Vanity Fair, December 2011
Faust Impressions
Foto: John Balsom
The 19th-century Romantics, who celebrated the Wanderer, or wayfarer, would have recognized Jonas Kaufmann as one of their own. The 42-year-old German tenor not only looks the part (for the cover of Sehnsucht, his 2009 album for Decca, he posed as the figure in Caspar David Friedrich's The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog) but also walks the walk, mapping out a career less about milestones than about opening up an ever broader landscape. Having sung Siegmund in last season's Metropolitan Opera production of Die Walküre (he will reprise the role in the spring), Kaufmann this month plays another Romantic hero, Charles Gounod's Faust, in a new production, directed by Des McAnuff. On October 30, Kaufmann took the Met's stage for a solo recital that featured more inward journeys, from Gustav Mahler's ascetic Rückert-Lieder to the sensuous perfume of Henri Duparc. His intent wasn't merely to recount the voyages but to relive them. "To regard such emotional crises only with the detachment of a present-day observer is dead wrong," he says. "One needs to see the colors and smell the smells." As a young singer, Kaufmann weathered a period of vocal difficulty before putting his dark-varnished sound on solid ground; having found the path, freedom of movement remains the goal. To choose only one direction, lyrical or dramatic, he says, "would, ultimately, just be boring."

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