Limelight, Oct 16, 2013
By Clive Paget, Hallam Fulcher
The 12 Greatest Wagner Singers of All Time
5. Jonas Kaufmann

German tenor Jonas Kaufmann (born 1969) is one of the world’s most sought-after singers. A student of James King, Hans Hotter and Michael Rhodes, he began his professional career at Staatstheater Saarbrücken in 1994 and soon after made his debut at the Stuttgart Opera and Hamburg State Opera, as well as internationally at the Opéra National de Paris, La Scala and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Kaufmann sensibly took his time moving from lighter to more taxing repertoire and first tackled a Wagnerian role in 2006, singing Parsifal at the Zurich Opera. In 2007, his portrayal of Siegmund in Wagner’s Die Walküre at the Metropolitan Opera directed by Robert Lepage garnered critical acclaim for his effortless projection and convincing acting, as did his performances in the title role in Lohengrin in Munich.

In 2010 Kaufmann made his debut at the Baytruth Festival singing Lohengrin. In 2011 he returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Siegmund and again in 2013 for his first appearance as Parsifal, conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

A prolific recording artist, Jonas Kaufmann’s Universal Classics discography is particularly distinguished, with his recent CD release of Wagner Arias on Decca Classics a 2013 bestseller. Of his Siegmund, Limelight's reviewer observed: "This is Kaufmann’s first all-Wagner disc and it’s a thrilling experience. He starts with Die Walküre, but instead of Winterstürme he opts for Siegmund’s far more interesting sword monologue. In six glorious minutes, Kaufmann runs the gamut from resolute hero to romantic dreamer and back. Listen to how he caresses Ein Weib sah’ ich, wonnig und hehr, or how he comes elegantly off the voice for Ist es der blick der blühenden Frau. Time and again he builds the perfect climax with grace and passion... In short, this is superb. I can’t think of a finer Wagner recital – ever."


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