On his first-ever aria recital album Christian Gerhaher makes a strong case for the fascinating early-Romantic operatic repertoire. His illuminating selection draws a stringent line from lyric gems of great melodic beauty by Schubert and Schumann to more dramatic scenes by Weber and Nicolai and to Wolfram’s famous monologues from Wagner’s Tannhäuser, an opera in which the baritone has won particular international acclaim.
“Gerhaher invests such music with the same exquisite rendering of every expressive nuance that make him the greatest Lieder singer of our time.The standard is set by the first Tannhäuser aria, which opens the disc - in everything that follows...his singing never loses its tonal beauty or any of its musical poise.” The Guardian, 29th November 2012 *****
“I cannot recall a recent vocal recital that reduced me to jelly so quickly. The warmth and steadiness of Christian Gerhaher’s voice, the care given to colouring each word, the clear enunciation and lyric flow, the crisply rolled “r”...all these melted my bones during the first seconds of Wolfram’s Tannhäuser aria” The Times, 7th December 2012 ****
“It is no surprise that this great Schubertian would want to break a lance for his favourite composer’s neglected operas: he lavishes his immaculate diction on arias from Alfonso and Estrella and the unfinished Count of Gleichen, savouring the banal texts with the same care for verbal detail he would for a Schubert setting of a Goethe or Heine poem, maintaining seamless legato lines with his grainy yet beautiful baritone” Sunday Times, 16th December 2012
“Gerhaher's Wolfram has followers travelling all over Europe in its wake, so uniquely moving, honest and profound is his response to Wagner's role...[the Wolfram arias] display that simple integrity of an artist who conceals a great deal of art. A sense of wide-eyed innocence is incarnate in Gerhaher's delectable enunciation and perfection of phrasing and technique...Absolutely essential listening.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2013 *****
“All are in Gerhaher's best style, immaculately phrased and breathed, with considerable thought given to the text which is then fully characterised without mannerism....a great source for dipping into the history of this period.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2013