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Jonas Kaufmann announces his Sony debut

The great tenor fell out with the ancien regime at Universal and could not be wooed back by the new guys. He’s on Sony from here on. Details below.


A birthday present for Verdi: Jonas Kaufmann’s new album


It was with Verdi that Jonas Kaufmann made his international breakthrough in 2006 when he sang Alfredo Germont in La traviata at the Met.   For Jonas Kaufmann the Verdi bicentenary in 2013 is inevitably dominated by performances of works by the great Italian opera composer, with three productions of Don Carlo (in London, Milan and Salzburg), two role débuts in Il trovatore and La forza del destino and his first album devoted to Verdi.


Sony Classical is extremely pleased to welcome the internationally acclaimed tenor to the label with his Sony debut recording The Verdi Album.  


Recorded in Auditorium Niccolò Paganini in Parma with Pier Giorgio Morandi conducting the Orchestra dell’Opera di Parma, this new CD features thirteen highlights, of which eleven are firsts for Kaufmann: on stage he has so far sung only the tenor favourite ‘La donna è mobile’ from Rigoletto and the duet with the Marquis de Posa fromDon Carlo.

He has learnt all the other titles specially for this CD: ‘Celeste Aida’ from Aida and ‘Di quella pira’ from Il trovatore, the famous tenor arias fromMacbethLuisa Miller and La forza del destino, the dramatic highlights from I masnadieri and Simon Boccanegra and two arias each from Un ballo in maschera and Otello.  This range not only reflects the exceptional development in Verdi’s operatic output but also reveals Jonas Kaufmann’s vocal flexibility, which extends from the lyrical sweetness of ‘Quando le sere al placido’ in Luisa Miller to Otello’s emotional outburst in ‘Dio mi potevi’. Few singers have ever completed this journey.


For Jonas Kaufmann, Giuseppe Verdi is: “a man of the people: his music is so powerful that it reaches people and moves them even outside the world of opera. Quite simply, Verdi is musically

synonymous with Italy.  Everyone knows his melodies and can sing them.  Then there is Verdi the great dramatist, the man who set plays by Shakespeare and Schiller and who was seventy-four

when he wrote a piece that sounds more modern and bold than anything he had written until then: Otello.  When I recorded these two scenes for my Verdi album, I was so drawn into the sway of the

music that I wish I could have sung the whole part on stage straightaway, but I shall have to be patient, because it will be a couple of years before I sing my first Otello in the theatre.”


After innumerable international successes in Italian, German and French operas, Jonas Kaufmann is now universally acclaimed as the ‘King of Tenors’. He sings at all the major international opera houses from the Met and La Scala to the Vienna State Opera, the Paris Opéra and London’s Royal Opera House. He also appears annually at the Salzburg Festival and reaches an audience of millions through his opera broadcasts in the cinema and on television.  He is also in international demand as a concert artist and lieder recitalist. His regular accompanist is Helmut Deutsch, with whom he has worked ever since he was a student in Munich.  In 2011 he won the Opera News Award in New York and was appointed a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.


GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813–1901)



1 “La donna è mobile” (Duca)


2 “Se quel guerrier io fossi! … Celeste Aida” (Radamès)

Un ballo in maschera

3 “Di’ tu se fedele” (Riccardo)

4 “Forse la soglia attinse … Ma se m’è forza perderti” (Riccardo)

Il trovatore

5: “Ah! sì, ben mio … Di quella pira” (Manrico)

with Giovanni Gregnanin Ruiz · Erika Grimaldi Leonora

Luisa Miller

6 “Oh! fede negar potessi … Quando le sere al placido” (Rodolfo)

Simon Boccanegra

7 “O inferno! Amelia qui! … Sento avvampar nell’anima … Cielo pietoso, rendila” (Gabriele)


Don Carlo

8 “È lui! desso, l’Infante! … Dio, che nell’alma infondere” (Don Carlo)

with Franco Vassallo Rodrigo · Daniele Cusari un frate

La forza del destino

9 “La vita è inferno all’infelice … O tu, che in seno agli angeli” (Alvaro)

I masnadieri

10 “Destatevi, o pietre! … Giuri ognun questo canuto” (Carlo)


11 “Dio! mi potevi scagliar” (Otello)

12“Niun mi tema” (Otello)

with Franco Vassallo Jago



13 “O figli, o figli miei! … Ah, la paterna mano” (Macduff)






Coro del Teatro Municipale di Piacenza

Orchestra dell’Opera di Parma



UK Release Date:  Sep 2013



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  1. I’m not surprised that he fell out with the Universal bunch. Several artists and one manager have told me that they are a rather dubious group, with many of their senior classical management staff seriously lacking in all needed human and musical skills. One artist manager told me that negotiating with them, Universal Classics, was like dealing with a used car salesman, trying to convince you and twist your arm and all along it being totally obvious what their slimy underhanded intentions were. How did a once great company end up like this?

    • Jeep Gerhard says:

      So very sad about “Universal Classics”, formerly the great international labels Deutsche Grammophon and Decca. My spies in London affirm all the above negatives (“many of their senior classical management staff seriously lacking in all needed human and musical skills..”), and I especially treasure the used-car-salesman tag. I worked at DGG for many years, back when stars were stars (no, I am not 100 years old, not even CLOSE!).
      Sic transit gloria.

  2. In 2013 he won also best male singer award at the International Opera Awards in London.

  3. Michael B. says:

    Really, does it matter anymore which so-called “major” label these artists are signed to? Sony does not even bother to release most of its releases in the United States and there is absolutely no publicity given to any artists unless, like Yo-Yo Ma or Joshua Bell, they are doing crossover, or, in the case of Mr. Bell, dumbed-down salon trifles. The majors, to the extent they even still exist, are top-heavy with bureaucracy and cannot even get releases out. Compare the output of conductors such as JoAnn Falletta or Marin Alsop on Naxos with the output of top-ranked conductors on, for example, Deutsche Grammophon. That label has conductors with reputations in modern music such as Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Myun-Whun Chung, and Oliver Knussen, and cannot bother to even keep its “20/21″ series going. Knussen allegedly recorded Hans Werner Henze’s Eighth Symphony and “Heliogabalus Imperator” something like eight years ago and the recordings were never released. More and more artists with integrity are migrating to labels other than the majors. Your obsessive focus on the majors distorts the real picture of the classical recording industry today.

  4. I agree with Michael B. The majors and in particular Universal have made themselves completely irrelevant to the classical music lover. I also agree that this site pays too much attention to the majors. This site also gives promotion to the Sinfini website, a site that is run by Universal and a site for which Mr. Lebrecht regularly contributes. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. How can you claim impartiality when you also receive a paycheck from a major recording company, as irrelevant as they have become in the classical buyers world.

  5. Sarah Johnson says:

    Who cares…so long as he keeps his luxuriant curls and wolfish smile…

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