My latest package of CDs to review has turned up quite a treasure: a young German tenor named Jonas Kaufmann singing Strauss songs, accompanied by the matchless Helmut Deutsch. I hadn't come across Kaufmann before, but the focus and fibre of his voice knocked me off my chair in the very first phrase of 'Zueignung'. Next, he seems to sing Strauss from the inside, with attention to every word. And thirdly, the voice is very powerful indeed - apparently he has sung Parsifal and one wonders whether he'll be a fabulous Siegmund or Tristan in years to come.
Some internet research revealed that he received a great deal of attention here three years ago at the Edinburgh Festival and he'll be back there on 24 August. And he's just made his debut at the Met in NY. I hope that The Guardian didn't do him too much damage, bless its cotton socks, by entitling its 2003 interview 'I don't mind my sexy image' - most singers don't get far these days without one (and yes, anyone looking for a pin-up won't be disappointed). But Strauss has provided him with his most consistently good reviews so far and if this disc is anything to go by, that's not surprising. It will be out soon on the harmonia mundi label.