Verismo Arias with Jonas Kaufmann came in the mail today. Gee, I love him. It may not be exactly Italian what Jonas Kaufmann is doing, but it is exactly him. He has the most Italian of conductors, Antonio Pappano, to guide him. I love the sound, I love the thoughts and emotions behind it.
More. The album ends with Jonas and Eva-Maria Westbrook in an intensely passionate rendition of the finale to Andrea Chénier, one of the greatest moments in all of opera.
A bit more. On my iPod are three versions of a lot of these arias: Franco Corelli, Rolando Villazon and Jonas Kaufmann. Corelli sings with that bright open tone that only Corelli would even try, scooping and sliding with a freedom that is almost shocking. Villazon is covered, muffled, never quite opening up his voice. Kaufmann hasn't the daring of Corelli--no one really does--but can get open when he needs to, can rise to the big occasion with wonderful vigor. Is it fair to compare? Everyone does it.