type since Ramon Vinay and Jon Vickers, whose timbre his so strongly resembles.
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Thee's nothing for a reviewer to do but heap praise on praise - Jonas Kaufmann is the biggest draw in every major opera house, and since his earliest days he has shown the potential for becoming one of the greats. I'd only like to point out that he benefits from taping his new Wagner recital in the studio. Live performances caught on DVD tell us how fervently he throws himself into his roles. Here he can focus on detail and nuance. They are luxuries in Wagner singing because the mere basics are so difficult to master, and today's scarcity of heldentenors, which has been the status quo for a long time, impels lesser tenors to step into boots they cannot hope to fill.

Melchior had a legendary voice, but his vocal acting was rudimentary. Kaufmann's sensitivity is fresh and unexpected. Suddenly Siegmund has humanity and tenderness, not simply a few gestures in that direction while blaring like a klaxon. Even the much disparaged character of Siegfried, looked upon as a brainless side of beef, draws our sympathy here in the Forest Murmurs scene. Donald Runnicles keeps pace with thoughtful conducting, although he's by no means a major Wagner interpreter. It doesn't matter here. The orchestra is first-rate, and Decca's sound could hardly be better at balancing singer and orchestra.

As a previous reviewer notes, the five Wessendonck Songs are meant for female voice, and I can't remember a tenor version, but Kaufmann has been appropriating Mahler's Kindertotenlieder in concert, a cycle sung by either a man or woman - the text is definitely spoken by a father, but again I've never heard a tenor perform this music.
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