Notes & Reviews:
Hard on the heels of a triumphant Lohengrin, Decca follows up with an equally astonishing debut performance of Jonas Kaufmann: Goethe's love-lorn hero Werther in Massenet's romantic opera. His premiere appearance in the role, in Paris in January 2010, took the French operatic world by storm, his assumption being hailed by Le Monde: "Werther is portrayed by the tenor of the moment, the German Jonas Kaufmann. He brings to the part a sublime timbre (warm, at times "baritonal" and musky), exceptional musicality, a very wide palette of tonal shadings and immaculate diction. Add to that his histrionic gifts and matinee-idol appeal and you've got a cocktail of qualities that rarely all come together at the opera."
He was supported by a superb French cast, including Sophie Koch as Charlotte and Ludovic Tezier as Albert, with the venerable Michel Plasson giving an expansive, lyrical interpretation from the pit. Film director Benoit Jacquot's attractive, straight-forward production, first seen at the Royal Opera House in London, focuses successfully on the various personal dramas of the opera.
Le Monde, Paris
Werther is portrayed by the tenor of the moment, Jonas Kaufmann. He brings to the part a sublime timbre, exceptional musicality, a very wide palette of tonal shadings and immaculate diction.
This is Kaufmann's show. These days, it seems, he can do no wrong... the camera loves him, whether it catches him in silent meditation, in gentle reverie or in full cry, like a raging tiger.
Gramophone Magazine, February 2011
Kaufmann's singing...is rich and often extremely beautiful...[Koch] is a touching and dignified Charlotte...the playing is thoughtful and intense, and every care is taken over detail.
The Telegraph, 2nd December 2011
[on DVD] it comes beautifully to life, with Sophie Koch's Charlotte much more involving in close-up than she was at a distance and Jonas Kaufmann an absolute dream of a Werther. Their scorching Act 3 duet will simply blow your head off.
BBC Music Magazine, May 2014 *****
Soulful eyes, charismatic, a heartfelt voice: Kaufmann makes a perfect Werther, and Koch is a worthy partner in Benoit Jacques's staging. The only blot is the camera's visits backstage.
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Works DetailsMassenet, Jules : Werther
- Performers: Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor); Sophie Koch (Mezzo Soprano); Ludovic Tézier (Baritone)
- Conductor: Michel Plasson
- Ensemble: Paris National Opera Orchestra
- Period Time: Post Romantic
- Form: Opera/Operetta