Magazine article Gramophone

Jonas Kaufmann Moves to Sony, While Decca Gains a Soprano from South Africa

Magazine article Gramophone

Jonas Kaufmann Moves to Sony, While Decca Gains a Soprano from South Africa

Article excerpt

Label hopping has been on the agenda for several high profile artists in recent months, with three major signings in June alone. The big winner to emerge from the shuffle is Sony Classical, which has managed to poach Jonas Kaufmann from Decca Classics--his home since 2008--with an exclusive long-term recording agreement. Barely taking time to shift gear, the German tenor will release his debut album for Sony in September, which follows 'Wagner', his most recent release for Decca, in February this year. 'The Verdi Album' for Sony includes 13 highlights of the composer's operatic repertoire, 11 of which are firsts for the singer. Featured are tenor arias and scenes from Macbeth, Luisa Miller, Laforza del destino, Un ballo in maschera, Otello, Aida, II trovatore, I masnadieri and Simon Boccanegra.

Also jumping aboard the Sony ship is flamboyant American organist Cameron Carpenter, who has previously released two albums for Telarc. The first in a promised string of albums for Sony Classical will be released in 2014, recorded on Carpenter's new International Touring Organ--an instrument that combines the characteristics of both classical cathedral and cinema organs. The disc will feature many of Carpenter's own transcriptions--ranging from the American Songbook to the world premiere of his Music for an Imaginary Film.

Finally, despite the loss of Kaufmann, Decca Classics has managed a coup of its own by signing Pumeza Matshikiza. The soprano, who grew up in the violent townships of Cape Town during South Africa's apartheid regime, has not only a fascinating story to recommend her, but also a voice 'of haunting beauty that goes straight to the heart', according to Decca Classics managing director Paul Moseley. Her debut album will feature traditional African songs in her native Xhosa language alongside popular arias by Mozart and Puccini. She will also record a specially commissioned song by composer Paul Mealor setting the poem 'Invictus'--which was often recited by former South African president Nelson Mandela to his fellow inmates during his 27-year incarceration.

There are competitions and then there are competitions--those that carry real acclaim, and the chance of launching the winner to dizzying heights of success. Two such events took place during June--the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Texas, held every four years, and the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, held biennially and celebrating its 30th anniversary. …

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