La Scena Musicale

Thursday, 15 August 2013

CD Review: The Verdi Album Jonas Kaufmann, tenor


The Verdi Album
Jonas Kaufmann, tenor
Sony Classical
****** (6/6)


This just released Verdi arias album is tenor Jonas Kaufmann’s debut solo disc for his new label, Sony Classical. Thirteen arias and duets from the heart of the Verdi repertoire, all sung with resplendent and virile tone, exemplary musicality and a keen sense of drama. It solidifies the German tenor’s position as not just the best heroic tenor before the public today, but also the most versatile, equally at home in the Germanic and Italian repertoires. From the lyric Duke of Mantua to the spinto Don Alvaro and ultimately the dramatic Otello, Kaufmann sings every aria with a thrilling top and plenty of chiaroscuro. For example, the high B-flat that ends ‘Celeste Aida’ has defeated many a tenor, with most unable to risk a dolcissimo, let alone diminuendo. But it holds no terror for Kaufmann, who sings it morendo as per Verdi’s instructions, not falsetto but with a beautiful head voice. The opening phrases of the aria from Luisa Miller, sung with honeyed mezza voce, are gorgeous.  “Dio! Mi potevi scagliar” from Otello is declamatory but Kaufmann’s version is musical and without exaggeration. It’s interesting that Alfredo from La traviata – an early Kaufmann success and his Met debut – is left out. A wise decision as his voice has matured in the intervening years and the lyric Alfredo no longer suits him. As is often the case, the supporting singers here don’t have the best voices, with the exception of baritone Franco Vassallo (Iago), who is, of course, a fine singer. Recorded in Parma (Verdi’s birthplace), the Orchestra dell’Opera di Parma sounds suitably idiomatic under the baton of Pier Giorgio Morandi. This is an auspicious debut album for the tenor with Sony Classical and likely the first of many to come.
JOSEPH K SO


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Monday, 12 August 2013

Cette semaine à Montréal : le 12 au 18 août


Orchestre de la Francophonie : Série classique à Montréal
Dans le cadre de sa saison estivale 2013, l’Orchestre de la Francophonie présentera quatre concerts à Montréal. Le 24 juillet, le chef invité Douglas Pace Sturdevant dirigera l’OF à la salle Pollack. La direction musicale des concerts du 12, 13 et 14 août à la salle Pierre-Mercure sera confiée au chef d’orchestre de l’OF, Jean-Philippe Tremblay. Lors de ces concerts, vous aurez la chance d’écouter des solistes renommés tels Pascale Beaudin, Serhiy Salov et Élissa Cassini, et des solistes de la relève, tels Sheila Jaffe, Thomas Chartré et Philippe Prudhomme. Une œuvre du compositeur Frédéric Chiasson sera également créée en premièree montréalaise. www.orchestrefranco.com

MISQA (Academie internationale de quatuor a cordes de McGill)
Depuis ses débuts en août 2010, MISQA vise à promouvoir la grande tradition du quatuor à cordes. Chaque année, des professeurs de renommée internationale sont invités à partager leurs expériences avec les meilleurs jeunes quatuors provenant de différents pays. Quatre quatuors de profil international et quatre quatuors de la relève, provenant de huit pays, y participent cette année. Deux prestigieux quatuors invités donneront les concerts d’ouverture et de clôture à la salle Pollack : le Quatuor Miami (11 août) et le
Quatuor Vogler (23 août). Quatre documentaires sur les musiciens de quatuor seront présentés en deux parties, les 19 et 20 à 19 h. Les concerts des quatuors stagiaires sont donnés dans les salles Pollack et Tanna, du 11 au 23 août. Ces concerts sont gratuits, mais il faut réserver son billet. www.misqa.com
- Renée Banville

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This week in Montreal: August 12 to 18


Orchestre de la Francophonie: Classics Series in Montreal
As part of the 2013 summer season, the Orchestre de la Francophonie presents four concerts in Montreal. July 24, guest conductor Douglas Pace Sturdevant conducts the OF at Pollack Hall. OF conductor Jean-Philippe Tremblay provides musical direction for concerts on August 12, 13 and 14 at Salle Pierre-Mercure. At these concerts, audiences will have the chance to hear renowned soloists such as Pascale Beaudin, Serhiy Salov and Élissa Cassini, and upcoming soloists such as Sheila Jaffe, Thomas Chartré and Philippe Prudhomme. And finally, a Montreal premiere: a piece by composer Frédéric Chiasson.
www.orchestrefranco.com

MISQA (McGill International String Quartet Academy)
Since its founding in August 2010, MISQA has sought to promote the great tradition of the string quartet. Every year, renowned international faculty are invited to share their experience with the best young string quartets from around the world. Participants this year will include four quartets of international stature, as well as four up-and-coming quartets, from eight countries. Two prestigious guest string quartets will give the opening and closing concerts at Pollack Hall: the Miami Quartet (August 11) and the
Vogler Quartet (August 23). The special presentation “Les Musiciens du Quatuor” is presented in two parts, on August 19 and 20 at 7:00 PM. The concerts featuring student quartets take place in Pollack and Tanna Schulich concert halls from August 11-23. These concerts are free, but tickets must be reserved. www.misqa.com
- Renée Banville

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