International Record Review, March 2015
You Mean the World to Me
A Sony CD by Jonas Kaufmann is the first I have heard from him in the field of operetta. The menu consists of 14 arias and three duets (with the soprano Julia Kleiter). Lehár provides most tracks, five, but Abraham, Benatzky and Kalman are also represented among others. There is a very good note from Thomas Voigt, as expected. He does not, however, tell why some pieces are sung in English. 'Gern hab' ich die Frau'n geküsst' is caressed in half-voice by Kaufmann, as is (almost crooned in fact) 'Hab' ein blaues Himmelbett' (Frasquita), in a translation that does not match the original text. I was puzzled too by Voigt's comment that Kaufmann's programme would be made up not of insipid arrangements but the original versions of these songs', yet there are eight items arranged and two 'reconstructions'. The selections are from the period 1925-35, and so we hear numbers that are dance music, like 'Irgendwo auf der Welt' from Heymann's Ein blonder Traum. Kaufmann in unrestricted voice can be experienced in 'Freunde, das Leben ist lebenswert' (Giuditta) before he reduces it for the middle verses. He and Kleiter bring a nice intimacy to a duet from Viktoria and ihr Husar by Abraham. They also sing a quick, jazzy excerpt from Abraham's Diwanpüppchen, in which Paul Whiteman, Jack Hylton and Richard Tauber are mentioned. Greatly in contrast is Künnecke's demanding aria 'Das Lied vom Leben des Schrenk' (Die grosse Sünderin), written for and recorded by Helge Rosvaenge, in which Kaufmann's voice peals forth. The most sheerly beautiful piece is 'Glück, das mir verblieb' from Korngold's Die tote Stadt, endearingly sung by both artists. Throughout the recital one hears so much colouration from Kaufmann. Except for the orchestra covering a few words in the Diwanpüppchen duet, the actual recorded sound should he a touchstone.

 back top