Is Jonas Kaufmann really an exceptional tenor?

92 posts / 0 new
Last post
RE: Is Jonas Kaufmann really an exceptional tenor?

Bonisolli had a magnificent instrument, albeit sadly misused in the latter days of his career. It's inevitable, I suppose, that he'll be remembered mainly for his behavioural excesses, but it would be a pity if the more polished and sensitive side of his singing were to be forgotten.

Prompted by the interesting posts on this thread, I listened to quite a bit of Bonisolli this morning. His Alfredo is really very stylish and sensitive, particularly so in 'Parigi, O Cara' and he's a very considerate duetist. There's a recital on Myto where there is some lovely singing - who'd have thought he'd make a credible Ernesto in Don Pasquale, for instance? And the more expected roles (Chenier, Enzo) are also very impressive indeed. I've heard a lot, lot worse.

JKH

RE: Is Jonas Kaufmann really an exceptional tenor?

I fully agree with JKH. His post is quite clear and to the point.

In any case, Bonisoli had definitely a solid, big tenor voice (rather rare in our days). The way he opted to use it was not, most of the time, the most appropriate, but, he was one to admire at least for his physical vocal prowess, which has nothing to do with..."screaming".

By all means, Mr. Kaufmann doesn't "scream" (his voice is much more pleasant). I wonder, though, what kind of Trovatore might sing (possibly a quite lyrical one and not so italianate, with some limited use of any high C).

Parla

RE: Is Jonas Kaufmann really an exceptional tenor?

Ref my post earlier in March, I did go to hear Kaufman at Symphony Hall, with mixed emotions at the end.

Lovely voice and well executed, but I wondered about the choice of Kindertotenlieder for his voice. Not my favourite Mahler anyway, and perhaps I've been spoiled (or over-influenced) by hearing women sing the pieces - Janet Baker being my particularly preferred performer of them.

His singing of Strauss songs however really did appeal, and I thought Andris Nelsons accompanied really sympathetically, allowing the voice to reach everyone in the hall - I was on the back row of the Grand Tier which is just about as far as you can get in this marvellous hall.

Overall then a very enjoyable experience notwithstanding my caveat about the choice of repertoire.

Ruref

RE: Is Jonas Kaufmann really an exceptional tenor?

Thank you for posting your thoughts on this, Ruref. I agree that the Mahler would not be the first thing one would think of associating with Kaufmann, but I should have liked to hear it nonetheless, so I'm rather envious. Notwithstanding the great female interpreters of the cycle, for some reason I still prefer a male voice, my favourite being Prey (as he is in so many things).

Kaufmann's projection is exemplary. I've heard him from the very back of the ROH amphitheatre, and wanted for nothing. Would that were true of some very famous names.

I've got a particular affection for the orchestral versions of Strauss songs (there's a superb disc with Jerusalem and Kurt Masur on Philips) but it's probably a long shot to expect Kaufmann to record them.

 

JKH

RE: Is Jonas Kaufmann really an exceptional tenor?

I've only heard his disc of Strauss lieder on Harmonia Mundi. He does sound rather baritonial. He is certainly not a lyric tenor like Villazon or Florez. Perhaps, I'm comparing apples to oranges. 

A music lover currently living in the middle of nowhere. 

RE: Is Jonas Kaufmann really an exceptional tenor?

Yes, I think that's a superb disc. It's just that, as I say, I've a soft spot for the orchestral versions.

No, he's certainly not a lyric tenor, and I doubt whether he'll be singing many more Alfredos. He does have baritonal colourings and weight in his voice, but I think this is something that recordings emphasise. Certainly that's not the first thing that strikes one when hearing him live. And at the top of the voice he most certainly is a tenor!

I'd be amazed if he didn't become a truly great Otello in time.

JKH

RE: Is Jonas Kaufmann really an exceptional tenor?

Don't hold your breath, JKH. He has not become a great Florestan yet.

What about a potentially competitive Lohengrin or Tristan? I cannot bet on that either.

RE: Is Jonas Kaufmann really an exceptional tenor?

parla wrote:

Don't hold your breath, JKH. He has not become a great Florestan yet.

What about a potentially competitive Lohengrin or Tristan? I cannot bet on that either.

As I recall you've made your position on Kaufmann - and most other current singers - clear in your earlier posts. I differ. In my opinion he is a particularly fine Florestan. I have no idea with whom, amongst current singers, he may be 'competing' in Lohengrin but I, and many others, already find him superb in the role. Certainly his Bayreuth performances were something quite special.

I doubt whether he will be considering Tristan for another ten years or so.

JKH

RE: Is Jonas Kaufmann really an exceptional tenor?

Why does he need to wait another ten years before tackling Tristan? Does his voice need to mature further?

A music lover currently living in the middle of nowhere. 

RE: Is Jonas Kaufmann really an exceptional tenor?

parisboy42 wrote:

Why does he need to wait another ten years before tackling Tristan? Does his voice need to mature further?

Well Tristan is a very heavy and long role and can be punishing to a voice that's not quite ready for it. It's usually approached via Wagnerian tenor roles of increasing weight (Lohengrin, Siegmund, the two Siegfrieds, Parsifal). Siegfried Jerusalem didn't tackle it until he was about 50, and continued singing it for many years afterwards. Domingo finally decided it wasn't for him after years of preparatory study, despite being an excellent Siegmund and Parsifal. It's ruined others. I think Kaufmann's a highly intelligent and self-aware artist who will wait a while before tackling it.

JKH

Pages

Log in or register to post comments

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2019