Sunday Times, January 27, 2008
Jonas Kaufmann: Romantic Arias, ***** 5 stars
With his dark Mediterranean complexion, tousled hair and perma-six-o’clock-shadow, the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann could pass for an Italian fashion model. Three years ago, I predicted that he would be a leading contender for one of the Three Tenors’ crowns, but, at the time, Rolando Villazon looked most likely to fill Placido Domingo’s. Now, with his sensational Covent Garden Don Jose in Carmen behind him, his first Cavaradossi in May at the ROH, and Siegmund at the Met and Aeneas in The Trojans, in London, planned for early in the next decade, Kaufmann has his sights on some of Domingo’s dramatic repertoire. His voice sounds like a cross between the glowing Wunderlich and the gritty Vickers, and he excels here, especially in the German (solos from Weber’s Freischütz and Wagner’s Meistersinger) and French repertoire. Compare his enthralling mezza voce high C at the climax of Faust’s Salut! Demeure (Gounod) and the visceral, full-voiced high notes in Nature immense, from Berlioz’s music for the same character. His Puccini (La bohème, Tosca) and Massenet (Manon, Werther) make one long to hear him sing this repertoire in the theatre. A triumph.

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