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Christmas 2014

Kaufmann triumphs as Don Carlo at Covent Garden

7 May 2013, London, UK

Jonas Kaufmann as Don Carlo with Anja Harteros as Elizabeth de Valois
Jonas Kaufmann as Don Carlo with Anja Harteros as Elizabeth de Valois(Photo: Catherine Ashmore)

Review by Francis Muzzu

Lucky the audience that attended the opening night of this revival.  Let’s gloss over Nicholas Hytner’s patchy and unattractive production, for this was a musical feast, not least for Antonio Pappano’s vibrant and idiomatic conducting and the strong orchestral and choral work.
 
Jonas Kaufmann’s Carlo started slightly hesitantly but soon gained focus, his tone burnished and rich.  He blended perfectly with Mariusz Kwiecień’s Rodrigo, also elegantly sung and a far warmer personality than we usually see in this role.  Likewise Ferruccio Furlanetto’s Filippo emphasised the character’s humanity and loneliness with a large-scale performance and his cavernous bass remains undimmed, likewise his stage presence.
 
Béatrice Uria-Monzon looked suitably gorgeous as Eboli but her high-lying and tangy mezzo was slightly over-parted in this house.  Perhaps best of all was Anja Harteros, whose elegance of person and voice, impeccable musicality and technique combined with sumptuous tone to create an Elizabeth de Valois that may remain peerless for many.  She has created a potentially legendary assumption with just one London performance, for alas she cancelled all further showings (some announced well in advance, some not).  Let’s hope that this was not an inadvertent farewell to the house, at which apparently she has no further appearances planned.

 

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