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Title: Jonas Kaufmann: Verisimo Arias
Composer: Music by Boito, Cilea, Giordano, Leoncavallo, Mascagni, Ponchielli and Zandonai
Repertoire: Piano Duets
Artists: Jonas Kaufmann (ten), Eva Maria Westbroek (sop) Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Pappano
Label: Decca 478 2285
The Music Verismo (‘truth’) describes a genre of 19th-century Italian opera that deals with real life – but ‘real’ only in the sense of eschewing plots involving kings and deities – the music blazes with the protagonists’ epic, full-beam emotions.
The Performance Kaufmann has become a major star and with good reason. It seems he really is able to do anything: his rich, dark-hued tenor lends itself to dramatic singing (a raging, heartbroken ‘Vesti la giubba’), yet he can also caress a pianissimo vocal line and float exquisite top notes (Cilea’s Lamento di Federico). Added to this is his ability to seemingly fling himself with abandon into the extremities of emotion demanded by the music, yet still produce a beautiful sound. The other stars of the disc are Pappano and his Santa Cecilia orchestra who perfectly capture the music’s passionate, glowing ebb and flow.
The Verdict Flawless performances of both famous and less well-known arias, carefully chosen to offer enough variety to enjoy in one sitting and very well recorded. If you love Puccini and Verdi operas, don’t hesitate.