I am a Wagner enthusiast so this CD was a top priority ever since it came out. I already had Kaufmann's Verismo recital and was therefore already captivated by the voice. I had little doubt that his Wagner recital would be as good as people were saying. My expectations were more than adequately fulfilled. Kaufmann keeps alive the great Heldentenor tradition and also shows the plasticity of the finest representatives of that tradition. Most obviously, he is able to pare down his voice ideally for the greater intimacy of the Wesendonck Lieder. But in the operas as well, he stuns with the resounding blast of his cries of "Waelse" in Act 1 of Die Walkure, in the course of establishing his mastery of the sword which his father Wotan had bequeathed for emergencies. Then again, he is reserve itself in his exchange with the Woodbird, in the corresponding act of Siegfried.
Kaufmann is the star of the show. But it would be wrong to pass over the gorgeous and supporting carpet of string tone provided by the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, under the experienced eye of their director, Donald Runnicles. A perfect blend of voice and instrument faithfully captured by the warm recording.
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