Klaus Florian Vogt is a German 47 year old tenor who is about to take the title role in Wagner’s Parsifal during the Met’s upcoming run of the opera. The subject of a feature article in this month’s Opera News, Vogt started his musical life as a horn player in the Hamburg Philharmonic (1988-97). After discovering he had a voice he was active in operetta. Following a few years of light music he turned to Wagner.
He first appeared at the Met in 2006 when he gave two performances in the title role of Lohengrin. He didn’t return to the house until last year when he appeared seven times as Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio. Opera News describes his voice as “unconventional” and likely similar to tenors before Caruso and Melchior. This characterization of his singing is an enormous understatement. His sound is very light and produced mainly from the throat. To me, he sounds like a tenorino best suited for Tamino in The Magic Flute, which he is scheduled to sing this coming summer. Actually, he doesn’t sound like an opera singer in any conventional sense. Nevertheless, he has recorded excerpts from Tristan und Isolde and aims for Siegfried.
Here are a few excerpts of his singing which will allow you to make you own judgement about his voice. Two Wagner arias, In fernem Land from Lohengrin and The Preislied from Die Meistersinger. Vogt’s interpretations are sensitive and are certainly different from those Wagnerphiles are accustomed to. White and throaty are the adjectives that come to my mind.
Ein Lied geht um die Welt recalls the tenor’s operetta start. This song is indelibly linked to Joseph Schmidt. Comparing anyone to the inimitable Schmidt is unfair, but here is his version Schmidt Ein Lied geht um die Welt.
Interestingly, Vogt voice seems best suited to Broadway. His singing of Maria from Bernstein’s West Side Story is idiomatic and avoids the stylistic excesses that opera singers usually display when they sing this kind of song.
Parsifal will be broadcast on February 17, so you can hear Wagner interpreted by this “unconventional” voice. The Met’s last Parsifal was Jonas Kaufmann.