Jonas KaufmannóRomantic Arias

This young German singer is making a fine reputation for himself in European
opera houses. He has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York
most recently as Alfredo in La Traviata, which he is scheduled to
reprise in March of this year.

So this is an eagerly awaited album on both sides of the pond. And the
wait was worth it.

There are 13 tracks on the disc that represent a variety of styles. The
standards are there, ìChe gelida maninaî from La Boheme, ìLa
Fleur que tu míavais jeteeî from Carmen, and ìE Lucevan le
stelleî from Tosca. These are well sung and totally fit the title of the
album in evoking the romantic feelings that their composers intended.

This tenor is building a reputation on a broader scale than those familiar
arias would indicate. Some of the composers on this disc range from Flotow,
to Verdi, to Wagner and include Berlioz and Gounod and Massenet. Kaufmann is
a versatile singer who, here, demonstrates where his skills and talent may
take him in the future. He has sung Parsifal and Florestan (Fidelio)
on stage, which is even more testimony to his versatility.

The Prize Song from Die Meistersinger is beautifully rendered,
and I hope it might be a precursor to his singing that role down the road.

Each of the selections on the album requires a different degree of passion
and Kaufmann gives us that. The gentle song of love to Mimi in La
that rings with his new found passion for her is contrasted with
the beautiful ìPourquoi mr revellierî from Werther, an aria of
unfulfilled love and passion and the precursor to Wertherís death. Kaufmann
clearly understands the different passionate needs of the arias and fulfills
those emotions..

I was particular impressed with his attention to the words and his diction
in the three languages sung on this album. I want a singer to sing the words
and not slur them so they are unrecognizable as language. Kaufmann is as
clear in his native German as in he French and Italian.

There is a rich, dark and intriguing quality to Kaufmannís voice. His
commitment to the works he is singing is readily apparent. I suspect that
over time the darker tenor roles such as Cavaradossi and Don Carlo will be
more his style than the lighter Alfredo. I found his delivery effortless and
his demeanor very romantic indeed!

Missing from this debut effort is anything by Mozart. Kaufmann includes
many of the composerís work in his repertoire. One would hope that the lack
of any Mozart on this disc might be a precursor to a disc of Mozart or German
composers in the future. So if anyone at Decca is listeningÖÖÖ..

This is a tenor for the 21st Century who has a fresh sound and some fresh
ideas and will grace our opera houses for a long time. His good looks as well
as his beautiful voice will continue to give rise to the romantic leading man
image that this album is all about.

Cheryl Dowden

image_description=Jonas KaufmannóRomantic Arias
product_title-Jonas KaufmannóRomantic Arias
product_by=Jonas Kaufmann (tenor), Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Marco Armiliato (cond.)
product_id=Decca 475 9966 [CD]