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Jonas Kaufmann performs at Syndey Opera House / The Guardian review

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Superstar tenor Jonas Kaufmann is the type of man your mother warned you about. His rock star looks are equal parts Antonio Banderas, George Clooney and Eric Bana – he has the Spaniard's gaze, Clooney's statesman-like poise and is an incredible Hulk in the high notes department.

With a face that has graced Vogue, this tenor is the opera world's closest thing to a Hollywood heartthrob. But does he have more style than substance? After an evening with Kaufmann and 2500 other people at Sydney Opera House that hypothesis is challenged.

Having played the tortured poet in Massenet's Werther at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in March, Kaufmann makes a consummate Sydney concert debut. The hall is dressed for royalty with garlands of flowers frosting the edge of the stage. It's the only embellishment of the evening – Kaufmann reinstates the power of the voice ungilded by costumes and stage pyrotechnics. Little context is given for the arias delivered; he lets Verdi, Leoncavallo and Mascagni do the talking.

For much of his Australian audience, who have never heard him live, the collective question hangs in the air: will Kaufmann be as good as he is on YouTube? Puccini's Recondita Armonia from Tosca breaks the ice and after its final note the audience applaud in rapture, realising he is everything we have heard about and more. The response seems genuinely to move Kaufmann – the shared delight of discovery between an international artist and his antipodean audience. READ THE FULL Guardian REVIEW.