‘Hottest tenor’ hits Australia

‘Hottest tenor’ hits Australia


norman lebrecht

August 08, 2014

Never knowingly underhyped, the media down under are going doolally over Jonas Kaufmann.

‘Greatest since Pavarotti’?


kaufmann australia


  • sdReader says:

    He is best when working with Helmut Deutsch. There he is truly, indisputably great, and modest and focused and a partner.

  • Halldor says:

    If – in a media world dominated by the likes of Russell Watson and Katherine Jenkins – Jonas Kaufmann is getting hyped to the skies, I say: rejoice! For once, the hype is correct.

  • Scott Belyea says:

    I suppose that in today’s polarized world, it’s inevitable that Kaufmann gets a lot of the “today’s best,” “greatest ever,” “best in the known universe” sort of hype, which ultimately is unfair to him.

    Take the opening excerpt from Pagliacci, and then go to YouTube and try Jon Vickers. There’s much more character and emotion in Vicker’s singing, to my ears. Does Kaufmann have a more beautiful voice? Probably, but it doesn’t matter.

    One problem with over-hype is that it only lasts until the next candidate comes along (“…even better than Kaufmann!!”). We seem to be driven to label “the best,” and it’s most often unnecessary and self-defeating.

    Is Kaufmann a great singer, and one of the best active today? Sure, I can hear that, and it isn’t necessary browbeat me with overhype.

  • Fritz Curzon says:

    Sadly, without the hype,often not enough bums on seats.

  • Marshall says:

    I hate to be in the camp where I’m looking to the past for greatness-but with great voices, the grand tradition, how can you not think that?

    I think Kaufmann has many fine qualities-(am I about to damn with faint praise) but when I hear people say when he is singing Tosca he is the equal of Franco Corelli, and when he’s singing Siegmund, he’s the reincarnation of Jon Vickers, I know they’ve never seen or even listened to either.
    Anyway, who can do both justice in the same week?

    I have “issues” with the voice-qua voice- and the way he’s singing and the mixture of roles makes me wonder about his vocal health down the road. I think the voice is a natural Lohengrin, or Parsifal (which at the recent Met performances was certainly fine, but strangely both vocally and dramatically not exceptional) and why is he not singing Walter? In a world with several leading different types of tenors(as used to be the case)-this is the area he’d be concentrated in. No, I don’t blame him for going for fame and the bucks (do you say pounds?) by heading to the lucrative, and much shorter spinto roles-and they’re attractive performances, but one of the great voices etc….well I haven’t heard it yet

  • M2N2K says:

    In my opinion as of now, he is the best tenor of the current millennium.

    • sdReader says:

      … along with Calleja.

    • PrewarTreasure says:

      My menopausal, opera-loving daughter thinks he’s the best LOOKING tenor of the current millennium, meaning that in her eyes he’s the George Clooney of the operatic world.

      I must admit Jonas sings a pretty convincing Lohengrin!

  • Charles says:

    Hope you’re not comparing him to the Pavarotti who decided to spare himself the boring duties of singing at the Scala premiere…

  • M2N2K says:

    That’s not funny, SDR, but it may be instructive: if Calleja is the best of the rest (which i don’t think he is) then the superiority of Kaufmann is even more clearly pronounced than i thought. Listening to the Maltese singer makes one appreciate once again why his German colleague is truly the finest tenor of this millennium. With the possible exception of this SuperTrio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmffgIqlAYA .

    • sdReader says:

      They are really not competitors. Calleja’s voice is considerably brighter. His Italian sparkles. He is at his best in roles like the Duca. He is in fact much closer to Pavarotti in his sound than JK, who is not comparable to Pavarotti at all, despite the hype. Calleja will never be singing Lohengrin but will eventually deliver a better Otello than Kaufmann. But I don’t like Calleja’s increasing fickleness.

  • M2N2K says:

    It is true that they “are really not competitors”, for several reasons: Calleja’s voice is not only “considerably brighter” but also considerably plainer and commoner; his voice type is certainly closer to Pavarotti but not his voice quality which is far below. If an when he delivers “a better Otello than Kaufmann” we might talk about it, but so far there is no indication of that ever happening because there is not a single role in which JC is as good as, let alone better than, JK. The former’s lower half of the tessitura is weak and bland, while the latter’s voice not only projects more evenly but is also richer and has much wider variety of colors throughout almost its entire range. Additionally, JK is a far more refined musician with considerably more individuality and musical intelligence. No, it’s not even close.