The Verdi Album
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The Verdi Album
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Of the finest singers of our time and the world’s leading tenor, Jonas Kaufmann presents his personal tribute to one of opera’s most beloved composers, Giuseppe Verdi.
To celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the great masters birth, this stunning new album features a fabulous collection of his most popular arias, including “La donna e mobile” (Rigoletto), “Celeste Aida” (Aida), “Di quella pira” (Il Trovatore) and “Niun me tema” (Otello).
Recorded in the composer’s home city of Parma, this outstanding new recording is sure to be one of the highlights of the composer’s Anniversary year.
This deluxe limited edition release comes with an extra booklet about Verdi’s life and an attractive photographic record of Jonas on location in Italy.
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Starting with track one from his past repertoire - "La donna è mobile" which is sung with such power, control and beauty and towards the end we have the Otello which is one of his future roles and gives a glimpse of the extraordinary performances to come, this is the role meant for him, his use of drama and dark undertones as he fills the speakers with an interpretation of opera 'tragedy' that is beyond anyone else singing today (even Domingo IMHO)
If you need any further proof of why Kaufmann is so loved by his fans then just listen to the dynamic range and control of his voice when singing `Celeste Aida', something most will be familiar with, but just listen to the last note....wow!
We have had some superb releases this year from Kaufmann, Calleja and some not so good, Verdi - Netrebko (Anna what were you thinking) this recording reinforces Jonas Kaufmann's position as probably the greatest Tenor of his generation and one who has all the possibility of exceeding the stratospheric heights reached by Placido Domingo. We are very lucky that Joseph Calleja is just a few years behind and nipping at his heels.
Amazon Cloud/Mp3 vs CD
If you are thinking of buying this album on MP3 only then I would reconsider. By buying the CD you get a free MP3 version on your cloud player which you can download. However the difference is this, the Cloud player Mp3 version is 320kbs but the CD version is 1440kbs and of much higher quality. This is especially true when comparing playback from a HiFi via headphones. Buy the CD then rip it yourself at a higher bit rate than amazon provide.
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.