. . . it showcases the beauty, power and flexibility of the young German tenor of the moment, Jonas Kaufmann . . . Buy this, his second recital for Decca, and he's nestling into his heartland, German-language opera, though any tenor who mixes singing Lohengrin and Parsifal with Tamino's arias from "Die Zauberflöte" believes in variety. The steadiness of pitch; the range of colours; the baritone depths; the subtle phrasing and characterisations; the dynamic variety; the delicate line of his Mozart; the ardour in Florestan's Gott' Welch dunkel hier from "Fidelio"; his clarion call in Wagner, lubricated and lightened with Italianate sunshine: these perhaps are the main reasons for curling in front of the hi-fi in wonder . . . Kaufmann's seriousness of purpose is very refreshing. . . . Even the track order is sensible, with Wagner's enraptured visions of the Holy Grail from "Lohengrin" and "Parsifal" leading us in and out, and two curiosities from Schubert's forgotten operas at the centre (the symphony's scherzo, if you like). Whatever he sings, too, is cradled by the equally refined musicianship of Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. They're as much of a chameleon as Kaufmann, pumping up lushly when Wagner calls, slimming back the vibrato for Mozart and gliding with lyrical rapture in the track from Schubert's "Alfonso und Estrella", an aria of simple charms. But however well judged and glowing Abbado's orchestra is, there's no question over where the true glory lies. It's in Kaufmann's larynx, heart and head.
Too good to be true: this was my first response to Jonas Kaufmann's new disc.
But each re-listening has brought new things to praise, new confirmation of the singer's extraordinary gifts . . . each performance makes it abundantly clear that an artist of uncommon conviction is at work therein . . . this is one of the most rewarding opera-singer CDs to have come my way for years.
Zu schön, um wahr zu sein: Das war meine erste Reaktion auf Jonas Kaufmanns neues Album. Doch bei jedem erneuten Hören fand ich neue eindrucksvolle Dinge, neue Bestätigung der ungewöhnlichen Fähigkeiten des Sängers . . . jede Interpretation lässt deutlich erkennen, dass hier ein ungewöhnlich überzeugender Künstler am Werk ist . . . dies ist in meinen Augen seit Jahren eine der lohnendsten Solo-CDs eines Opernsängers.
. . . [these German arias] are all immensely skilful, nuanced performances. Kaufmann reminds us once again that he is an artist as much as a crowd-pleaser. . . . However many times one has heard and admired Jonas Kaufmann, the size of his voice can seem astonishing whenever one returns to listen again. Though he opens his new disc quietly, in the rapt voice required for "In fernem Land", his tenor is immediately very striking for its body and well supported control. . . . his sense of story-telling here shows how he already inhabits the part. . . . he shows a special affinity for works in his native tongue. . . . Abbado has long been a champion of Schubert's operas, and his accompaniments with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra here are especially rewarding . . . it [Kaufmann's title-role in "Fierrabras"] suits both the tenor's power and his strong sense of musical line. . . . his beautiful phrasing and controlled singing in the "Winterstürme" shows why he has become the most sought-after tenor of his generation, and is a highlight of this exciting new release.
Jonas Kaufmann is the German tenor we have been waiting for . . . This disc, which has the luxury of Claudio Abbado's magisterial, refined conducting, shows that Kaufmann is at least as fine a Mozart singer as a Wagner one, with a marvellous lengthy excerpt from "Die Zauberflöte" making one with this was a complete recording. Kaufmann maintains a flawless legato, within which he articulates the sense of the text. This is ideal singing. . . . His outburst from Act II of "Parsifal" . . . is a thrilling foretaste of things to come, and is helped by having the excellent Margarete Joswig singing Kundry's few words. With "Lohengrin's Narration" Kaufmann becomes hieratic and withdrawn, Abbado's accompaniment especially fine here. In Florestan's great aria from "Fidelio" we have a perfectly controlled expression of agony and exaltation. Everything here makes you crave to listen to this major artist in complete recordings, preferably, given his acting, on DVD. The bonus DVD interview reveals that he is thoughtful and intelligent . . .
One of the most rewarding vocal discs to have appeared in a long time, Jonas Kaufmann's traversal of a century of German opera is sung with lyrical beauty and dramatic intelligence. The dreaminess of his Lohengrin and searing power of his Florestan might almost be expected from this German tenor, but new ears will be opened by the Schubert extracts that benefit equally from Abbado's superb orchestra.
Abbado draws luminous sounds throughout from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra . . . Throughout the recital, Kaufmann clarifies the musical impulse of each phrase and attempts to bind those phrases together into musical paragraphs . . . In Wagner, the voice's quasi-baritonal cast comes to the fore, but in the "Zauberflöte" selections he achieves a truly tenoral ping.
His voice is certainly well endowed for these mostly heroic roles. He does not sound like a baritone pushed up, a common way of becoming a Heldentenor, but, rather, as a real tenor with a large voice and a great ring on the top. I rather think this is what Wagner really had in mind for his mostly young heroes. Indeed, this voice must be thrilling to hear in the house . . . one of the clearest and most transparent recordings I have heard in a long while . . .
Dieser Jonas Kaufmann, Tenor am Opernhaus Zürich, singt nicht nur mit wunderbar weicher, warmer, männlicher Stimme, er sieht auch noch verdammt gut aus.
Kaufmanns Interpretation des Schwanenritters nimmt sofort Gehör und Seele ein. Denn kraftvoll und heldisch-glänzend klingt die Höhe, wunderbar geerdet aber dennoch ätherisch leicht gelingen die anspruchsvollen Pianostellen in der "Gralserzählung". Nichts mutet hier kitschig oder gar narzisstisch an: Das macht Appetit auf mehr . . . Claudio Abbado und das Mahler Chamber Orchestra begleiten den Künstler auf so wissende und über den Dingen stehende Art und Weise, wie sie heute nur noch selten vorkommen dürfte. Der Dirigent zaubert viele Klangstimmungen, vereint hohe Musikalität mit jahrzehntelanger Erfahrung und formt aus jedem einzelnem Stück etwas wirklich Kostbares.
Einen derart gesunden und aufblühenden Tenor hört man nur selten. Heute ist die Stimme ohne Frage reifer und auch schwerer geworden. Sie hatte Zeit sich zu entwickeln in einem breiten Repertoire, Fachgrenzen hat Jonas Kaufmann klug vermieden. . . . Beachtet man diesen Reifeprozess, ist es nicht verwunderlich, dass Kaufmann auf seinem neuen Album auch die eigenen Grenzen erweitert. . . . Endgültig auch als Darsteller entfesselt, präsentiert er sich dann als Parsifal. Hier ist der Gesang nicht nur Zeugnis der stimmlichen Könnerschaft, sondern in Klang gegossener Ausdruck.