Just in: Top baritone cancels season due to bone marrow disease

Just in: Top baritone cancels season due to bone marrow disease


norman lebrecht

July 26, 2015

We are very sorry to learn that the outstanding German baritone Johannes Martin Kränzle has cancelled his 2015 season after being diagnosed with bone marrow disease. He is awaiting a stem-cell transplant.

Johannes, 52, a member of the of the Frankfurt Opera since 1998, has sung major roles at La Scala, Munich, Berlin, Glyndebourne and San Francisco.

We publish his announcement below and urge all readers to register as possible bone marrow donors.

Johannes Martin Kränzle


Dear friends,

I have been diagnosed with a bone marrow disease: MDS (Myelodysplasia).

The only chance of cure is a stem cell transplantation. This procedure will be demanding all my strength and patience, and I will have to give time to overcoming this disease.

Therefore I will take a rest for the season 2015/16.

I would like to encourage you to register as a donor at the National Bone Marrow Donor Program. To be a potential donor means only to give a saliva sample, and in case of a match, usually to donate blood.


Liebe Freunde,
ganz überraschend ist bei mir MDS , eine akute Knochenmarkerkrankung, diagnostiziert worden. (Myelodysplasisches Syndrom)
( www.mds-patienten-ig.org/myelodysplastische-syndrome )

Die einzige Heilungschance ist eine Stammzelltransplantation. Dieser Eingriff wird meine ganze Kraft und Geduld fordern, und ich werde der Überwindung dieser Krankheit Zeit und Raum geben.

Die Spielzeit 2015/16 werde ich deswegen pausieren müssen.

Sehr ermutigen möchte ich alle, sich als Spender bei der Knochenmarkspenderdatei registieren zu lassen. Spender sein bedeutet, erst eine Speichelprobe abzugeben und im Fall, dann ein Leben retten zu können, meist eine intensive Blutspende.



  • Tommo says:

    As someone who has MDS but not being offered a transplant due to my age (77) I urge as many as possible to join the stem cell donor scheme because it is the only cure for this debilitating disease and so many young people have it. Best of luck to Mr Kranzle for a successful match and complete cure.

  • Respect says:

    Best wishes and prayers for Martin, he’s a splended singer and lovely colleague.

  • William Safford says:

    I’ve been registered for decades. I encourage others to do so as well.

  • brenda says:

    I am so sorry to hear this. I am ineligible to donate, but I hope he finds a match rapidly.

  • PDQ.BACH says:

    I am shaken to learn of Martin’s plight.
    Let us hope donors are found in due time.
    The therapy is harrowing, and requires great courage to undertake.
    But Martin has not just his art to live for; he is also the father of two sons.

    I was first impressed by Martin when he was a young student in Augsburg, more than three decades ago. (To us, he was always Martin; of ‘Johannes’, I was apprised only later, reading his CV at the agency I was working for.) In my memory, he is still that dapper, tall, slightly shy, highly focused young man. From then on, I followed his career with great interest, albeit mostly from afar. My respect for an artist who, despite his great gifts, has always shunned the path of facility: noblesse oblige.