In the operatic world, there are now many fine lyrical tenors, almost a 'United Nations' of fine singers. However for me, Jonas Kaufmann is the greatest. I first heard him at Covent Garden in September last year in 'Don Carlo' and was immediately impressed by the voice of this man, his stage presence and his superb acting ability.
Kaufmann is a German, as was the late, great Fritz Wunderlich. Wunderlich sang the Italian repertoire too, but almost all his recorded work is sung in German, as was the fashion in the Germany of his day. Not so Jonas Kaufmann, he sings in the language in which the opera was written, be it German or French or Italian. He first CD explored the familiar Italian and French repertory followed by a second CD where he concentrated mainly on Wagner plus a little of Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven.
Now with this new disc, he is back in the Italian field, all the items from the 19th century, but this time, he mixes the familiar with some lesser known works, and avoids Puccini and Verdi altogether. For instance, there is an aria from the Leoncavallo 'La Boheme' and some lesser known pieces by Zandonai, Ponchielli and Refice. The voice is thrillingly powerful but he is perfectly capable of singing softly when necessary. Some may find the voice a little dark for this kind of singing, but I do not think it matters one bit. Try this disc, I believe that you will not regret it.