Jonas Kaufmann Nessun Dorma - The Puccini Album on 2LP
After years of singing Giacomo Puccini’s heroes on stage to vast critical and audience acclaim, Jonas Kaufmann finally records an album entirely devoted to the world’s most-loved opera composer. His new album Nessun Dorma - The Puccini Album includes a selection of the composer’s stupendous tenor arias drawn from Puccini’s greatest operas, including Turandot, Manon Lescaut, Tosca, La Bohème, Madama Butterfly and La fanciulla del West, amongst others.
Spanning the breadth of Puccini’s output from the early operas Le Villi and Edgar, the album culminates in the mighty aria ‘Nessun Dorma’ from his final opera Turandot. Jonas Kaufmann is joined on this album by Maestro Antonio Pappano, the Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and soprano Kristīne Opolais.
Puccini’s music made a deep impression on Kaufmann from an early age, as it has done on many people. But few people are aware of the unparalleled popularity the composer enjoyed in his own lifetime and how this fame came about. As Jonas explains, “Nowadays every-one knows ‘Nessun Dorma’ – not least as a result of the legendary first concert given by The Three Tenors on the eve of the FIFA World Cup final in Rome in 1990. But during the last twenty years of his life Puccini was already as famous as Madonna is today. His arias were such popular hits that everyone knew them – at the beginning of the 20th century he was the composer who captured the hearts of each and every one of his listeners.”
A century ago the arias from Puccini’s operas were whistled in the streets. Millions of listeners from every walk of life were moved to tears by La Bohème and Madama Butterfly. His music had mass appeal and was accessible to and loved by all. But Puccini had a gift for reaching out to all the men and women of the modern world. His operas no longer contain heroes of a Verdian stamp, which is what makes his characters so fascinating, precisely because they combine such apparently contradictory qualities.
Puccini’s music became even more popular than Verdi’s thanks to Enrico Caruso and the invention of the gramophone record. It was the legendary Italian tenor who turned the record into a medium of mass communication. Everyone who owned a gramophone knew who Caruso was, and everyone who listened to Caruso also listened to Puccini. By the standards of his time, Puccini earned as much as Hollywood stars today and he lived the high life.
Jonas regards it as a stroke of luck that he was able to record his Puccini album in Rome. “First, I love the city. Second, it is here that the wonderful Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia performs. Third, the orchestra’s principal conductor is Antonio Pappano, to whom I owe many hours of happiness on the operatic stage. I was also extremely lucky that Kristīne Opolais, my partner in two stage productions of Manon Lescaut, was able to record a number of scenes with me.”
“No aria is as loved today as ‘Nessun Dorma’,” Kaufmann adds. “The legendary first concert of The Three Tenors took place only a few days before my twenty-first birthday, and I really envied Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and José Carreras for this hit of theirs. For a long time I didn’t dare sing ‘Nessun Dorma’ myself, since I was so in awe of the aria’s magic and its incredible appeal. Even today, whenever I hear and sing this aria, I still get goose-bumps.”
Jonas Kaufmann Nessun Dorma - The Puccini Album Track Listing:
1. Manon Lescaut, Atto I: "Donna non vidi mai"
2. Manon Lescaut, Atto II: "Oh, sarò la più bella!... Tu, tu, amore? Tu?"
3. Manon Lescaut, Atto II: "Ah! Manon mi tradisce"
4. Manon Lescaut, Atto III:"Presto! In fila!... Non v'avvicinate! No, pazzo son!"
5. Le Villi, Atto II: "Ei giunge!... Torna ai felici dì"
6. Edgar, Atto II: "Orgia, chimera dall'occhio vitreo"
7. La Bohème Atto I: "O soave fanciulla"
1. Tosca, Atto I: "Recondita armonia"
2. Madama Butterfly, Atto III: "Addio, fiorito asil"
3. La Fanciulla del West, Atto II: "Una parola sola!... Or son sei mesi"
4. La Fanciulla del West, Atto III: "Risparmiate lo scherno... Ch'ella mi creda libero"
5. La Rondine, Atto I: "Parigi! È la città dei desideri"
6. Il Tabarro: "Hai ben ragione"
7. Gianni Schicchi: "Avete torto!... Firenze e come un albero fiorito"
8. Turandot, Atto I: "Non piangere, Liù!"
9. Turandot, Atto III: "Nessun dorma"