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Letting his voice speak

Jonas Kaufmann: My Italy

Jonas Kaufmann: My Italy

Jonas Kaufmann: My Italy
4 stars
Director: Andy Sommers
Stars: Jonas Kaufmann
Duration: 115 mins
Class: U
KRS Releasing Ltd

Jonas Kaufmann: My Italy is a concert film/documentary featuring German tenor Josef Kaufmann in two concerts. The first is at the Teatro Carignano in Torino, with the participation of the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI conducted by Jochen Rieder. This is followed by excerpts from the A night with Puccini concert at Milan’s La Scala with the La Scala Philharmonic, also under the baton of Rieder.

Kaufmann was born in Munich in 1969 and studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Munich. He launched his career at Staatstheater Saarbrücken in 1994 and, soon after, he was performing at the Stuttgart Opera and Hamburg State Opera in Germany as well as making his international debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opéra National de Paris, and La Scala in Milan.

Kaufmann has slowly but surely established himself as one of the most accomplished tenors of his generation. He has performed some of opera’s most cele­brated roles, including that of Don José in Bizet’s Carmen and Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca, both at Covent Garden; and Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera.

The first concert features a number of Italian music standards, offering Kaufmann the opportunity to flaunt his ability to project various emotions

Kaufmann has also released numerous recordings. His debut, Romantic Arias, was released in January 2008 and has received many awards and accolades throughout his career so far. In January 2010 he assumed the title role in Massenet’s Werther at the Opéra Bastille; the performance was recorded and released on DVD in November 2010.

Apart from showcasing the te­nor’s deep, mellifluous and versatile vocal talents, My Italy also underscores his affinity with anything Italian – the language, culture, way of life and, of course, the music. Kaufmann himself says: “Italian music has the power to produce beautiful immortal melodies; bright and full of warmth – those you can’t get out of your head all day”.

So much so, the first concert features a number of Italian music standards, offering Kaufmann the opportunity to flaunt his ability to project various emotions with – among many others – a light and frothy take of Domenico Modugno’s evergreen Volare. He shows a depth of feeling with Lucio Dalla’s plaintive Caruso; unabashed romance in Enrico de Curtis’ Ti Voglio Tanto Bene; and the classic Parla Più Piano from composer Nino Rota’s soundtrack to The Godfather.

Puccini lovers will revel in the excerpts from the La Scala concert dedicated to the composer. With timeless arias such as Nessun Dorma (from Turandot) or Lucevan le Stelle (from Tosca) and more, the film offers music lovers a treat.

The musical excerpts are interspersed with scenes of Kaufmann driving around some of Italy’s scenic spots in a sexy, open-top red car.

Basking in the warm glow of the Italian sunshine and swathes of nostalgia, he recounts his relationship with the country from a very young age. He and his family visited Italy many, many times when he was a child.

He emphasises his love for all things Italian, as he paddles in the water at the beach, and walks through the picturesque streets of Turin and Milan, eating some delicious food and sipping the perfect espresso.

They prove to be appealing scenes. Italy is, of course, one of the most picturesque countries in the world, and the film offers the viewer the opportunity to enjoy some of our neighbour’s myriad scenic spots in all their glory on the big screen.

And although Kaufmann is undoubtedly a charming host, if you are a fan and hoping for some insight into his life and career, it doesn’t happen. He is simply happy to show you around in between arias… where he lets his voice speak for itself.

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