Firstly a warning, please be aware of what you are actually buying as the selection on this CD is not just a straight forward Wagner 'hits' type selection. However if you are a Wagner fan this a very thoughtful and well put together repertoire which brings together the obvious and the rare including the Wesendock-Lieder, rarely performed by a tenor as it was originally for a soprano. On the technical side this sounds on my HiFi at least, to be a very good well engineered disc with no obvious technical issues. I haven't transferred it to my iPod yet but cannot imagine that it will sound anything other than excellent.
This disc confirms Jonas Kaufmann as the pre-eminent Wagnerian tenor of his generation, including a monumentally great "In fernem Land", probably the best I have ever heard. Kaufmann brings drama and an intense but fully focused 'dark' low timbre vocal performance, always musical and you always know he is fully connected to what he is singing, there is no going through the motions with Mr Kaufmann. His interpretations of each piece are sublime, while having weight he still has a delicate touch where required. You have to wonder if Kaufmann will follow Placido Domingo in taking on lower Wagner roles in the future.
The Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin under Donald Runnicles helps Kaufmann by demonstrating an understanding of how each aria should be delivered with great sympathy to Kaufmann's performance.
This CD will not be for everyone as it is not as popularist as some of Kaufmann's other works such as Carmen and Tosca however IMHO this could be the opera release of the year.
UPDATE: I now also have the FLAC 24bit 96kHz Studio Master version of this from linnrecords dot com At £18 it is expensive but if you love Kaufmann, this CD or Wagner and you can play the FLAC files on your PC or media player then this version will blow your socks off. The CD version is excellent but the FLAC is exceptional and like all linnrecords downloads you can hear excerpts from each track before buying. The CD version is 318 mb but the FLAC Studio Master is 1,383 mb illustrating the much higher bit rate.
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