BBC Music Magazine, November 2009
Michael Tanner
Tantalising Kaufmann
MICHAEL TANNER applauds Jonas Kaufmann’s aria recital
JONAS KAUFMANN is on ideal form in Mozart and Wagner under CLAUDIO ABBADO

Jonas Kaufmann is the German tenor we have been waiting for, though at present he is singing more Italian and French opera. This disc, which has the luxury of Claudio Abbados magisterial, refined conducting, shows that Kaufmann is at least as fine a Mozart singer as a Wagner one, with a marvellous lengthy excerpt from Die Zauberflöte making one wish this was a complete recording. Kaufmann maintains a flawless legato, within which he articulates the sense of the text. This is ideal singing.

In the extended Wagner excerpts he displays an almost baritonal quality, but then most of the greatest Wagner tenors have. His outburst from Act II of Parsifal, though dreadfully wrenched from context, is a thrilling foretaste of things to come, and is helped by having the excellent Margarete Joswig singing Kundry’s few words. With Lohengrin’s Narration Kaufmann becomes hieratic and withdrawn, Abbado’s accompaniment especially fine here. In Florestan’s great aria from Fidelio we have a perfectly controlled expression of agony and exaltation. Everything here makes you crave to listen to this major artist in complete recordings, preferably, given his acting, on DVD. The bonus DVD interview reveals that he is thoughtful and intelligent — too much so for the packaging he is provided here.



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