96kHz/24-bit FLAC, Sony Classical 0888750924926 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

Kaufmann and Puccini – how could anyone resist, when his vocal artistry is so complete? He floats a line with infinite care then expands dynamics to meet every theatrical demand. Terrific warm backing from Pappano too. And the production adds variety by changing vocal perspectives for soloists and chorus – occasionally, though, I found Kaufmann almost too forward and spread. Every Puccini opera is represented with these arias except, of course, the all-female Suor Angelica. And the obvious favourites are here: the Turandot ‘Nessun dorma’ excerpt made famous by The Three Tenors, ‘Recondito armonio’ from Tosca (he sang these two at Last Night of The Proms and one here from Manon Lescaut), ‘O suave fanciulla’ from La Bohème, ‘Addio, fiorito asil’ from Madame Butterfly, etc. But it’s a real pain that you don’t get any texts from HRA with the album. CB

Sound Quality: 95%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

This 96kHz recording enjoys a huge dynamic range, thoroughly explored by Kaufmann’s charismatic performance. A pity about the low-level spuriae between 28-40kHz on the right channel only, but with no direct subjective impact. PM