Classic fm, Südafrika
Mike Ford
Jonas Kaufman (Tenor) - Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and Wagner
After listening to the latest EMI release of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly with Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann I was left with the impression that the star of the recording was most certainly Kaufmann, so I was delighted to receive his (second) latest DECCA release. As a German tenor he has grown up with this repertoire and it is not surprising that he is a great fan of Fritz Wunderlich who died at the age of 36, three years before Kaufmann was born.

The five Wagner items are superbly lyrical and expressive, the emotion is so refined and musical that I think he will certainly attract new disciples to the music of Wagner. He definitely has a ‘different’ tenor quality that makes you ‘second guess’ the phrasing when you first listen. Regarding Wagner, Kaufmann quite rightly comments that; “….in so many letters Wagner wrote that he wanted legato singing and Italian technique. Wagner composed beautifully for the voice but you have to approach his music with all the techniques of the best bel canto style.”

Mozart’s two arias from the Magic Flute are a joy while Kaufmann makes for an impressive Florestan in Beethoven’s Gott! Welch Dunkel hier! from Fidelio. I have never heard the two Schubert arias before, it’s hard to believe that he wrote more than 15 operas which have nearly all been neglected.

Kaufmann has the ideal partnership working with Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Abbado’s knowledge and affinity for German repertoire and his in-depth knowledge of the Schubert repertoire is a major plus.

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