Jonas Kaufmann has taken care in his professional choices not to be pigeonholed and has successfully tackled roles in German, French, and Italian operas ranging from Monteverdi and Mozart to Schoenberg and world premieres, as well as singing lieder and symphonic works. These verismo arias show off Kaufmann's mastery of this repertoire and his ease in bringing an authentically Italianate sensibility to this music. The recital includes a good mix of the familiar, the off-the-beaten-track, and the genuinely obscure. In the last category are some real gems, including arias from Zandonai's Giulietta e Romeo and Ponchielli's I Lituani, both dramatically charged pieces notable for their overt expressiveness and lyricism. All of Kaufmann's performances have a riveting intensity and display his investment in bringing the characters fully to life; he invests all his roles with intelligence and intense feeling. His voice tends to have a baritonal quality that serves him well in some repertoire, but he's in complete control of an expansive palette of colors and is able to deliver beautifully calibrated readings of these diverse arias, from the melancholy tenderness of the opening of "Lamento di Federico" from Cilea's L'Arlesiana to the gritty anguish of "Vesti la giubba" to the romantic effusions of "Vicino a te" from Andrea Chénier, in which he's paired with soprano Eva-Marie Westbroek. What remains constant throughout is his clarion vocal power, which is evident whether it's being given full rein or held in check. He is also a master of the broadly arching lyrical phrase, which makes him ideally suited to these passionate roles. He has first-rate support from Antonio Pappano, an exceptionally gifted opera conductor, leading the Chorus and Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma. Decca's sound is clean and the balance is excellent.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Giulietta e Romeo|
|Ombra di nube|