The New Zealand Herald, 6 Nov 2010
William Dart
Jonas Kaufmann, Verismo Arias

Opera is not known for holding back when dealing out passion and, with the verismo composers such as Mascagni and Leoncavallo, emotion, often at its most raw and tumultuous, rules.

Jonas Kaufmann's Verismo Arias includes a few favourites on its aria list. A searing Vesti la giubba from Pagliacci is followed by a lusty drinking song from Cavalleria Rusticana.

The joys of this recording, however, lie in the discoveries to be made. Romeo's tombside soliloquy from Zandonai's Giulietta e Romeo is a heart-wrencher, so lush one is surprised to find it dating from 1922.

When he lets forth with the hero's intense soul-searching in Giordano's Andrea Chenier, Kaufmann has a focus and a virility that could make the susceptible weak at the knees.

Yet there is such intimacy in Federico's lament from Cilea's L'Arlesiana, its comparatively fragile scoring showcasing the finesse of the Academy of Santa Cecilia orchestra under conductor Antonio Pappano.


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