Metro, London, 8. Februar 2008
Warwick Thompson
Access all arias: The erstwhile Don José, Jonas Kaufmann, releases his debut album of opera favourites
Cool, Carmen and collected
Tenors are just like buses. You wait ages for one and then a whole fleet appears. And at the very head of the current crowd — or at least, jostling for that position with two or three other superstars — is the slim, dark, handsome German singer Jonas Kaufmann. He’s widely known to opera-lovers for his superb performance as Don José in the premiere of the latest London Royal Opera production of Carmen, and his recent excellent Alfredo in La Traviata at the same house. On his eagerly-awaited debut opera album, Romantic Arias (Decca), containing familiar favourites by Puccini, Verdi and Massenet, he displays his beautiful sound, his wide variety of colours and emotions, and an intense, truthful sense of characterisation. And yet in the Italian repertoire, I’m somehow left with the impression that he’s not quite as happy in the studio as on stage: there’s a hint of constraint, of cautiousness. It’s the French arias (from Carmen, Manon and Faust) that show Kaufmann blazing with dramatic and musical sensuousness, and which are the reason to put the disc on your shopping list. That, and some fine accompanying from Marco Arniiliato and the Prague Philharmonic.




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