Operawire, July 25, 2017
Alan Neilson
Verdi: La forza del destino, Bayerische Staatsoper, 19. Juli 2017
Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros Dominate In A Personal Narrative Encapsulated In A Far Larger Context
... As Ardent As They Come

So much has been written about Jonas Kaufmann over the past few weeks, following his widely praised role debut as Otello, that expectations are running high. No doubt the crowd outside the theater looking for tickets are, in part, a testament to his star status. As Alvaro, Kaufmann is required to make a full-blooded stage entrance, with no time for a few warm up lines, and launch into the duet, “Ah per sempre” with Leonora, which is in turns ardent, suspicious and imploring. Of course, this was not a problem for Kaufmann, who is guaranteed to bring energy and a high level of intensity to his singing, and sounds best when singing at full throttle. He immediately began to sweep Leonora off her feet. The two have a natural chemistry and their voices complement each other beautifully, although at times their physical coordination seemed a bit wooden as they struggled to move in tandem. Kaufmann possesses a dark, rich, warm timbre with a particularly appealing lower register. His phrasing is delicate and nuanced. His dynamic control masterful.

If, however, you had to select one adjective to describe his performance as Alvaro it would have to be ardent. He really did come across as the archetypical tenor; passionate and insistent, courageous and energetic, and physically looked the part with long flowing hair and solid physique. Notwithstanding his many qualities, Kaufmann did not appear to be in top vocal form. His upper register showed occasional signs of stress and his transitioning between registers sounded a little awkward. These were minor blemishes, however, and did little to detract from a very exciting performance. His acting was magnificent in the scenes requiring a high level of intensity. This was particularly notable in the scenes when Alvaro and Carlo confront each other, but overall he tended to be one-paced and lacked variation; whether fighting Carlo or on the threshold of death after being wounded we were presented with the same ardent, intense and energetic Alvaro....

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