|CD: Jonas Kaufmann – Romantic arias
|In spite of the current crisis in the market of recorded
music, and for the audio supports in particular, the first CD with
operatic arias recorded by one of the emergent tenors, Jonas Kaufmann,
born 1969, certainly awakes interest. Kaufmann is today flying from one to
another of the grand theatres in the world with an ever widening, soundly
selected repertoire. “Toute mon âme est là” (My entire soul is there),
Werther sings, and it could stand as a motto for the recital. It is rare
to find an interpreter with such a richly faceted personality and who is
so obviously “at home” in a very varied repertory. Or perhaps it is varied
only apparently and permits a versatile, intelligent and sensitive artist
to find the similarities and use his voice to express one sentiment here
and another there. What tenor would include in the same programme Don
Carlo and the Meistersinger together with Manon and Werther?
Kaufmann sings in three languages, Italian. French and German, all of
which he is mastering with a clear pronounciation and appropriate
expression, always finding the inherent musical qualities of each language
(you will rarely find a German singer who pronounces the Italian word
As the photos in the booklet testify – a modern style of posing, not the
conventional tenor stances – his beautiful figure and expressive face are
perfect for the romantic hero. What sickly girl wouldn’t hope that a
similar poet came to warm her hands on Christmas Eve? The timbre is dark,
nocturnal, “ma per fortuna è un notte di luna” and the caressing
tone spreads light and fascination right up to the resplendent “speranza”,
The sound is that of a Heldentenor, but the atmosphere is all Puccini.
Tenderness, melancholy and a sense of culpability find expression in Don
José’s “Carmen, je t’aime!”.
Kaufmann is always entirely convinced, consequently also convincing, in
all his interpretations. You don’t only listen to arias. You can almost
see the face of a person. It is rare – not only for Italians – to hear the
famous aria from Martha – “Ach so fromm” - sung in the original
language according to modern taste, far from the languors unsuited to this
opera, which – although romantic – is above all a comedy.
We note that Marco Armiliato with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
manages to find beautiful orchestral timbres when the score demands it
(one example to serve for all: La Damnation de Faust), but on the whole he
is content to offer a good accompaniment and nothing more – prize and
defect of the recital.
We are not going to comment on all the items included, but inspired by the
emotion awaked by the listening, it is impossible not to comment on the
luminosity of Walther von Stoltzings youthfully heroic outpouring, so far
removed from Don Carlos dark depressive mood or from the mystical
romanticsm of Der Freischuetz. The recitatives are beautifully sculpted,
the singing “takes wings”. The play with light and shade fascinates and
every single track of this CD would in itself motivate the purchase of the
disc. But everything is of interest. We don’t feel the tediousness of
arias heard much too often. Instead we detect new aspects of roles well
known: Alfredo’s shifting moods. His youthful ardour so different from the
sincere, always aristocratic accents of the fascinating Duke of Mantova.
And finally we note how sensuality and desperation overcome Cavaradossi in
his last hour of life.
In the accompanying booklet - which Decca presents in English, French and
German, but not in Italian - Kaufmann himself states that he is not
consciously seeking new interpretations , but aims at giving spontaneous
interpretations coming from “the inside”. This can be felt not only in the
original use of mezzavoce and tonal colours. The roles have already been
performed on the stage or are ready for the first scenic performance.
There is in everything here a deep seriousness and it is only apparently a
paradox – confirmed by many other examples – that the most natural results
derive from the most serious studies.
To summarize: Welcome CD’s which give us the comforting certainty that
there are still young artists who mange to confer strong emotion with
means adapted to the tastes of our time!
|Translation from Italian into English,