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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.

And yet for all the virile excitement Kaufmann brings to the arias from Wagner's at times impossible operas, he draws upon in a different concept in singing the five Wesendonck Lieder - works usually intended for the female voice but here offered in the tenor range and the result is sublime. This album was especially recorded as an offering honoring Wagner's anniversary year. It could not be a better tribute. The works included here are as follows:

Ein Schwert verhieß mir der Vater from Die Walküre
Daß der mein Vater nicht ist...Du holdes Voglein from Siegfried
Allmächt'ger Vater, blick herab from Rienzi
Inbrunst im Herzen from Tannhäuser
Am stillen Herd from Die meistersinger von Nürnberg
In fernem Land, unnahbar euren Schritten from Lohengrin
And the following Wesendonck Lieder:
Der Engel
Stehe still
Im Treibhaus
Schmerzen
Träume

And now we await Kaufmann's recorded Parsifal. He is the pinnacle of Wagnerian tenors, past and present. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, February 13
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on May 12, 2017
While this album features highlights from Wagner's opera's, I am left with wanting more. I have Mr. Kaufmanns Puccini and Verdi recordings I keep wanting a complete opera..hopefully soon! His Verdi Requim is outstanding. But, again, I keep wanting more. His aria in La Funchila is some of the most incredible singing I've ever heard. If this sounds like I'm a fan....you bet. We must wait, with patience, for his next endeavor. Little by little, I intend to get all of his recordings. Also, his performance in Aids is worthy of anything I've heard of this opera of late. Well done, keep them coming!!
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on March 6, 2013
Melchior, Windgassen, Vickers, and now Kaufmann, rich and darkly hued glorious tone, artistic subtlety and stunning onstage presence. Great Wagner singers are a rare breed. Gorgeous singing combined with great acting on the opera stage are even rarer. Jonas is truly the full package, we are fortunate to live in these times, and thanks to the Met HD we can all see his magnificent performances. I'm still glowing from the amazing Parsifal last week (a really moving and smart production as well). And I will always remember his definitive interpretation of Siegmund last year (despite the awful production). I think we're in for many great treats from Jonas in the next decade. This recording is a glimpse into some of those treats to come, (Siegfried?? maybe Tristan??). The Wesendonk lieder are amazing, They sound great in his tenor, the most beautiful interpretation of those since Flagstad.
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on April 22, 2013
Is there anything Kaufmann doesn't do brilliantly? I frequently find recital albums tedious, regardless of the quality of singing, but this one blew me away. His voice is amazing; it has a baritonal quality that is even more impressive than Domingo's, and it is expressive throughout what seems to be a huge range and at all volumes from pianissimo to fortissimo.

His choice of repertoire is also impressive, particularly his decision to record the Wesendonck lieder. Those four songs are worth the price of admission alone.

If you are interested in Wagner, or even just great tenor voices, this is a "must have."
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on May 9, 2013
You need to like Wagner, (and you probably wouldn't be reading this if you didn't) and you need to be curious about a singer who is getting so much praise. That's me. Wagner is hard work. Especially for tenors. Not many have the equipment to sing his music. This man has the equipment. Powerful one moment, lyrical the next, soaring and ecstatic or subdued and reflective, he is totally believable, always just right. He also seems to have good sense about what he will sing and what he will not. May his career go on forever.
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on April 8, 2013
I've been following Mr. Kaufmann's career for the last several years. What a great voice!!!! Although, he sings
the lighter roles and is starting to sing the heavy Wagner roles, I can't wait until he tackles Tristan, Siegfried and
Gotterdammerung. Since he is an intelligent person I hope that he will sings those roles - but only when he is
truly able to sing them properly and not rush into singing them because of the money. Too many voices have
been ruined by not having good old common sense. Mr. Kaufmann has been blessed with a voice that only
comes infrequently in the world of opera!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on May 21, 2014
I have LP's of Melchior and CD's of Windgassen in his prime. Also Vickers. I am not ready to say Jonas is the latest and greatest, because we are talking going back about 90 years in operatic history. He may not be the greatest (yet), but he most certainly is the latest! And at the perfect time too, since Placido's greatest singing days are behind him and here comes Jonas. All you need do is to listen to the great Die Walkure aria when Siegmund first sees the sword at night (Ein Schwert verhieb mir der Vater)! If that does not impress or grab you, then you just don't like Wagner!
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on February 13, 2015
Kaufmann is a phenomenon and this disc is a showcase for his talents. He interprets with finesse, is technically ultra-secure and carries his voice to both lower and higher registers with ease. I have seen the solo from the third act of 'Siegfried' many many times but never gotten as much out of it as in his rendering. Hearing Wesendocklieder sung by a tenor is a revelation. This is a must-have for anyone who even remotely likes Wagner.
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on February 26, 2013
What a great gift to the world of Opera and more specifically Wagner to have such a great talent recording and performing these works. I believe it will open the Wagner repertoire up to an entirely new audience because he performs them so well. I have loved listening and seeing Jonas Kaufmann since the very 1st CD I bought of him several years ago. This is the best yet. The Wedenconck cycle is pure magic. I had never contemplated a Tenor singing them before. But what passion! Do yourself a favor and get the recording. It's terrific.
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on May 9, 2013
Hard as I try to be esoteric about opera, I just can't. I'm just not that smart. But there are certainly enough learned scholars for that. I am of the "either I like it or I don't" opera group. And I really enjoy this! It's very well done and I congratulate Mr. Kaufman for his efforts. If you liked Deborah Voigt's Wagner and Struass variety disc of a few years back, you will probably also enjoy this as well. I certainly do.
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