Mozart; Schubert; Beethoven; Wagner
Jonas Kaufmann; Mahler Chamber
Orchestra; Claudio Abbado
Decca 478 1463
Jonas Kaufmann is no newcomer to the opera world nor to recordings, both audio and video. He has about 20 discs on the market, from Mozart, Beethoven, Richard Strauss, and more. However none of these struck the chord as this new disc has. Admittedly he shines in Madama Butterfly and in Der Rosenkavalier and various collections with other artists, but I haven’t heard them all and there may be the artistry equal to this new disc.
I was taken completely taken by surprise by the timbre and texture of the gentle melancholy that he conveys, without a hint of bathos, in the opening lines of both In fernam land and, more particularly, Mein lieber Schwann! This entire collection is a superb showcase for Kaufmann’s artistry revealed in the arias from Lohengrin; as Tamino from The Magic Flute; arias from Schubert’s Fierrabras and Alfonso und Estrella; from Fidelio, Gott! Welch Dunkel heir!; Wintersturme; and finally two from Parsifal, Amfortas! – Die Wunde and Nur eine Waffe taugt.
The well chosen sequence of arias on this CD showcase a beautiful voice with an unusual palette of colours, textures and dynamic range whose vocal canvas is enhanced by fine musicianship and intellect. He inhabits the roles and communicates them effortlessly, supported majestically by Claudio Abbado. The recording itself is of demonstration quality, naturally balanced, very clean and well-focused.
Kaufmann’s qualities and discernable originality make it difficult to pigeonhole him as a heldentenor or a similar generalisation. He emerges as in a class of his own.