Hello old friend – and i don’t mean Puccini ;-)

http://www.vevo.com/watch/USSM21500374?syndicationid=bb8a16ab-1279-4f17-969b-1dba5eb60eda&shortlink=kkzoiS&country=GB

Please click on the link above to view the video, otherwise it is embedded into the ClassicFM article linked below (it’s a promo video but apparently not available everywhere, etc and i can’t embed it here as Vevo and WP seem to hate each other)

Talk about coincidences, this is what dropped into my Inbox this morning πŸ™‚ I knew the CD was coming, it is somewhere in my pre-order list at amazon, but i’d pre-ordered it and then forgot about it. I do have everything he has recorded to date, not all DVDs, but all CDs as it is the audio aspect that interests me more that some productions.

ClassicFM has done a funny little article about it hereΒ πŸ˜‰ Feel free to have a look and don’t throw tomatoes at the photos, i knew, some kid in the office has been at photoshop again and he ain’t very good about it! As you can easily tell by comparison with the live figure in the video πŸ˜€ No idea why they do this stuff and create bad wax replicas in photos, but there you go, money only goes so far with the classical music business and the money goes to the recording process and little is left to pay really good photographers…

I know these videos are made for a purpose, to sell. But i have no issue with that, particularly as it is a tiny market compared to pop music and singers, if lucky, only make about 1 Eur per CD sold. These days it is more to capture a voice for future generations, to get to sing stuff you may not get a chance to do on stage, to collaborate with certain musicians, etc. And these recordings are very expensive to make, pay the orchestra, the conductor, the venue. It used to take several weeks in the past but these days people hardly have the funds to stretch recordings like these for more than 1 week. So it is intense, very hard work, sometimes 6h+ in the studio/hall a day. And that is a lot for singers who under normal circumstances when they performed sing for about 3-5h a night every 3 days on average.

Anyway, enough boring background about the making of πŸ˜‰ This video is a promo about the upcoming CD which contains only Puccini arias. Funny enough Puccini is not my favourite composer at all, BUT the man had a knack for brilliant stage drama and the music can rival the best of movie scored from today. And he picked interesting stories to tell.

I am sure anyone will recognise some arias on this video, the Tosca bits and the Vincero πŸ˜‰ (from Turandot, about an princess who kills all the potential suitors who can’t solve the riddles she sets them πŸ˜‰ this one is set to defeat her however, duh! πŸ˜‰ ) I do like Tosca a lot and not just the well known bits but the duets and the interactions and he is by far my favourite painter, Mario Cavaradossi. I can’t begin to describe the sweetness of his vocal lines when the talks to his lover, the famous singing diva, Floria Tosca. Check this out, from a live performance and listen out for the chuckles, smooching sounds and all that πŸ˜‰

It is one of my favourite roles of his, among other things because i was there when he sang it for the first time, in London with Tony Pappano (same conductor as on the upcoming CD) a bit over 7 years ago πŸ™‚ Another very fond memory of those nights (went to see it 3 times πŸ˜‰ ) is the way the hall went dead silent when he sang his last year just before he knew he was going to die, saying good bye to his memories of her and to life in general and hearing the sighs and sobs of people around me, men and women alike. In fact people were so utterly moved, nobody dared to clap at the end of the aria and that is, as far as i know unheard of. Because you see, in opera, arias are there to impress with vocal proves, with high notes and it can be so exciting to hear you forget what the singer sang about and cheer him for what he is able to accomplish with his voice. Β Now imagine somebody who puts his all into it and all he gets is…. silence πŸ™‚ We actually had to tell him what people were experiencing after the show, as he thought something had gone wrong for the usual reaction not to happen. As he says in the video, Pappano knew him better maybe than he knew himself as an artist at the time and gave him this role to own, at a time when nobody in an opera house as big as the ROH would have considered to pick him for something as challenging and high profile. And boy was it special πŸ™‚ I remember wanting to come back again and again and again (i wasn’t living in London at the time) until a ‘certain someone’ said: ‘don’t, it’s enough, i’ll do this again’.

And i have seen it quite a few more times and hope to see it some more πŸ™‚

His Mario i’ll never get bored with. But there is another role on the CD and of Puccini that i particularly like, he mentions him in the video as well, the story of the bandit, saved by a strong woman πŸ™‚ Puccini adored his leading ladies and his operas are mostly showcases for sopranos. But i like this story because it was written at the beginning of the century when stories of strong women were not necessarily a staple on stage and it is nice that for once the hero is not the tenor πŸ™‚ This aria, which happens towards the end of the opera is therefore special, because it captures a moment of utter vulnerability. He has been captured, his bandit days are over and he is prepared to die hanging and asks them to not tell her about his death but pretend he has gotten away and if living a life of freedom (And then she comes and convinces them to let him go as she believes he is reformed and she can save him; the opera actually has a happy ending, which is unusual!).

So there it is, video from a live performance this time, Ch’ella mi creda libero e lontano (let her believe me free and far away from here..):

Looking forward to the CD now, not only because of the nice memories it has brought back, but because this is the most thrilling, powerful, rich, raw and emotional voice i have ever heard live on an opera stage πŸ™‚ Mille grazie Jonas πŸ™‚

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14 thoughts on “Hello old friend – and i don’t mean Puccini ;-)

  1. Good heavens. He is amazing. I loved the video of him strolling around Rome in his black T-shirt and jeans πŸ™‚ Also the Puccini– it’s very accessible for people like me who don’t know as much about opera. I discovered watching the video that Puccini himself was a very good-looking man. But looks and preternatural talent like Jonas has–that combination ought to be illegal!
    I have a question: why does he hold his right hand close to his ear while singing? I thought he had an earpiece there, but I didn’t see anything when the camera angle changed. The best bit was at the end of Nessun Dorma when he completed his part, and you could see the excitement of it shaking his body. Beautiful…

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    • Oh so glad you can see it! i am a good girl usually but since i couldn’t get it embedded i uploaded it to youtube and prompty got myself slapped with copyright 😦 so i got flustered and put off, it’s PR FFS it should be available for everyone and easily accessible. Sony really gets on my nerves like that!
      Anyway, haven’t even watched properly myself LOL, just listened πŸ™‚
      He covers the ear a bit, sometimes to the point of sticking his finger in in order to block out some of the instruments, all those playing right around you are very very loud and he can’t hear himself or details he needs to hear quite as well. So he protects the ear a bit. Normally he would be on stage with the orchestra much farther away, this way you literally get swallowed in the decibels and it si harder to control what you are doing. And yeah, i like the fact in these things you get to see the buzz he gets πŸ™‚ It’s a drug all-right, not just for the listener.
      As to his good looks, bah, he’s all right πŸ˜‰ Getting older, greying and all that.

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  2. I always enjoy very much your Kaufmann posts, thank you! I’ve seen the video and, as when I wanted to re-watch it I’ve seen also of his Verdi album, allow me a shallow comment: his English has improved very much!
    To come back to the several things I’d want to say, definitely I’ve never come by Mr. Kaufmann during his Roman walks! (such a pity 😦 ). I’m glad he recorded the album with the Santa Cecilia orchestra; I heard some months ago that they had very serious economic problems. 😦 I’ve really appreciated the “Nessun Dorma” part, his passion singing it and his satisfaction (and of all the orchestra) when the take was perfect. I’d like to see him singing a Turandot, maybe with his passion he’d make me come to terms with Calaf who, although has the most beautiful aria in opera, is a very disappointing male character (I can’t forgive him about Liu πŸ˜‰ ). As I told you when I heard him singing “E lucevan le stelle” I’m quite partial regarding two arias, “Lucevan” = Domingo, “Nessun Dorma” = Pavarotti. He’s definitely finished with that idea. Regarding the “Tosca” audio, I like so much Angela Gheorghiu; I’ve appreciated very much the giggle after “davanti la madonna” πŸ™‚
    Thank you also for your explanation to linnet’s doubt πŸ™‚
    I look forward to add this album to my Spotify collection, thank you!

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    • ohh, i’m glad you’re enjoying him so much πŸ™‚ And yes, Calaf is is a d**k, i don’t like him either, not am i particularly fond of that opera.But the aria is well known, so πŸ˜‰ Few people actually realise what a nasty story it really is.
      Angi is really nice as Tosca, fits her perfectly ‘ggg’. I wish you could see him as Mario, hopefully you’ll have the chance, he is most charming πŸ˜‰
      His English varies depending on how much time he spends in London or working with Pappano, it always improves a lot once he’s been here πŸ˜‰
      I adore the St Cecilia, they are wonderful, i’ve seen them perform here and also in Wien when they were on tour. Thankfully they have good supporters in Rome and have managed to pull through financial difficulties and their reputation is only growing! I was really very sad in February when JK did Aida in concert with them in Rome and i couldn’t go… but it is coming out on CD and it is spectacular!! They had the banda della Polizia to play the march in Aida, wow! πŸ™‚
      If you like the Puccini one the CD i would recommend is actually the Verismo one, also done with the St Cecilia and Pappano, it is stunning and very very varied . there are some beautiful romantic arias in there that are much less well know but worth a listen, it is this one: http://www.amazon.it/Verismo-Arias-Jonas-Kaufmann/dp/B003XT8Y3K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437056291&sr=8-1&keywords=Kaufmann+verismo

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      • Thank you for the suggestion, I’ve added that album to Spotify and I will listen to it at home (I sincerely hope, given that I pay them monthly that they pay on my behalf the artists).
        Oh, how ugly ignorance is, I had no idea about he being here singing Aida 😦 Has the CD come out already? If not let me know when it’ll be, I’d like to hear it. Oh yes, Calaf…. “Mia povera Liu, sorry, but I don’t give a f**k” 😦 Of Turandot I like very much the opening choir and some arias (signore ascolta, mia povera Liu and Nessun Dorma)
        I love Tosca, I watch every now and then the DVD with Domingo shot in real time, Ruggero Raimondi was an amazing Scarpia. I’ve visited Palazzo Farnese and a couple of original costumes used for the occasion are exhibited there. I was thrilled. πŸ™‚

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        • Aida should come out mid September as well, i’ll give a shout πŸ˜‰ Easily since it is one of my favourite operas ever!
          Yeah, i love the chorus in Turandot as well and Liu, but what he does to her, typical man, bleeh! I like him singing the arias in concerts but i am not keen on seeing him in the role Thankfully he feels the same about Pinkerton in Butterfly, another notorious pig πŸ˜‰ He’s recorded that on CD but said he’d never do it on stage, because Pinkerton is a ‘figlio di p… ‘ His words, not mine πŸ˜‰
          Ohhhhh i love that production too and always wanted to visit Rome, one day one day… maybe with a bit of luck next one, if there aren’t any other priorities coming through… Raimondi was a great Scarpia, i love a Scarpia who can be attractive as well and you could see how someone could fall for him too πŸ˜‰

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  3. was hat der Mann für eine Stimme, sitze begeistert, lese meine emails und hâre zu ❀
    Den mΓΆchte ich doch unbedingt mal live sehen, das kΓΆnnte Mr. A dann gefΓ€hrlich werden πŸ™‚

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    • 2 different stage animals πŸ™‚ Ist ja nicht gegenseitlich ausschliessend, finde ich jedenfalls. Jonas hat wirklich eine einmalig Stimme, in London ist er noch immer am besten zu erreichen weil das Kartensystem hier es erlaubt besser ranzukommen, genrell wird es immer schwieriger. Aber man muss ihn in einer vollen Oper erleben,, Don Jose in Carmen ist seine andere Glazrolle, na ja viele mehr aber das sind 2 meiner Lieblinsrollen von ihm. Du musst nur sagen und wir organisieren das hier gern πŸ™‚ Er kommt mitte November fur 2 Carmenvorstellungen nach London πŸ™‚ und wird dann nachste Saison wieder mehr machen, konnen wir gern im voraus planen πŸ™‚
      Und mir gefallen seit eh und je tiefe Mannerstimmen πŸ˜‰ das haben die beiden gemeinsam. Bei jedem gefallen mir andere Sachen und die kunstlerischen Fahigkeiten auf hohem Niveau haben sie ja auch gemeinsam πŸ™‚ R hat nichts zu furchten :-))

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      • Ja ich komme gerne! November hΓΆrt sich auch gut an, hast Du schon Karten? Gibt es einen genauen Termin? Ich kann zur Zeit schlecht planen, erst muss ich einen neuen Job haben 😦 aber WE lΓ€sst sich bestimmt machen πŸ™‚
        Beide haben eine Stimme zum niederknien, auf jeder Ebene!!!
        Jetzt muss ich nur noch rausfinden wann Urban anlΓ€uft!

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        • 14, 16 Nov πŸ™‚ kurz nach meinem Geb πŸ˜‰ und ja habe schon aber ganz oben im Amphi seitlich, weil ich Produktin schon gesehen habe und es weil er nur die 2 Daten sind Mordsprugelei auf Karten gab, war fast lehr ausgegangen diesmal gr. Und drucke Daumen ganz stark wegen Jobsache!! Wochenede gib es immer wenn er singt weil sie halt den Leute die sonst nicht konnen auch ne Gelegenheit geben wollen πŸ˜‰
          Und ja Mensch wenn sie endlich uber Urban Bescheid sagen konnten, ach er muss dafur nach London kommen, seufz, schmoll…

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  4. You make me live again a very special evening , when I was at the ROH for his Cavaradossi and he took my breath away with Recondita armonia. …..How can I forget the softness of its ending sung in an unearthy pianissimissimo that filled the whole hall? And by the way Puccini IS my favourite composer, and JK is truly the best singer for all his major roles. Too bad he’ll never be Pinkerton on stage. It would be a great challenge for him to play a real BAD GUY!

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