May be to most opera goers globally Jonas Kaufmann is a relatively new name. However, research shows this tenor has been around for almost two decades, with solid vocal credentials to his credit by singing in mostly European houses.
Some of the operatic excerpts in this new album are from operas that Kaufmann has sung on stage and recorded over the years: Fierrabras, Fidelio, Die Zauberflote, Parsifal, though I don't think he has performed Die Walkure yet.
I am not sure if he is a heldentenor in the specie of Melchior, but his similarity with Vickers has been noted by many. I think one major difference between Kaufmann and Vickers is that Kaufmann is able to tackle roles for smaller voices that Vickers was not adept.
If Kaufmann is able to keep his performances mostly in Europe and smaller houses, there is an overwhelming chance that he would become the next standard bearer of German opera.
One very good thing about Kaufmann's singing is that he is always very affecting, no matter in Mozart, Schubert, Wagner, Beethoven or what not.
Some have queried his interpretation in Dies Bildnis as being 'over'. To me, Kaufmann's version is 'just fine', more affecting and human than the vocally 100% performance of Fritz Wunderlich more than half a century ago. It is exactly this aspect of Kaufmann's singing that will set him apart from other big names in German or other repertoire.
I fully agree that this album is among the finest vocal album to come out this past decade.