Jonas Kaufmann’s Wonderful New CD

Buy this!(Photo: Decca)
Buy this!(Photo: Decca)

Even facing the audience full front, with his shirt on, Jonas Kaufmann is a spectacular artist. I say ‘artist’ deliberately. There are a lot of marvelous tenors out there but Kaufmann is a tenor with a truckload of musical style.

He hit it big about five years ago. Since then he has excelled in Italian opera (Tosca, Don Carlo), French opera (Faust, Werther, Manon) and in German opera (Der Freischutz, Lohengrin, Parsifal).

Kaufmann is the only artist today who can sell out the house on his name alone in New York, London, Vienna and Berlin. His performance a few months ago in a new staging of Wagner’s Parsifal was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

All the more reason to enjoy Jonas’s brand new all Wagner CD. He sings, he doesn’t bark this music. He remembers that in Wagner’s time there was no such thing as a Wagner-tenor. The composer wanted an Italian influenced bel canto style, with lots of line and sweetness to the tone. This is a Wagner tenor for the 21st century.

All the usual subjects are on this CD. Lohengrin, Siegmund, Stolzing, Siegfried. The surprise are the five songs for voice and orchestra Wagner wrote for Mathilde Wesendonck. She was the wife of one of his patrons and Wagner said thank you by stalking his wife! Nevertheless, the <Wesendonck Lieder are exquisite. I have never heard them sung by a man, but there’s no reason to exclude tenors, baritones and basses.

Run, do not walk, to add this CD to your collection. Jonas Kaufmann singing Wagner with, whaddaya know?, a beautiful voice.