The Guardian, 16 December 2010
Andrew Clements
Verismo Arias *****

Anyone lucky enough to have heard and seen Jonas Kaufmann in the Royal Opera's new production of Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur this autumn will know how compelling and refined his singing of the Italian verismo repertoire can be. This terrific selection of tenor arias includes two numbers from Adriana, as well as one from L'Arlesiana, the other opera by Cilea that's still heard occasionally, alongside extracts from works by Boito, Cilea, Giordano, Leoncavallo, Mascagni, Ponchielli, Refice and Zandonai. The only really well-known pieces are those from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, which Kaufmann delivers with the same directness and perfectly judged musicality that he uses for the far less familiar ones. The colour, the elegance and the sheer beauty of tone in his singing are truly exceptional, and the sequence ends with a duet that provides a sample of a role it's rumoured Kaufmann will sing at Covent Garden in five years' time – Giordano's Andrea Chénier – with soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek joining Chenier in his ride to the guillotine.


 back top