The Scotsman
Recital, Edinburgh, 24 August 2006
Jonas Kaufmann *****
JONAS Kaufmann gave us the tenor-baritone side of his voice for Schubert's dramatic ballad Die Bürgschaft, telling this thrilling tale of sacrificial friendship and humanising tyranny with complete conviction. Kaufmann is a natural actor, his body gestures underscoring his words, his burnished tones beautifully emotional.

If he wrong-stepped the programme by singing Bartók's Four Slovakian Folksongs in German it did not matter, except that, as with Britten's Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op 22, it brought home how occasional glances at a score inhibit his otherwise unfettered expressiveness. Kaufmann (without being sexist) has the looks of a flamenco singer and his stance is similar, inhabiting the music as if every word was self-minted in the moment. Best to have nothing coming between him and his audience, as Strauss's Sclichte Weisien Op 21 proved.

Singing Strauss's Four Songs before the Vier Lieder Op 27 meant the performance hiatus came near the end, creating that totally transforming moment one prays for at a concert.

The rapturous Morgen became a glittering jewel as Kaufmann's voice became a whispering stream of sound. Helmut Deutsch's piano was subtly stunning throughout.

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