Toronto Star, 8.10.2013
John Terauds
Jonas Kaufmann’s got the voice for Verdi: CD review
Too bad the orchestra backing him up isn't quite up to the task.

As the heartthrobs and damsel-saving heroes of modern opera, great tenors tend to become the rock stars of the art music world. The current It Boy is German Jonas Kaufmann. Now 44, he has hit that vocal, technical and dramatic sweet spot that makes for great music as well as theatre. He brings all of this talent and craft to bear on a baker’s dozen of favourite tenor arias and scenes from the operas of Giuseppe Verdi — whose 200th birth anniversary falls this year. Kaufmann knows how to make his voice sigh with the best of the melodramatists, but his main accomplishment is an iron-fisted control over phrasing. Whether it is the old warhorse “La donne e mobile” from Rigoletto or a stentorian “Celeste Aida,” Kaufmann sings the fine line between emotional engagement and technical prowess. The bonus in all of this is his highly unusual voice, which has the timbre of a baritone, giving the sound an unexpected richness, even in the high notes. This would have been a golden album were it not for the lacklustre backup from the orchestra and chorus from Parma Opera and conductor Pier Giorgio Morandi. It’s like hanging a Ferragamo messenger bag over an Old Navy peacoat. Such a shame.

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