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Sunday and Kaufmann, duel of voices between two centuries

The Royal Theatre dismisses the season with both tenors in consecutive days

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Sunday and Kaufmann, duel of voices between two centuries

In just 24 hours, two opera legends will rise to stage of Teatro Real. Jonas Kaufmann (Munich, 1969) will do it first this Wednesday with a recital dedicated to French repertoire and Wagner. Plácido Domingo (Madrid, 1941) will appear a day later, on Thursday, to offer toger with magnificent Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho a version in concert of Thaïs, opera of Massenet.

The parallels of this coincidence do not go unnoticed. It is a duel worthy of a match. With ir styles, ir similarities, ir strategies, ir common repertoires and at same time disparate. An event fruit of chance and cancellations — in case of Kaufmann — that has wanted to lead to a milestone as a gift this end of season.

Domingo dominated twentieth century between Eclecticism and his obsession with breaking down walls that linked lyric with great dramatic essence of Verdi and Wagnerian, without giving up Baroque or Russians, along with constant winks to great public. Kaufmann reigns in XXI within its increasingly open, but much smaller spectrum. From its beginnings Mozart to bottom of French repertoire, it conjugates Italian verismo, without leaving to be very focused on great Verdi, with last roles with Wagner.

They are two tenors of a deep, dramatic and record holder character. The Spaniard has beaten all records. It carries with it backpack of a precarious beginnings. Those who made him take leap of zarzuela, inherited from his parents singers — who has never turned his back — to world of opera. The German, son of a time where he dominates specialization, refines shot. The two years before this season he was billed. The actual programming has served as a rmometer. But after a couple of cancellations, fruit of his bad state and ups and downs in his voice by an excess of compromises, arrives at a great moment. Those who could enjoy it in Andrea Chénier (Umberto Giordano) with which it triumphed last March at Liceu, y know it.

No one can emulate Sunday in quantity. Those who have tried have been thrown into a ditch, exhausted and chastened. It is a Titan shatters marks, with more than 3,600 representations behind back. Anor thing is in quality. The time of first — which has been king of many strings in second half of twentieth century — has nothing to do with this present. Domingo dominated with Kraus, Pavarotti, Carreras and some or throne of an art that lived last golden age of diva behavior in hands of singers.

Today, Kaufmann shares it with three more lyrical figures from which he differs in anor line as king of dramatic sphere. His peers at top are Belcantistas, quite orthodox, who give idea of panorama in voices of current opera. A world now half dominated between Latinos and Eastern Europeans. On one hand, re are Peruvian Juan Diego Flórez and Mexican Javier Camarena. On or, a polisher: Piotr Beczala, who will inaugurate next season in Madrid with Faust, by Gounod.

A role binds Domingo and Kaufmann in an umbilical way: Ollo Verdi. It's totem of records for Spanish. It has been a goal to conquer se last two seasons for German. The character of Shakespeare is frontier where y both cross best of mselves. Domingo dominated his time with him in more than 250 representations. He debuted very young, with only 35 years. The impression it caused made many experts doubt ir date of birth. Kaufmann has been more cautious and has waited at 48 years. But those who attended his debut, in June 2017, in London's Covent Garden realized who has occupied throne of Madrid in this new era.

The French opera and Wagner are two or sources to compare in both races. The Kaufmann recital focuses its first part on first repertoire with works by Saint-Saëns, Bizet, Gounod and Massenet himself, among ors. No Thaïs, like Sunday, but it's same style. The Spaniard faces role of Athanaël, one of scores for baritone that is giving pleasure of singing in this final phase of his career, with return to natural rope of his voice.

In case of Wagner it touches to stop. To be sure, Plácido will be attentive on Wednesday when Kaufmann entone Ein Schwert Verhiess Mir der Vater, aria of Valkyrie. In just one week he runs that same opera in Bayreuth. It will be his debut in Pit in festival dedicated to composer and 18 years after having sung for last time on same stage.

In one day, two giants in Madrid. Two examples of contemporary diva behavior and excellence on tables. If deepest sense of opera gives it mystery of voice, what will happen in se two days of closing in Real is a good opportunity to compare eras, validity, similarities, richnesses and personalities. The past, present and future of opera incarnated at same time, with its purity, its essence and its unusual spectacle, in throat of se two portents.

Debut for German, habit for Spanish

Jonas Kaufmann makes his debut in Teatro Real... we crossed our fingers. I hope nothing spoils appointment this Wednesday after having cancelled twice his first performance in Madrid as a great figure. The 2016 was year of suspensions. He was going to show up on January 10th but he fell ill. He postponed it for 11 months and so on. Now play. It will. But truth is that Kaufmann well deserves in Madrid his condition of desired. I wish setting for some title in a production. Let's see if someone happens to sing Don Carlo, for example. For that of seeing him in a Spanish Verdi and looking from East Square to El Escorial, where opera takes place.

Placid Sunday, however, is habit. Since reopening of Real in 1997 has not missed his appointment almost every season. It began with divine words, by master Anton Garcia Abril. In ater of city that saw him born 77 years ago he has done everything: from Valkyrie and Parsifal, Luisa Fernanda, Lady of Spades (in Russian!) to Simon Bocanegra and MacBeth. When he started taking stage measures in late nineties, journalists, with bad calculations, used to ask him about withdrawal. It is clear that this moment, of perfect biological logic for anyone, in it, is not contemplated.

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