The Guardian, 27 November 2009
Andrew Clare
Arias by Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven & Wagner: Kaufmann/Mahler CO/Abbado
5 out of 5
Discs of operatic arias seem to be ­proliferating at the moment, almost ­certainly because studio recordings of complete operas have become so expensive. But no other compilation that has crossed my path comes within striking distance of this collection taken from German-language stage works. Jonas Kaufmann is the tenor of the moment, winning plaudits wherever he appears, and the tracks here demonstrate how all the praise heaped upon him is justified. Kaufmann has already sung these roles on stage – though he only made his ­debut as Lohengrin last summer – but for British audiences, who have mostly heard him in the French or Italian ­repertory, it will be revelatory. Perhaps his voice is now a fraction too heavy for the role in which he first attracted ­attention, Tamino in Mozart's Die ­Zauberflöte, but the other performances here are exemplary; the baritone-like richness to his singing in the Wagner ­extracts is especially compelling. That Kaufmann has Claudio Abbado and the superlative Mahler Chamber Orchestra to accompany him only makes the project even more special. Abbado's gossamer lightness in the Schubert, and the rapt way in which he unfolds the ­Lohengrin and Parsifal extracts, would make the disc exceptional even without the singing.

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