Opera Now, April 2014
Wagner Gala
Dresden celebrated the Wagner bicentenary last year with Christian Thielemann conducting a deluxe concert of Wagner overtures, Henze's Fraternité for orchestra and some vocal contributions from Jonas Kaufmann. It's all very assured and elegant and purrs along like an extremely expensive and luxurious car.

Thielemann obviously does his hard work in rehearsal; his conducting technique here displays stylish brevity. Kaufmann's contributions are excellent. His voice caresses its way through Rienzi's Prayer, hits the spiritual heights with the original version of Lohengrin's Grail Narration and then is fully unleashed for Tannhäuser's Rome Narration. As ever, the tone is covered and the distinctively rich, bronze quality is wonderful to hear. The mannerisms that sometimes affect his Italian singing are thankfully nowhere to be heard and he sustains the line with no fuss. Ultimately it's a wonderful concert, enjoyable to watch, though slightly lacking in atmosphere.

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