Classic fM, 18th September 2016
David Mellor

Dolce Vita
Jonas Kaufmann is always keen to burnish his Italian credentials, to emulate the great tenors of the past, and engage with a wider audience than the fat cats in the best seats in the world's opera houses. And there’s much to enjoy in this generous collection of popular Italian songs, quite a lot of which are not as well known as they should be. Kaufmann fans shouldn’t hesitate, nor anyone who enjoys good tunes well sung. However, it’s idle to pretend he’s as good at this stuff as Pavarotti, and indeed a number of other genuine Italian or Italianate singers. Pavarotti’s singing of the opening song, Caruso , written especially for him, was so enticing, when I heard it being played in the main square of Ravelo, I went into a jewellers shop and affected an interest in coral jewellery, (which wouldn’t suit me don’t you think?!) in order to find out what it was. I wouldn’t have bothered with this version, decent enough though it is, but it just doesn’t sweep you away like Pavarotti. Similarly, Torna a Surriento , one of my favourite of all Pavarotti’s recordings, is far more thrillingly despatched by the man from Modena, even though Kaufmann uses the same arrangement by Giancarlo Chiramello. It also doesn’t help that the orchestra sounds a bit weedy compared to the opulent playing for Pavarotti.

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