Notes and Editorial Reviews
Jonas Kaufmann’s new album, Wien, is a deeply personal tribute to the world-famous melodies from the birthplace of waltz and operetta. Hence its title: Wien - the German for Vienna. None other than the Vienna Philharmonic is a more natural fit for such a recording of evergreen hits, with the varied program conducted by Ádám Fischer.
In many ways Wien takes Jonas Kaufmann back to his roots. His very first professional stage production, while still a student, was A Night in Venice. That was in Regensburg back in 1993-94, when he sang Caramello more than 30 times. All the more reason to feature the tenor highlights of this Johann Strauss operetta on Wien, along with duets from Die Fledermaus, Wiener Blut and Lehar’s Merry Widow. As in his concertante Fledermaus performance at last year’s Dresden New Year’s Eve Gala, his superb partner in the duets is Rachel Willis-Sørensen.
There is enough cream and sugar in his selection of golden and silver-age serenades by Johann Strauss II and Franz Lehár to satisfy the sweetest tooth. Yet in songs such as Georg Kreisler’s satirical Der Tod, das muss ein Wiener sein, sung in a fair approximation of cabaret style by Kaufmann to Michael Rot’s wry piano accompaniment and pointedly placed as an epilogue, there’s a sharpness that interrogates wilful amnesia...The orchestral sound glistens like Cellophane.
– Sunday Times (UK)