“A typhoon of passion: frenetic applause for ‘Carmen’ in Zurich” — Der Standard
With this festival performance from the Zurich Opera, the great Vesselina Kasarova makes her long-awaited debut in one of the greatest mezzo roles in the operatic repertoire: Carmen.
She has a partner of equal stature in Jonas Kaufmann’s Don José, who, in Matthias Hartmann’s production, believably undergoes a transformation from repressed mama’s boy to passionate, jealousy-crazed hothead. With “the looks and nonchalance of a rock star” (New York Magazine), Kaufmann is being handled as “arguably the greatest tenor of the past 50 years” (The Guardian). The Zurich production is Kaufmann’s second stage version of Don José, following his role debut in London, which was greeted with standing ovations.
La Clemenza di Tito:
La Clemenza di Tito was composed in the summer of 1971, a few months before Mozart’s death, as a commission for the coronation of Emperor Leopold II as King of Bohemia in Prague – he supposedly composed the opera in just 18 days, having anyway achieved the writing of several “top numbers” according to opera star Jonas Kaufmann, always balancing vocal challenges with enough musical simplicity.
Regarded by many as Mozart’s opera seria masterpiece, the production of Jonathan Miller brings the Bohemian opera to a present-day audience, while conductor Welser-Möst strives to reveal the humour inherent to Mozart’s music.
Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca is melodrama at its purest, a festival of lush melodies and dramatic outbursts that remains one of this composer’s most popular works to this day. It is also a genuine “action opera,” a realistic crime story, complete with torture, betrayal, murder, sex and suicide. And in the production from the Zurich Opera presented here, it is a gripping, heart-stopping psychosexual study of three tragically and fatally interwoven figures.
Confirming his exceptional position as one of the most versatile, sensitive, warmly lyrical tenors of our day is Jonas Kaufmann as Cavaradossi. Whether indulging in playful banter, bristling with passionate indignation or glowing with romantic ardor, Kaufmann is always comfortable in his masculinity and unfailingly assured in his shaping of his part’s every nuance. The press was unanimous in praising his “darkly hued, dazzling and robust tenor … Puccini lyricism with a wealth of shadings practically unknown since di Stefano and Callas” (Badische Zeitung). Never before has the warhorse “E lucevan le stelle” been interpreted with such intimate, heart-rending poignancy as when Kaufmann bares his soul to a hushed audience in an account that makes time stand still.
Leading actor/actressJonas Kaufmann
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