Jonas Kaufmann's long-awaited Verdi Album is something of a disappointment. Of the 11 operas from which he sings extracts, only two – Rigoletto and Don Carlos – were in his stage repertoire at the time of recording. His voice has grown weightier, and some of Verdi's more lyrical music now no longer suits him. He belts La Donna è Mobile. Quando Le Sere al Placido from Luisa Miller turns blowsy at its climax. Unusually for a singer noted for interpretative subtlety, he's at his best in I Masnadieri and Il Trovatore where Verdi is at his most upfront. You get a sense of how good he might be one day as Otello and, above all, as Radames, though by his own admission he's not ready for either. But I rather wish he'd waited until more of this music was in his system before recording it. He's not helped by stodgy conducting and an over-close recording.
Jonas Kaufmann: The Verdi Album
Kaufmann/Parma Opera Orchestra/Morandi
Tim Ashley is a Guardian classical and opera critic, though he's also keen on literature and philosophy so you might sometimes find him cross-referencing all three. His work has also appeared in Literary Review and Opera magazine and he is author of a biography of Richard Strauss