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Jonas Kaufmann - The Puccini Album / Buffalo News

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Nessun Dorma, The Puccini Album, Jonas Kaufmann, tenor, Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano, conductor (Sony). My dad used to say that the line separating Puccini and Broadway was faint, and listening to this disc I remembered his opinion and agreed with it. I cannot imagine anyone who loves "The Phantom of the Opera" not thrilling to the love duet from "La Boheme." This recording is especially enticing. Kaufmann puts a lot of himself into the music, bringing a fresh emotion even to music you may have heard 100 times. His singing is extremely masculine, projecting resonance and depth rather than delicacy. And somehow the whole approach works to bring back the idea of opera as popular entertainment. In real life, too, Kaufmann harks back attractively to the days when opera stars were real celebrities, figures of gossip and speculation. Rakishly handsome and tousled, he had to deny rumors earlier this year that he was having an affair with Madonna (who has reportedly expressed a desire to work with him). He and the assembled musical forces on this disc approach everything on all cylinders, from Cavaradossi's passionate "Recondita Armonia" ("Tosca") to "Addio, Fiorito Asil" from "Madame Butterfly." There is also a torrid excerpt from the seamy "Il Tabarro," which Nickel City Opera performed two hot nights on the USS Sullivans, remember? The fevered heat of this music could turn anyone into an opera fan. By the way, if you are a newcomer, the booklet has nice notes, texts and translations.  (Mary Kunz Goldman)  SEE PAGE