Puccini: Tosca, Zürich 2009, DVD

1 - Giacomo Puccini: Tosca
2 - Classics Today: Tosca
3 - San Francisco Classical Voice: It's Kaufmann's Tosca
4 - The Star Ledger: Puccini, Tosca
5 - Jonas Kaufmann schittert in intense Tosca
6 - Magyar Narancs XXIII. évf. 21. szám: dvd - PUCCINI TOSCA
7 - Bay Area Reporter: Tosca
8 - The Times: Jonas Kaufmann: Tosca DVD
9 - Seattle Gay news: Tenor Jonas Kaufmann spectacular in Tosca DVD
10 - Opéra Magazine: De l'électricité dans l'air!
11 - Classique News: Kaufmann et Hampson au sommet
12 - The Australian: Tosca
13 - Classica: Puccini, Tosca
14 - Opernglas: Tosca
15 - Famiglia Christiana: Tosca: opera italiana d'eccellenza
16 - Classic Toulouse: La guerre des Tosca a bien lieu
17 - Resmusica: La Tosca des nuances
18 - Opera Today: Jonas Kaufmann as Werther and Cavaradossi
19 - Crescendo, Belgien: Tosca
21 - NZZ: «Tosca» aus dem Opernhaus Zürich
22 - Giornale della Musica: Kaufmann anche per Puccini
23 - ConcertoNet: Giacomo Puccini : Tosca
24 - Opera News: PUCCINI: Tosca
25 - Classic Voice: Puccini – Tosca
26 - Mundo Clasico: Inesperada Tosca
1 - Jonas Kaufmann is “the undisputed Cavaradossi of our time”. With his looks and acting, the German tenor is the perfect romantic hero. The breath line and the phrasing are above reproach, the baritonal glow to his voice and the use of mezza voce gradually followed by stentorian, ringing high notes are simply stunning.

2 -
Somehow, tenor Jonas Kaufmann manages to escape the show-within-show and merely gives a fabulous performance as Cavaradossi. His big, dark tone easily reaches the big, high notes and he can spin a pianissimo line better than any tenor around. And he looks great as he creates a flesh-and-blood person rather than a "character".

3 - As much as Emily Magee (Tosca) and Thomas Hampson (Scarpia) receive equal billing, it’s the presence of Jonas Kaufmann (Cavaradossi) in Robert Carsen’s fascinating modern update of Puccini’s potboiler, Tosca that will draw opera lovers to this live-from-Zürich Decca DVD. .....
...Yet Kaufmann’s sense of Italianate style is unquestionable, and the intelligence with which he deploys his instrument unassailable. Most compelling is his final act aria, “E lucevan le stelle” (And the stars shone). Awaiting execution by firing squad, he begins his final love letter to Tosca in a virtual whisper of a voice. To unusually slow, sensitive, and focused support from conductor Paolo Carignani and Zurich Opera Orchestra, Kaufmann perfectly sustains his thread of sound for almost half the aria. I know of no other performance quite like this.
If only the DVD format were capable of faithfully transmitting the wide dynamics of his voice. By all means, if you’re Blu-ray equipped, get that version should it appear.

4 - As for Kaufmann, his appeal is not just a question of rugged good lucks and his virile, grainy voice. His tenor barrels forward with impressive volume and intensity as he endures torture at Scarpia’s hands, but the poetic phrasing and breathtaking piano singing in his final aria “E lucevan le stelle” (“And the stars were shining”) are even more memorable.

5 - De productie slaagt zo in alle opzichten. Met een extra luid bravo voor Jonas Kaufmann. Een tenor uit duizenden.

6 - A legjobb teljesítményt Jonas Kaufmann nyújtja, aki szintén csak pár hónappal korábban debütált Cavaradossiként, s attól lehetett tartani, hogy tenorjából hiányozni fog az olaszos dolcezza és a fény, ehhez képest leheletfinom pianókat, diadalmas fortékat produkál, egészében pedig megkapó képest fest a szabadsághevületében is kisfiús, szinte elveszett festő végtelen magányáról. De nem ő a főszereplő, hanem a másik kettő.

7 - Kaufmann sings the Cavaradossi of a lifetime, but that's almost the least of it. In the 10-minute opening of Act III, with hardly a note to sing, he gives a performance of jaw-dropping intensity and focus. The most ravishing "E lucevan le stelle" you've ever heard comes perilously close to being a spell-breaker, but moments later, when Kaufmann – no, Cavaradossi – sings "O dolci mani" to Tosca, hearts melt.

8 - Jonas Kaufmann is so eloquent that the deficiencies flying around him on stage vanish as soon as he opens his mouth
The German singer with the romantic curls, soulful eyes and an excellent dark tenor voice has made a home for himself as Cavaradossi, the painter hero in Puccini’s opera. In a month’s time he’ll be appearing in a different production for two starry nights at Covent Garden. This DVD, filmed at the Zurich Opera House in 2009, shows why you might have to recruit the US Navy Seals to get a ticket.
Indeed, Kaufmann is so eloquent that the deficiencies flying around him vanish as soon as he opens his mouth. One of them, I rush to say, isn’t Emily Magee’s singing as Tosca. The American soprano works very hard as the titular singer, equally in love with Cavaradossi and the limelight. Even so, none of her flights can match Kaufmann’s for poetry or individuality. His own chestnut number, E lucevan le stelle, often given a right trumpeting, is sung with the half voice, pained and gentle, and becomes reborn.
Best of all, with Kaufmann’s performance you never sense a puppet strutting, a prevailing factor otherwise in Robert Carsen’s production, developed for Vlaamse Opera in 1991. Carsen trashes Puccini’s carefully delineated historical context — Rome, June 1800 — in favour of arid self-referential tricks, 1950s fashions, and a Tosca who swans about like Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner combined. Except when Kaufmann’s singing, it’s hard to feel involved.

9 - Jonas Kaufmann is so eloquent that the deficiencies flying around him on stage vanish as soon as he opens his mouth
The main reason to see this generally better-than-competent Tosca DVD is the singing and acting of tenor Jonas Kaufmann. Beyond his movie-star looks, Kaufmann is simply the best lyric/dramatic tenor singing today. His utterly smooth use of the entire range of dynamics is unique among modern tenors, and it is always put to musical as well as dramatic effect. His sound is in itself thrilling & dark, baritonal, with plenty of 'squillo' in his loud tops; yet he can also sing a perfectly modulated piano, even on the top notes, so well focused that he can expand it smoothly to full volume if needed.
In his late 30s, he is in his prime vocally, athletic and compelling in appearance, and able to make scenes we have seen too often fresh and exciting. Dramatically, he is always into the role, and it's hard to take one's eyes off of him. In this live performance from Zurich, both of his arias are excellent and unlike any other tenor's. In the Act One duet, he begins the line, 'What other eyes could compare with your passionate dark eyes?' (English subtitles) very softly and slowly so that he can build the line in an utterly thrilling way that gives goose bumps. (We watched this DVD with 15 opera friends, and the most sophisticated of them whispered to me that he felt like he was hearing that line for the first time ever!)

10 - Chaque attitude, chaque geste des trois principaux personnages nous révčlent leur personnalité. L'objectif scrute les regards (celui de Scarpia est terrifiant), les sourires (un Mario gentiment moqueur face ŕ la jalousie deTosca, au premier acte), les mains (on retrouve trčs exactement les jeux immortalisés par Maria Callas, dans ses témoignages filmés du deuxičme acte ou de sa «Pričre» gantée en concert), voire les stigmates de la torture sur le corps de Cavaradossi.
Si les voix ne sonnent pas typiquement italiennes (ce qui n'est gučre surprenant chez un Allemand et deux Américains!), elles se montrent irréprochables sur le plan du style et de l'accent, avec une exigence musicale exceptionnelle, bannissant le moindre soupçon de vulgarité. Lélégance glacée du jeu deThomas Hampson est magnifiée par un raffinement vocal rare. On est conquis par l'ardeur virile de Jonas Kaufmann, lançant des «Vittoria !» glorieux et commençant « E lucevan le stelle » dans un murmure.

11 - Kaufmann et Hampson au sommet
Les hommes en revanche sont ŕ leur sommet vocal... et scénique. Jonas Kaufmann souffle le feu et la braise dans un rôle expressif qu'il sert avec la passion et le mesure nuancée qui le caractérise. Qu'il ait le physique du beau Mario artiste et bonapartiste ajoute évidemment ŕ l'aplomb indiscutable de sa performance.

12 - THERE was a time, not so very long ago, when German tenor Jonas Kaufmann was decreed by some to be too Italian for Wagner and too German for Puccini. It's complete bollocks, of course. Kaufmann may not have the classic Italianate ring of a Pavarotti, but he is an absolutely remarkable artist who has the lot, as this DVD of Tosca amply illustrates. The opera is less than 10 minutes old before Cavaradossi's first aria, Recondita armonia, lets you get his measure. Kaufmann positively glows: his phrasing is flowing and luscious; there is not a hint of strain at the top and he is thoughtful in expression, letting you know this is just the beginning of his journey. At the other end of the evening, E lucevan le stelle is given with restrained, aching tenderness. It doesn't hurt, of course, that Kaufmann is super-handsome and slender. Phew!

13 - l'admirable Cavaradossi de Jonas Kaufmann, dont le troisičme acte ici est s'il se peut plus réussi encore (« O dolci mani » simplement hors du monde)

14 - Allmählich wird es fast unheimlich, mit welcher Souveränität und Überzeugungskraft Jonas Kaufmann seit geraumer Zeit unter Stress singen kann. So auch als Cavaradossi in einem »Tosca«-Mitschnitt aus dem Opernhaus Zürich. Sein baritonaler Tenor klingt nicht nur groß und individuell, er besticht mit einer ganzen Bandbreite an Klängen und emotionalen Ausdrücken. Bereits in der ersten Arie („Recondita armonia") teilt Jonas Kaufmann gerade im substanzreichen Piano viel mit, ohne dabei die feurigen Momente zu vernachlässigen. Im Gegenteil: Gerade exponierte Stellen wie im weiteren Verlauf „La vita mi costasse" oder „Vittoria!" scheint er nicht nur mühelos mit voller Kraft zu intonieren, sondern überzeugt auch „gesangsathletisch". Schließlich besitzt er in „E lucevan le stelle" die berühmte Träne in der Stimme, mit der er aus dieser Arie einen traurigen Höhepunkt gestaltet.

15 - Dalla bellissima voce di Jonas Kaufmann, un grande classico della musica lirica con la regia di Robert Carsen e l'interpretazione dell'orchestra di Zurigo diretta da Carignani.

16 - Tous comme ils le sont pour le Mario du ténor allemand Jonas Kaufmann. Si la prestation vocale est somptueuse de phrasé et de musicalité, celui qui sait ętre un Don José incandescent est ici littéralement absent, en particulier au premier acte qui le voit chercher ses marques en permanence.

17 - A ses côtés, Jonas Kaufmann campe le plus nuancé des Cavaradossi. Certes, son « Vittoria » ne doit craindre aucun rival, mais c’est dans les moments doux et ręveurs qu’il nous touche le plus: lorsqu’il murmure le début d’ « E lucevan le stelle » ou qu’il attaque son fameux « O dolci mani » dans un vrai pianissimo.

18 - Vocally, Kaufmann takes the prize. His solo pieces are gorgeous, and he can roar out a “Vittoria” with the best of them.

19 - Inutile d’en rajouter: Jonas Kaufmann est LE Cavaradossi idéal, comme il est le Lohengrin ou le Werther idéal. Charmant -et charmeur- au premier acte, poignant et vibrant au second, il crčve la scčne au troisičme (admirables E lucevan le stelle et O dolci mani) qu’il domine entičrement.

20 - Claro que Kaufmann es el que atrae más la atención. Con su envidiable figura, su naturalidad como actor y su canto, mezcla de generosidad vocal, encendido lirismo (atiéndase a Qual'occhio al mondo, por ejemplo) y apasionados acentos, expone un Cavaradossi que nada debe al pasado y mucho a su fascinante y arrolladora personalidad. Una voz alemana por colorido y fuerza, manejada por un intérprete de una sensibilidad y musicalidad mediterráneas. Impactante.

21 - Jonas Kaufmann gibt einen leidenschaftlichen Cavaradossi mit intimem Sotto voce.

22 - Kaufmann č il divo tenorile del momento, per molti aspetti erede del ruolo lasciato libero da Domingo. L'etichetta promozionale apposta alla nuova Tosca in dvd della Decca parla chiaro: «Jonas Kaufmann's first Tosca dvd»: č la sua. presenza a giustificare la pubblicazione. Fascinoso vocalmente e fisicamente, fa la sua bella figura, sa stare in scena come pochi tenori di ieri e di oggi, s'impone non per gli acuti rapinosi (che pur non mancano) ma per le nuances, le mezze voci, la musicalitŕ del fraseggio.

23 - Aussi ŕ l’aise que dans Wagner ou Massenet, Jonas Kaufmann en constitue l’attraction principale, en puissance comme en suavité et en mezza voce.

24 - Nonetheless, fans of Jonas Kaufmann will no doubt want to have this first video document of one of his most exciting roles. Kaufmann stepped into the Met's controversial new Tosca two seasons ago, galvanizing the cast and breathing life into a rather lifeless affair. Here too, he transcends his surroundings, offering spectacular singing and an interpretation that works within and despite the direction. Occasionally, his ravishing mezza voce singing might seem precious — the opening of "E lucevan le stelle" and "O dolci mani" — were it not so clearly underlined by a powerful emotional connection, as is everything he does.

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