Album includes Strauss’s ‘Eine Nacht in Venedig’ along with
favourite solos, a handful of duets and lesser-known Viennese
A couple of generations ago, it would have been a
natural choice to present granny and grandpa with a recording of
favourite arias from Viennese operetta for Christmas. These
days, they would probably prefer The Rolling Stones’ Greatest
Each autumn Jonas Kaufmann releases a solo disc for
the Christmas market and this year he looks back to the era when
a singer like Richard Tauber could guarantee huge sales of
Viennese operetta to an adoring public. Tauber died in 1948 and
his grave in Brompton Cemetery is still adorned with fresh
Aptly, Kaufmann says it was his grandmother who
inspired his love for the waltzing music of the Strauss family,
Franz Lehár and Robert Stolz. At his grandparents’ farm in
Tyrol, Austria, he would while away his time singing along,
brushing up his Viennese accent.
His first professional
stage production was Strauss’s Eine Nacht in Venedig (A Night in
Venice), so it is no surprise to find that featured here.
Alongside are favourite solos and a handful of duets (with
soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen) from Die Fledermaus, Die lustige
Witwe, Wiener Blut and others, together with a selection of
lesser-known Viennese songs by composers like Hermann Leopoldi,
Peter Kreuder and Georg Kreisler.
We might have expected
that Kaufmann would show off his darkly romantic, burnished
tenor in these mostly sentimental melodies. In fact, he also
makes much of the words, helped by a close microphone placement,
which adds to the range of expression. The presentation is
lavish, with full texts and translations, and Ádám Fischer
conducts the Vienna Philharmonic, no less. Even Tauber could not
expect that luxury.