96kHz/24-bit FLAC, Decca 478 5189 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

‘No Wagner tenor sings with such musicianship, colour and sensitivity… he sets a standard for our time’ [Sunday Times]. It was Kaufmann who gave the Abbado/DG Fidelio distinction [HFN Nov ’11]; and the German singer’s artistry at times reminds me of the young Fischer-Dieskau. Here we have excerpts from the Ring cycle (don’t be alarmed at Siegfried’s painful attempts to play the reed: track 2, 7m 44s!), Rienzi, Tannhäuser, Meistersinger and Lohengrin. Then, unusually for a man (as he explains in the booklet foreword), we have the lovely Wesendonck-Lieder, with its Tristan references in ‘Im Treibhaus’. Runnicles and the Berlin opera forces provide a perfect accompaniment to this often movingly reflective, often heroically ringing recital. The voice is set not too forward of the orchestra. CB

Sound Quality: 95%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

There’s about 10-15dB more ‘analogue’ noise here than other modern ‘digital’ classical offerings but the engineers have ensured Kaufmann’s potent voice is always 1-2dB shy of 0dBFs at his peak. A sensitive 96kHz recording. PM