Calculated to electrify
Built to specifications set down by Joseph Goebbels for the 1936 Olympic Games as a showcase of triumphant Nazism, this open-air stage was inspired by the ancient theatre of Epidaurus, and had almost perfect acoustics.
With the theatre renamed "Waldbühne" (forest stage) and the ghosts of the past exorcised, this gigantic space was used in the 1960s for boxing matches and rock concerts, including the 1965 Rolling Stones show which ended in a veritable riot. There was nothing like that on the July evening in 2018 when Jonas Kaufmann gave his recital, although a very large crowd had come to hear their national tenor deliver a 100% Italian repertoire. It was chilly that night in Berlin, with rainclouds threatening, but the 20,000 spectators gave long ovations for Jonas Kaufmann and the Berlin Radio Orchestra, conducted by Jochen Rieder, in this concert which was also graced by the Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili.
The programme was calculated to electrify the crowd, and included a recital of the immortal Nessun dorma (Turandot by Puccini) which set off great cries from an audience which Kaufmann had to repay with seven encores. Popular songs, (Volare, Parlami d’amore Mariù) and film music (Le Parrain) rounded off a generous programme covering ground that our most illustrious tenor had first broken with his album "Dolce Vita", released in 2016. A solar voice, approaching a baritone on the lower notes and shining at the top of the scale, Jonas Kaufmann's rude vocal health makes him one of the most thrilling tenors of the early 21st century
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