sábado, 23 de maio de 2009

Herr Kaufmann

Jonas Kaufmann, contrariamente ao que se pensa, não teve uma ascensão meteórica. O grande tenor conta com uma respeitável carreira de quinze anos. Pelo que dele se conhece, vislumbra-se um magnífico destino wagneriano, agora que a maturidade se aproxima.

O seu primeiro registo a solo é um assombro. Consta que o segundo – cuja comercialização está para breve – coloca a fasquia ainda mais alto.

Pouco dado a deslumbramentos e tiradas tontas – como os respeitáveis (entre outros adjectivos menos simpáticos) Alagna e Villazón -, Kaufmann revela uma extrema prudência e contenção.

Ver-se-á o que lhe reserva o destino.

Pela minha parte, se tivesse de escolher um tenor, depois de Windgassen, Kraus e Domingo, Jonas Kaufmann seria o eleito.

(Jonas Kaufmann como Alfredo - Met Opera House)

«FROM his safe haven in the ensemble of the Zurich Opera House, Jonas Kaufmann has seen more than one young tenor set the world on fire and swiftly flame out. Now that he is racking up triumphs in one musical capital after another, he hopes his path will be different.

“To reach the top is definitely less difficult than to stay there,” Mr. Kaufmann, 39, said recently by telephone between performances of Massenet’s “Manon” at the Vienna State Opera, the scene of his latest conquest. “In the past no one became a star overnight. Now things can happen very fast. Quick to rise, quick to fall. I’m very thankful for my 15 years of experience. I can lean back and be a little more relaxed at all the craziness than if I were a rookie.”


A critic once described his timbre as, paradoxically, “light and dark,” an assessment the album bears out. It also documents Mr. Kauffman’s elegant musicianship, his idiomatic ease in three languages and a temperament that, though introverted by operatic standards, is thoroughly involving. Though he rises easily to the pitch of high passion, intimate passages seem whispered into the ear. He can achieve that effect in the theater as well, though it is harder.


“I regard Kaufmann as certainly one of the greatest tenors on the international scene,” Mr. Abbado said from Bologna. “He is a complete artist, the only one who could pass the test of such a broad repertory with such assurance and such excellent results.”


These days Mr. Kaufmann fields constant offers for new productions at the top houses. The soprano Angela Gheorghiu does not mind taking credit, having requested him as her love interest in prima donna vehicles like Puccini’s “Rondine” and Verdi’s “Traviata” at the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden and La Scala on the strength of a DVD from Zurich that her manager gave her.


Powerhouse appearances in London, Vienna, Milan and Paris in weighty parts like Bizet’s Don José (in “Carmen”) and Puccini’s Cavaradossi (in “Tosca”) have shown Mr. Kaufmann to be much more than a diva’s trophy walker. Still, asked to list the milestones of his career, he names just one: his Met debut in 2006, opposite Ms. Gheorghiu, as a midseason replacement in “La Traviata.”

“I came to the Met as more or less a nobody,” Mr. Kaufmann said, “and the audience gave me a standing ovation. I was overwhelmed, absolutely. The reaction wasn’t based on my name or my reputation but 100 percent on what I did that night. From that moment on all the European houses that had already hired me suddenly took me more seriously. It was like the Ritterschlag — how do you say that in English?” The dictionary gives “accolade,” in the sense of the stroke of a ruler’s sword, conferring knighthood.

The Paris Opera is scheduled to have Mr. Kaufmann in January for the title role in Massenet’s “Werther” (role debut, new production). His commitments have precluded premieres at the Met for a while, though he has signed as Siegmund (another role debut) in the new Robert Lepage production of Wagner’s “Ring” beginning in 2010-11. Meanwhile he will be back next April as a late-season replacement in new productions of “Carmen” and “Tosca.”

For now his mind is mostly on Lohengrin. “He has many layers,” Mr. Kaufmann said. “Underneath the radiance there’s bitterness and disappointment. Making him sympathetic isn’t easy. What people tend to see in a hero is the heroic exterior. But what’s interesting is not the shell. It’s the human being within.”»

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