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Verismo Arias / Jonas Kaufmann, Antonio Pappano, Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia


Release Date: 04/19/2011 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001546302  
Composer:  Riccardo ZandonaiUmberto GiordanoFrancesco CilèaRuggero Leoncavallo,   ... 
Performer:  Jonas KaufmannRosa FeolaCristina RealeEva-Maria Westbroek
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  


Notes and Editorial Reviews

Despite my impatience to see Jonas Kaufmann move into the great Wagner roles, I realise that to rush that process could be fatal to one of the few very great voices singing today. I am delighted by his evident intention to keep his voice still light and flexible enough to sing Mozart, even at this stage of his career. While I do not find that he has the sweetness and "ping" ideal for Puccini, he is very fine in Verdi and the movement into verismo is not too great a leap. Kaufmann is now forty; his powerful, smoky voice is now presumably at its peak, and while it will never have the juicy resonance of Corelli he is a superb vocal actor who throws himself into his characterisations. He utterly convinces the listener of the sincerity Read more with which he inhabits his roles. There is a plaintive as well as a heroic quality to his singing. He has virtually eliminated the glottal, "gulping" tic - presumably injected for emotive effect - which was beginning to infect his vocal production. He now sings "straight", relying on tonal colouring and superb control of dynamics. The top B in his "Come un bel dì di maggio" is appropriately climactic. He then moves straight into a deeply affecting account of that wonderfully melancholy aria "È la solita storia", using a mesmeric half voice. It is that combination of baritonal heft and restrained delicacy which he can command that makes his voice so moving. He can scale his voice right down to express tenderness then deliver thrilling top As and Bs. It is such a pleasure to hear a singer begin so many arias with due attention to dynamics and subtlety rather than go straight for the "can belto shock and awe" attack. Thus "Dai campi" builds properly to the climactic "a meditar" and is all the better for the contrast Kaufmann engineers between it and the meditative, almost tentative, opening phrases. Similarly, "Giunto sul passo estremo" is a genuine psychological portrait. I love the way Kaufmann gives the best possible advocacy to Boito's oft-derided music which I so enjoy. He even shows his command of the fabled "messa di voce" (producing a smooth, swelling crescendo and then a diminuendo on one note) - a bel canto technique almost lost amongst modern singers.

The opening track is a surprise: a virtually unknown aria from Zandonai's "Giulietta e Romeo", a choice typical of a novel, artfully structured programme designed to provide maximum pleasure without recourse to too many old chestnuts. That said, I suppose no verismo recital would be complete without "Vesti la giubba", especially when it is delivered as it is here with such passion and artistry. Another novelty is an aria from Ponchielli's "I Lituani"; not especially original as music, perhaps, but a pleasure to hear. I am also delighted to see Kaufmann's inclusion of Refice's exquisite song "Ombra di nube", which was made into an immortal gramophone classic by the great Claudia Muzio in one of my favourite recordings. Kaufmann cannot erase memories of her vulnerable, otherworldly poise, but he sings that lovely music with real Innigkeit and actually adopts a "new" voice of incomparable tenderness for such a large instrument. With "Cielo e mar" we are back on more familiar Ponchielli territory, and once again Kaufmann rethinks the aria to make it a lesson in restrained, poetic power rather than the usual bombastic bawl. One gem follows another and I am amazed by the judicious admixture of intelligence and passion that Kaufmann brings to all the music he sings here. The generous recital concludes with a real belter: the final duet from "Andrea Chénier", when the lovers declare their undying devotion as they are trundled off to the guillotine. Kaufmann and guest soprano Eva-Marie Westbroek cannot rival Corelli and Stella, or Gigli and Caniglia for that matter, for sheer animal abandon, but it's still a thrilling ride.

Pappano's accompaniments are simply superb: great, throbbing waves of sound from the reinvigorated Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

There are still, perhaps, individual performances of certain arias which I favour over Kaufmann's interpretations here but as a recital disc taken as a whole, it is hard to think of another superior in vocal brilliance, interpretative depth and mature artistry. Kaufmann's voice is virtually - and uncannily at times - indistinguishable from Vickers', who was also criticised for lacking Italianatà but still carried the day by dint of conviction and sheer force of personality. But I also think that stylistically Kaufmann is just right for this music even if the vocal make-up lacks that Italianate squillo. He just gets better and better. This definitely goes alongside the "Verdi Arias" disc on Delos by Sondra Radvanovsky (yet to appear) as my two "Discs of the Year": two superlative recitals by the two best Verdi voices by far to emerge for a generation.

– Ralph Moore, MusicWeb International

Jonas Kaufmann is the tenor-du-jour, and it's easy to see why: Siegmund, Alfredo, Werther, Cavaradossi, Don José, Lohengrin--who does he think he is, Placido Domingo? But really, very few tenors have such a broad repertoire and are so good at each role. Kaufmann puts individual stamps on roles--even more so, I might add (angering two-thirds of the planet), than his great Spanish predecessor. And his voice can do more "things" than Domingo's, even in his prime, including soft high singing, an incredible messa di voce, and easy top notes. I'm not saying that Kaufmann's better, but he is most certainly to be reckoned with.

The down side, with regard to this recital of whopping big verismo arias that are the equivalent of big bowls of pasta, is that he does not have the true sound of an Italian tenor--that "ping" at the top of the voice, a sweetness that is Mediterranean, and an absolutely natural way with the swing of the music. I'm not being "racist"; just listen to the likes of Carlo Bergonzi or any of the Three Tenors or Alagna in this repertoire and you can see red checkered table cloths and bottles of Chianti all around you. On the other hand, not one of those singers is as fine a "German" tenor as Kaufmann. Enough about that.

This recital has its wonders and gives great pleasure: Kaufmann's intelligence, musicality, and handsome tone are winning. "E la solita storia" from L'Arlesiana becomes about as beautiful a lament as possible, with dynamic shadings the composer only dreamed of hearing. It's equally good to hear Chenier's "Improvviso" sung with such passion and security that the hallowed name of Franco Corelli might be invoked (although again, Kaufmann simply does not have the squillo that the Italian had). He makes more of Faust's arias from Mefistofele than anyone since Gigli's recordings, creating a truly complicated character both before (in "Dai campi...") and after (in "Giunto sul passo estremo") his misguided adventures.

"Vesti la giubba" is happily devoid of vulgarity; if you can stand to listen to this aria once more in your life, Kaufmann's will do. The other arias--both little known (by Refice, and another from Ponchielli's I Lituani) and overly familiar--and the final duet from Chenier (with a superb Eva-Maria Westbroek) are thrilling and bear the stamp of a superior artist.

Let's face it: 62 minutes of verismo arias can be a truly aggressive experience to sit through no matter who the tenor, and this CD should be listened to in thirds, as should similar ones by any of the tenors mentioned above. But don't underestimate Kaufmann--just because he's a great "German" tenor doesn't diminish his effectiveness in the Italian repertoire. And if he isn't Caruso, well, neither are you.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Giulietta e Romeo: Giulietta! son io by Riccardo Zandonai
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; Rome, Italy 
2.
Andrea Chénier: Un dì all' azzuro spazio "Improvviso" by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
3.
Andrea Chénier: Come un bel dì di maggio by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
4.
L'Arlesiana: E la solita storia...Anch'io vorrei "Lamento" by Francesco Cilèa
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897/1937; Italy 
5.
La Bohème: Musette! O gioia della mia dimora... Testa adorato by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Italy 
6.
I Pagliacci: Recitar!...Vesti la giubba by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
7.
Cavalleria Rusticana: Viva il vino spumeggiante "Brindisi" by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Rosa Feola (Soprano), Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
8.
Cavalleria Rusticana: Mamma, quel vino è generoso "Addio" by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor), Cristina Reale (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
9.
Mefistofele: Dai campi, dai prati by Arrigo Boito
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Italy 
10.
Mefistofele: Giunto sul passo estremo by Arrigo Boito
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Italy 
11.
Fedora: Amor ti vieta by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Italy 
12.
Adriana Lecouvreur: L'anima ho stanca by Francesco Cilèa
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Italy 
13.
Adriana Lecouvreur: La dolcissima effigie by Francesco Cilèa
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Italy 
14.
I Lituani: Sì...questa estrema grazia by Amilcare Ponchielli
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874/1875; Italy 
15.
La Gioconda: Cielo e mar by Amilcare Ponchielli
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Written: 1876 
16.
Ombra di Nube by Licinio Refice
Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
17.
Andrea Chénier: Vicino a te by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Eva-Maria Westbroek (Soprano), Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 

Featured Sound Samples

Andrea Chénier (Giordano): "Un dì all'azzurro spazio" (Improvviso)
Fedora (Giordano): "Amor ti vieta di non amar"

Sound Samples

Giulietta e Romeo / Act 3: "Giulietta! Son io!"
Andrea Chénier / Act 1: Colpito qui m'avete ? Un dì all?azzurro spazio
Andrea Chénier / Act 4: Come un bel dì di maggio
L'Arlesiana / Act 2: "E la solita storia"
La bohème / Act 3: "Musetta! O gioia della mia dimora! - Testa adorata"
Pagliacci / Act 1: "Recitar!" - "Vesti la giubba"
Cavalleria rusticana: "Intanto, amici, qua...Viva il vino spumeggiante"
Cavalleria rusticana: "Mamma, quel vino è generoso"
Mefistofele / Act 1: Dai campi, dai prati
Mefistofele / Act 4: "Giunto sul passo estremo"
Fedora / Act 2: "Amor ti vieta"
Adriana Lecouvreur / Act 2: L'anima ho stanca
Adriana Lecouvreur / Act 1: "La dolcissima effigie"
I Lituani: "Sì...questa estrema grazia"
La Gioconda / Act 2: "Cielo e mar"
"Ombra di nube"
Andrea Chénier / Act 4: Vicino a te s'acqueta

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 DO WE HAVE ANOTHER LAURITZ MELCHOIR ? December 16, 2012 By ROBERT E.  FOX (OCALA, FL) See All My Reviews "THE GOOD BOOK SAYS, "BLESSED ARE THE TENORS WITH A BARITONE QUALITY TO HIS VOICE" SERIOUSLY, JONAS KAUFMAN HAS THAT QUALITY WITH STRENGTH OF VOICE,DRAMATIC INTERPRETATION, AND CAN CHANCE CHARACTER AS THE ROLL PERMITS. ONLY TIME WILL TELL WHATS IN STORE FOR THIS RELATIVELY YOUNG SINGER." Report Abuse
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