The Buffalo News, October 5, 2014
Mary Kunz Goldman
Jonas Kaufmann, ‘You Mean the World to Me’
Tenor Jonas Kaufmann just got so much more adorable with this tribute to the tenors of an earlier time, such as Richard Tauber and Joseph Schmidt. He handpicked the 17 songs. There are rarities, like excerpts from works like Ralph Benatzky’s “The White Horse Inn” and Paul Abraham’s “The Flower of Hawaii.” And there are songs a lot of people know, like “Dein ist Mein Ganzes Herz” (sung in English and French but, oddly enough, not in German) and Korngold’s “Gluck, Das Mir Verblieb.”

Kaufmann is a tenor with a lot of depth. Just listening to his voice can be a marvel in itself. His expression is wonderful – he displays a breathtaking falsetto – and it’s wonderful how he is dusting off this material and shining it up. I just think he needs to grow into it. It takes a special gift to sing light opera beautifully, with just the right touch of poignancy that can make you tear up. Often, as in Kalman’s Viennese anthem “Gruss Mir Mein Wien,” for instance, he overworks it, as if trying to wring every ounce of emotion out of every line. He doesn’t have the relaxed, debonair sound of Tauber, Fritz Wunderlich or, if we can get into baritones, Erich Kunz. And soprano Julia Kleiter, who joins him in a couple of songs, can be annoying.

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