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One of the 20th century’s greatest tenors, Fritz Wunderlich, died tragically young following an accident in 1966. The German singer was not quite 36 years old. Yet he had already begun an international career founded on impeccable musicianship and a sizeable lyric instrument of true golden quality, used with discrimination and complete technical mastery. It may feel strange for many listeners to hear the Messiah arias sung, as here, in German, but they will rarely experience them delivered with such vividness and sense of drama (despite a slow tempo for ‘Ev’ry valley’). These, like many of the tracks, are live recordings, indicating the standards Wunderlich regularly achieved. Operatic highlights include extracts from Xerxes, Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Der fliegende Holländer (the Steersman’s song), Martha, Mignon, La bohème and Madama Butterfly, plus Zeller’s operetta Der Obersteiger and Johann Strauss’s Eine Nacht in Venedig.

George Hall Read the full review on Agora Classica

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