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Jonas Kaufmann ends London residency with second cancellation

February 13, 2017 by norman lebrecht

43 comments.


The German tenor has pulled out of tonight’s Richard Strauss concert with bronchitis.

He has not been replaced. The concert is off. Here’s what the Barbican website says:

Jonas deeply regrets that because he has bronchitis this concert is cancelled. In due course we hope to reschedule this concert to a future date.

Ticketholders will receive a full refund to the original payment method by returning their tickets…

Intended programme:

Korngold Schauspiel Overture
Strauss Symphonic Interlude from Intermezzo, Träumerei am Kamin
Strauss
‘Ruhe meine Seele’
‘Freundliche Vision’
‘Befreit’
‘Heimliche Aufforderung’
Elgar In the South
Strauss Four Last Songs

Jonas Kaufmann tenor
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Jochen Rieder
conductor


Comments (43)

  1. Mark says:

    I sincerely hope that it is only Bronchitis and not a recurrence of his recent Vocal Chord injury. Get well soon!

    1. lizbie says:

      He sounded a bit ‘chesty’ on Wednesday, and there is a ghastly bronchitis going round, here in London – I have two friends down with it. BTW it’s vocal ‘cords’ not ‘chords!’

      1. Una says:

        Surprisingly you do get both in vocal technique books, Liz, particularly older ones which Americans keep telling us to call ‘folds!’. Either way I think we know what I meant …

  2. Music Lover says:

    This is the second BBC SO concert cancelled in as many months due to unwell artists.

  3. mark says:

    Of course it is…must have been a Freudian slip.

  4. Ungeheuer says:

    Can’t imagine him tackling Otello ever, even more so now. Sad. Might as well cancel long in advance.

  5. Jaybuyer says:

    “Ruhe meine Seele” He needs a damned good rest, preferably somewhere “In the South”.

  6. Cynical Bystander says:

    Due to sing Chenier in Munich in March with the not so reliable Harteros. Maybe on home terf one or both might make it to the starting blocks but the Ausverkauf audience shouldn’t bet on it.

  7. V.Lind says:

    This guy is seeming to be a very delicate flower. Or maybe a bit like Tiger Woods, who has spent the last couple of weeks withdrawing from things — so keen to get back at it that they come too soon from injuries/illness. It’s about to cost Woods his career; I hope Kaufmann is luckier and more sensible.

    1. Holly Golightly says:

      This is the generation of “the delicate flower”, courtesy of the USA!! It’s an epidemic.

      Get well Jonas. No ‘delicate flower’ could sing Wagner.

  8. Lydia Wahlberg says:

    I am surprised he even made it to the Barbican. What I don’t understand is why all of you responders cares so much.

    1. lizbie says:

      Well, you must care too or you would not be responding. People regard him highly because he is the best there is in certain repertoires, and probably also because he is an unusually nice person.

      1. Catherine says:

        I really like your comments and absolutely agree with your reply to Lydia Wahlberg. I am of course really disappointed as I booked tickets for tonight almost a year ago. But I care more that Jonas gets properly well before he tackles anything else. And I do hope there’s a recording of Vier Letzte Lieder in the pipeline!

  9. Lydia Wahlberg says:

    An unusually nice person doesn’t leave the wife, who put her career on hold, and children for a very plain woman twelve years younger than he. He has acted like a fool.
    I just read an interview with the very beautiful Margarete Joswig and she has resumed her career. What is so sad is that she will be singing Fricka!

    1. lizbie says:

      Oh dear. We can only speak as we find! They have separated amicably, and only those very intimate with them know the background. One certain thing is that he has not left his children, who were with him last time I spoke to him in London & with whom he spent much of his convalescence. As for ‘a very plain woman’ – gosh! Hasn’t he got enough good looks for two, and maybe one person’s ‘plain’ is another one’s ‘lovely?’

    2. Vienna calling says:

      Nice or not, he was a very good singer before he started to sell out, which, admittedly, does make him a bit less likeable. But lots of nice people get divorced, and private lives are, as the name indicates, private.

      1. Pedro says:

        +1. Judging from y the live performances I attended, he was always very good up to the Salzburg Don Carlos. Lately I was a bit disappointed as in the Wesendonck and the Lied von der Erde in Paris and last Wednesday’s concert. I hope he will recover soon! I have tickets for the Paris Chenier on March 26 and hope he will be there.

        1. Ungeheuer says:

          And WhyTF is this man wasting/squandering his resources and time (and ours) by singing the Wesendonck and the Vier Letzte Lieder, repertoire most typically identified with the female voice, sopranos in particular? What next for Jonas? The role of Isolde perhaps? I am sure it would resonate with the LGBT crowd as he would surely “look good” in drag and without facial hair.

  10. Lydia Wahlberg says:

    He is not handsome. From some angles he’s downright homely. He had sold himself and you all have bought it.

    1. Vienna calling says:

      The beauty competition in the opera world is not particularly tough, and you might be better off watching Hollywood movies if glamour is your thing.

    2. lizbie says:

      Gosh. You do have a thing about him. Most people would consider him very handsome indeed, although he does not appeal to me much because I loathe designer stubble. However, the voice and stage ability is something else…

  11. Lydia Wahlberg says:

    Glamour is not my thing. The handsome subject was not brought up by me. I am more concerned with honesty and fidelity in a performer.

    1. Vienna calling says:

      Cannot see anyone else here who brought up handsome. Who would care?

  12. Brian B says:

    Ridiculous cancellation! You mean to tell me there’s not a soprano in London and vicinity not otherwise engaged who doesn’t have those songs at her beck and call? And I do mean soprano. Strauss never intended the last songs to be sung by a tenor anyway.

    1. Ungeheuer says:

      Agree. Why is he squandering his time and resources (and ours) singing the Wesendonck and the Vier letzte Lieder, repertoire most intricately related to the female voice, the soprano voice specifically? He is no match. Could never be. What next for JK? The role of Isolde perhaps? Surely he would “look good” shaved and in drag since looking good is all that matters today.

    2. Jaybuyer says:

      I disagree. This is not a West End show where the ‘star’ is indisposed for a couple of shows and a cover has to stand in. This was part of the Kaufmann Residency. Find me the people who claim to have bought tickets for this concert to hear the Four Last Songs and Elgar’s Overture ‘In the South’ and I will call this an ‘alternative fact’. If the Barbican had offered people their money back or some soprano they had to find at the last minute, ice-cream sales in the interval would surely have been more than disappointing.

    3. lizbie says:

      Obviously, if people wanted to hear Kaufmann, they did not want him replaced by some soprano or other.

  13. Friedrich says:

    Strauss four last songs are not composed for a soprano, but for “high voice and orchestra “

    1. hadrianus says:

      Sorry, but the Litolff and Peters vocal scores clearly indicate “Fünf Gedichte für eine Frauenstimme”.
      I am sure Wagner’s intentions are beyond doubt and that he would have been horrified hearing the songs he dedicated to his mistress (platonic or not) sung by a male voice!
      See also:
      https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wesendonck-Lieder#Ausgaben_.28Auswahl.29
      http://www.wesendonck.websiteportal.de/wesendoncklieder.html

  14. Jackyt says:

    And now we have to decide whether to book the very expensive Otello tickets – with huge mark-up for JK – when they soon go on sale, or wait and risk missing the opportunity to hear him sing this role.

    1. Nik says:

      Have the prices been announced, and is there definitely a mark-up for his performances vs. Kunde’s?
      If so, it’s a very rare thing for the ROH to do, and the only precedent I can think of is Tamerlano where the Domingo ticket holders received a partial refund after he cancelled.

      1. Jackyt says:

        The best stalls tickets are £270. If JK does not sing there will be no reduction.

      2. Jackyt says:

        Sorry, I missed your second question. The price is the same whoever sings – Kunde or Kaufmann. So if no JK – no reduction.

  15. Melisande says:

    And what about the scheduled recital in the Barbican with Jonas Kaufmann and Diana Damrau on the 16th of February. The programme reads: Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch?
    There is no cancellation notice on the Barbican website.

    1. Jeremy Lock says:

      That concert is a year away!

    2. Jaybuyer says:

      Melisande, I think you will find that’s 2018!
      Hope he will be fit by then (although it will be February again in dank, gloomy,coughing, spluttering London….)

  16. Claude Lucbernet-Sivewright says:

    to you all who have give your opinion about J.K. the man is unwell and as probably done to much ( they all do!) and burn out before time!
    The only time that i’have listen to him live was some years back for his recital at the Wigmore Hall and what can I say?……. a bit disappointed(not a lieder singer to my mind) also not quite as good looking as one might think!
    he seems to follow another the singer who as the habit of cancelling (and not always for health issues) but double bookings and that Simon Keenliside! we don’t bother with him anymore! And that’s not taking his talent as a singer away!

  17. Inge says:

    Nobody mentions that J.K. Is a terrific actor! Handsome is matter of taste. We Muenchener call him lovingly ‘ Das Lockenkoepferl’
    Plácido Domingo says ‘Kaufmann ist der beste Tenor der Welt’.
    Let’s all just cherish him!

    1. Ungeheuer says:

      Excuse me but this charlatan Plácido Domingo has ZERO credibility. He can pronounce away all he wants but it means nothing.

      1. Jaybuyer says:

        But he is still ‘singing’ ……and ‘conducting’!

      2. Melidande says:

        You, Ungeheuer/Monster, are so-called ‘safely’ insulting an other person whom you possibly never met nor are acquainted with.
        May I advice contributors to this website to refrain from doing this person the favour of futher attention? There ar already too many trolls in the world.

  18. Lydia Wahlberg says:

    I am asking Ungheuer why he calls Placido Domingo a charlatan and why he has zero credibility.

  19. M2N2K says:

    For the first fifteen years of this century, JK (when healthy, obviously) was definitely the best performer in the repertoire that was truly his.


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