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Jonas Kaufmann - L'Opera makes NPR Music's Top 10 Classical Albums Of 2017

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Hefty, handsome and strong, like a smoky, hand-crafted bourbon, the voice of tenor superstar Jonas Kaufmann, continues to thrill on his new album of French arias. He's got the brawn, and the baritone-like timbre, to sing the heavier Wagner and Verdi roles, but it's impressive to hear how well this generally lighter, French fare fits his voice. There's plenty of requisite muscle in Bizet's "Flower Song" (from Carmen), but he floats the final B-flat in a creamy pianissimo, which, sadly, is rarely attempted these days. In a role like Massenet's Werther, which Kaufmann practically owns today, one hears all the stifled rage and anguished release in a single phrase, ending on a velvety mezza voce. You needn't see him on stage. All the drama, and then some, is right there in the voice.

SEE ALL NPR Music's Top 10 Classical Albums Of 2017