Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Verdi Album - No arguments here!, 18 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: The Verdi Album (Audio CD)
I almost didn't buy this album. I haven't been a Kaufmann fan in the past, having been disappointed by his Pinkerton with Angela Gheorgiu, but I decided to take a chance, and I'm so glad I did.
His voice is the most virile tenor since Franco Corelli, capable of blazing top notes, yet with the most affecting piannissimi. He shows great respect for the wishes of his composer, giving us the last note of `Celeste Aida' exactly as Verdi stipulated, and including the drop of an octave and a half in `Di' tu se fedele' from Un ballo in maschera, which many tenors, including Pavarotti, reduce to half an octave.
The word which comes foremost to my mind for this album is `thoughtful'. Certainly many of the arias are the old `war-horses' of countless tenor albums, and yet even the most well-known, like `La donna è mobile' and `Ah! si, ben mio coll'essere' are given fresh and engaging renderings. Kaufmann has stopped to think not only what was in Verdi's mind but also what might have been in the mind of the character he is portraying. In other words, these are truly `dramatic' performances.
For me, some of the most wonderful parts of this album are those where Kaufmann sings quietly, giving every nuance to Verdi's delicious melodies, yet able at any moment to burst into vocal brilliance. The arias from La forza del destino and Luisa Miller display this beautifully. But the absolute acme of his performance comes with Otello. These two arias from the last act of the opera, show us Otello in steely, righteous rage, preparing to take his wife's life for her supposed infidelity and then, having strangled her, discovering her innocence. Nowhere does Kaufmann come closer to perfection than in conveying the real tragedy at the heart of this opera, with a voice and an artistry totally in tune with the composer. There were tears in my eyes as he finished.
I don't understand what is meant by `a bonus track'. Macduff's recitative and aria from Macbeth, lamenting the destruction of his family, are beautifully sung with all the qualities that I have delineated above, but they should really have been included earlier in the album. Moving though the performance is, the return to earlier Verdi breaks the spell of the magical and simultaneously heart-rending music of the mature Verdi with his greatest tenor role. This is where the album should have ended. Buy it and you will never regret it; if, by any chance, like me, you should be unable to get to a concert hall or opera house, you will think, for more than an hour, that you have attained heaven on earth.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Oct 2013 14:18:52 BDT
To quote, even from the cover(!) 11. Otello, Atto III : "Dio! mi potevi scagliar" - Orchestra dell'Opera di Parma
12. Otello, Atto IV: "Niun mi tema" - Orchestra dell'Opera di Parma.
therefore the two areas are not both from the last act!

Posted on 1 Nov 2013 20:59:12 GMT
What a character tenor. He leaves me breathless and confident he can take and move opera forward well into the 21st century. Bravo Jonas!
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