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Jonas Kaufmann: Verismo Arias

4.8 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 19, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jonas Kaufmann returns to the Italian verismo tradition to sing arias that define opera's most passionate and vulnerable leading men. Kaufmann's international reputation is soaring as, going from strength to strength, he delivers consistently thrilling performances. The onyx-dark beauty of his tone and the refinement and unexpected insights of his delivery mark Jonas Kaufmann a poet of tenors. Timed to coincide with his role debut as Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur at Covent Garden opposite Angela Gheorghiu, this disc includes excerpts from the Cilea work that helped put Caruso on the map. This album also entices with rarities from Zandonai's dramatic Giulietta e Romeo and Puccini's Le Villi. Supporting Jonas Kaufmann is Italy's leading symphonic orchestra, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, under its dynamic music director Antonio Pappano. Both maestro and orchestra are utterly at home in this repertoire.

Review

"Kaufmann's humanity lies essentially in his singing, but in deportment he plays the part with a naturalness, an absence of stagey `attitude', that is rare indeed . . . And his singing is surpassingly fine throughout. This is the Lohengrin voice of dreams: both romantic and heroic, with a gentle, well nourished warmth, capable of a perfectly graduated diminuendo to pianissimo . . ." -- DVD review (Lohengrin) * Gramophone (London), September 2010
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Product Details

  • Performer: Jonas Kaufmann, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Rosa Feola
  • Orchestra: Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
  • Conductor: Antonio Pappano
  • Composer: Umberto Giordani, Francesco Cilea, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Pietro Mascagni, Arrigo Boito
  • Audio CD (April 19, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B003XT8Y3K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,944 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAME on April 27, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Verismo is an Italian operatic movement, but we haven't had a fresh leading tenor from Italy in decades, so who is to sing this music? Russians, Americans, Germans? The least likely would appear to be a German tenor like the acclaimed Jonas Kaufmann. Vocal aficionados used to consider the German style of opera singing a separate kettle of fish from the Italian style, and it was all but unknown for the two camps to cross, although an outsider to both like Jon Vickers successfully negotiated the chasm. Vickers is the closest comparison I can make for Kaufmann's approach to these passionate, at times violent arias, which represent probably the most visceral music ever written. (I can hear Vickers' keening vowels in Kaufmann's agonized cry of "Ridi, pagliaccio.")

Like Vickers, Kaufmann's victory is one of power over finesse. Neither can be considered to have an Italianate voice, which is supple and seductive. Neither has an ounce of smiling charm--Kaufmann's Turiddu is already doomed as he raises his glass in "Viva il vino." But through sheer courage he wrenches himself into frenzied emotional states that can be hair-raising. In addition, Kaufmann has personal force; you recognize a specific personality throwing itself into the fray. Vickers was gripping in his Verdi roles, even though his Radames sounded "all wrong," and his Otello was like a suicidal Christ -- there was little romance before the hero's suffering engulfed him.

When he made his first album of arias, I prayed that Kaufmann would be the Wagner tenor the opera world so desperately needed; unless Domingo lived forever, it seemed as if we would never hear a first-class Parsifal, Lohengrin, or Siegmund for another decade. Yet I foresaw that for classical record labels the real money was in Puccini and Verdi.
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Jonas Kaufmann continues to amaze. Not only has he become one of the most popular and loved recitalists (six encores at his recent Los Angeles recital of lieder) who has successfully entered the arena of brilliant lieder singers, but he also has such a magnificent baritone-colored tenor voice and sports such a fitting physique on the stage that he is a natural to be cast in the versimo operas. And that is what he delivers generously on this new release. Collaborating with Antonio Pappano and the
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Jonas Kaufmann is sure to gain an even wider audience with his intelligent, well-focused masculine tenor with which he adds to the definition of 'verismo' - the realism of operatic literature.

The selection on this recording is wide ranging, another suggestion that Kaufmann is not satisfied to fill a CD with the expected. Some of the arias are Enrico Caruso favorites while others are from rarely heard operas today. For example he offers arias from 'Giulietta e Romeo' composed by Zandonai, 'I Lituani' by Ponchelli, Leoncavallo's 'La Boheme' (instead of opting of the popular Puccini version), and the incredibly beautiful 'Ombra di nube' by Licinio Refice (1883 - 1954) - a priest and composer few have ever heard. But Kaufmann does not rest on his intellect of introducing arias for the novelty of it all. He graciously includes the great 'Pagliacci' aria of Leoncavallo, two arias from Mascagni's 'Cavalleria rusitcana', two arias from Boito's 'Mefistofele', memorable interpretations from Giordano's 'Andrea Chenier' and 'Fedora' , and from Francesco Cilèa's operas 'L'Arlesiana' and 'Adriana Lecouvreur'.
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Format: Audio CD
Despite my impatience to see Jonas Kaufmann move into the great Wagner roles, I realise that to rush that process could be fatal to one of the few very great voices singing today and I am delighted by his evident intention to keep his voice still light and flexible enough to sing Mozart, even at this stage of his career. While I do not find that he has the sweetness and "ping" ideal for Puccini, he is very fine in Verdi and the movement into verismo is not too great a leap. Kaufmann is now forty; his powerful, smoky voice is now presumably at its peak, and while it will never have the juicy resonance of Corelli he is a superb vocal actor who throws himself into his characterisations and utterly convinces the listener of the sincerity with which he inhabits his roles. There is a plaintive as well as a heroic quality to his singing; he has virtually eliminated the glottal, "gulping" tic - presumably injected for emotive effect - which was beginning to infect his vocal production and he now sings "straight", relying on tonal colouring and superb control of dynamics. The top B in his "Come un bel dì di maggio" is appropriately climactic; he then moves straight into a deeply affecting account of that wonderfully melancholy aria "È la solita storia", using a mesmeric half voice. It is that combination of baritonal heft and restrained delicacy which he can command that makes his voice so moving; he can scale his voice right down to express tenderness then deliver thrilling top A's and B's. It is such a pleasure to hear a singer begin so many arias with due attention to dynamics and subtlety rather than go straight for the "can belto shock and awe" attack.Read more ›
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