Those who doubted whether Jonas Kaufmann truly had the goods for Otello when he made his debut in 2017 at the Royal Opera House will find much to appreciate here. The recording studio is mercifully more congenial to the tenor’s moderate-sized voice, which means he’s able to focus more on characterisation rather than just pumping out the notes. Recorded last summer in Rome with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Antonio Pappano, it’s very much worth a listen.

Kaufmann is a vital, virile Otello, and many aspects of his portrayal are terrific. What his voice lacks in power, he makes up for in dramatic intensity, and you come to understand the character’s deep-seated neuroses well. The burnished, trumpet-like sound he brings to certain phrases is thrilling, and he manages to genuinely send a shiver up the spine when he begins to suspect that Desdemona has been unfaithful to him. As on stage, his portrayal emphasises Otello’s nobility, making his fall from grace all the more violent. Most special of all is the way he registers Iago’s deception...

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