Ben Heppner was in finest voice when he recorded this all Strauss disc in November 1994. Of late, he has unfortunately tended to crack too often in live performances but here we can hear him under ideal conditions in music which suits his voice ideally, in warm, clear sound with a sympathetic conductor and a more than capable orchestra. If you are already familiar with this voice, you will need little urging from me to acquire this disc; if you know his other Strauss recordings (especially the wonderful, but severely cut "Die Frau ohne Schatten" and the excellent "Ariadne auf Naxos", both conducted by Sinopoli - see my reviews), this will form a welcome supplement to them. Good as the orchestral interludes are, I would have welcomed more of Heppner's singing, but as it is, this disc constitutes a lovely sampler introduction to the sonorous subtleties of Strauss's operas. So many sweet, richly scored melodies, whose sinuous twists take on Expressionist overtones and build in waves to great cacophonous climaxes - I love it! Andrew Davis and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra revel in the Love Scene orchestral interlude of "Feuersnot" such that one hardly minds not hearing Heppner's tenor. The introduction to the opening track from "Guntram" sounds like an immature lift from "Lohengrin" without the mystery and poise of that miraculous music and there are distinct echoes of the magical closing scene from "Capriccio" towards the end, but the aria, like the opera as a whole, would outstay its welcome were it not so winningly sung by Heppner. The other arias will perhaps be more familiar to seasoned opera-lovers but few will know the lovely "Träumerei und Kamin" and "Frölicher Beschluss" from "Intermezzo", the opera itself being somewhat unapproachable to the general listener and very much a collector's item. The most familiar item is obviously the tenor aria from "Der Rosenkavalier" which Heppner sings with easy, long-breathed power - though perhaps without the hint of campness and irony this music demands. No other tenor around today has quite his gifts and this disc forms a fitting tribute to a superb singer.