Financial Times, September 13, 2013
Jonas Kaufmann: The Verdi Album
Extracts showcase the tenor’s dark, dramatic quality
These albums are designed to milk a star-fixated market rather than make a serious contribution to the Verdi bicentenary. Kaufmann disappoints. He opens with a leaden “La donna è mobile” (Rigoletto) that reveals more heroic strain than Italianate style. Arias from Aida, Un ballo in maschera and I masnadieri prove little more seductive and no less studio-bound. Why the relentless need to force?

Things start to pick up with “Ah! sì, ben mio … Di quella pira” from Il trovatore, while extended extracts from Don Carlo (with the excellent baritone Franco Vassallo) and La forza del destino showcase the dark, dramatic quality in Kaufmann’s tenor. Finally, fleetingly, “Quando le sere al placido” from Luisa Miller brings some soft singing. The orchestral accompaniments under Pier Giorgio Morandi rarely exceed the perfunctory.

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