Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, New York
October 5, 2018

Anyone not sated by the agreeable sugar rush of Carnegie Hall’s gala opening on Wednesday were offered a healthy dollop of Viennese schlagobers for dessert last night courtesy of star tenor Jonas Kaufmann and a program of operetta favourites. With the excellent Orchestra of St. Luke’s in the capable hands of Jochen Rieder there was much to enjoy, not least the idiomatically delivered overtures and waltzes that punctuated the recital, but the soufflé was marred by a few questionable ingredients and, too often, the soloist’s determination to croon when most of his audience were longing for him to let rip.

Jonas Kaufmann and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall. Photo © Chris Lee

Thomas Voight’s excellent program notes, extracted from Kaufmann’s 2014 Sony CD of the same name, promised a thoughtful survey of the turbulent period from a heady 1920s Berlin up until the moment when the Nazi Anschluss put paid to the careers of a whole generation of operetta composers, many of whom were forced to flee abroad as Jewish exiles. Comparisons,...