Arias from Die Zauberflöte, Fierrabras, Alfonso und Estrella,
Fidelio, Lohengrin, Die Walküre, and Parsifal
SCHUBERT: Die Schöne Müllerin
Arias from Mefistofele, Tosca, L'elisir d'amore, Otello,
Porgy and Bess, Die Dreigroschenoper, Ruddigore, Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables,
La gioconda, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Fidelio, Faust, and Don Giovanni
Music from Turandot, Cavalleria Rusticana, Tosca, Manon
Lescaut, L'arlesiana, I Pagliacci, La Bohème, and La traviata
Tenor Jonas Kaufmann (b. 1969) continues to amaze. About two years ago, this site mentioned his superb Decca disk of arias (REVIEW). On both of these new releases on the same label the German tenor is in top form. Kaufmann's training with Hans Hotter is evident from his extraordinary interpretation of the Schubert song cycle in which he is accompanied by his long-time associate, Helmut Deutsch. Kaufmann obviously has a particular interest in Schubert; already available is a DVD of a Zurich production of the "opera" Fierrabras in which he sings the title role (REVIEW). The collection of arias shows his affinity for major Wagnerian roles which, if he is wise, he will avoid for some years so he does not impair his remarkable sound in Italian and French roles. The title role in Lohengrin, which Kaufmann already has performed, is exquisitely sung. Both of these issues are essential for the vocal collector.
Bryn Terfel's new CD called "Bad Boys" samples a wide range of bass-baritone roles, mostly of unsavory characters. All are sung to perfection by this remarkable singer who wisely has limited his career, to the dismay of impresarios, so he can spend much time with his family. These operatic villains are given the royal treatment by the powerful Terfel, and one longs for complete recordings of these operas (there is a DVD of Terfel as Scarpia in a contemporary production of Tosca filmed in Holland — see REVIEW). And don't miss Terfel's recent CD of songs of the British Isles (REVIEW).
Canadian tenor Marc Hervieux, now in his early forties, is a celebrity in his own country and obviously has a wide following. This is his first solo aria disc and already as of this writing it is a best-seller in Canada. Their loyalty is commendable, but misguided. CD notes state he Hervieux has been "a principal artist at New York's Metropolitan opera since 2006," although a search of the Met Archives does not reveal his name. Notes also say he "has performed opposite such opera greats as Renée Fleming, Bryn Terfel...and Anna Netrebko," suggesting he sang leading roles with these luminaries, which I doubt based on what is heard on this disc. Hervieux's singing of these familiar arias shows an untrained voice pushed to the limit. A handsome appearance is surely a plus for an operatic career, but one also needs a quality voice. Néset-Séguin's accompaniments give the tenor splendid support. It seems odd there is so little music on this disc; even with the addition of Puccini's orchestral work Preludio sinfonico (9:32) playing time is but 53:05. Let us hope Hervieux will develop his voice to its highest potential so that it will match the enthusiasm of his publicists.
R.E.B. (April 2010)