Friday, April 12, 2013

Gratuitous Friday – Jonas Kaufmann Sings Rienzi

Rienzi Vowing to Obtain Justice... by William Holman Hunt

Wagner’s opera Rienzi was fairly successful when it opened. But it was long. Rienzi was only Wagner's third opera, so he was still writing in that Italian grand opera style. In fact Meyerbeer (I know, he's not Italian, but you get the idea) championed this opera when it was new. 

Subsequently, Hans von Bülow referred to Rienzi as "Meyerbeer's best opera,” and I don't think he meant it as a complement to either composer. 

Basically, as he developed his own voice, Wagner disowned Rienzi and it fell out of favor. So far, it’s never been performed in Bayreuth. It doesn't get much exposure anywhere else, either. But if the rest of the opera is as beautiful as this aria, we really need to hear more! Last fall Midge Woolsey did a piece about Rienzi for the Operavore blogCheck out her article for more reasons why (almost) no one ever presents the opera.  

This excerpt is from Jonas Kauffman’s new Wagner disc—one more good reason to pick up the CD or download the mp3s. 

Wagner: Rienzi - Allmächt'ger Vater, Blick Herab


  1. It is interesting to compare Kaufmann with Melchior--his recording is considered relatively famous and there is no doubt that his was a major voice. But interpretation!!!! There is no comparison. I don't know whether the great Dane ever sang the role and we know that JK hasn't but there is no doubt that the latter has given a lot of thought to the text. Melchior sang manificently but it was strictly stand and deliver. Kaurmann delivers a lot more.


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