Jonas Kaufmann at Last Night of the Proms. So how was it for you?

Jonas Kaufmann at Last Night of the Proms. So how was it for you?


norman lebrecht

September 13, 2015

The BBC have uploaded two clips of Kaufmann at the Proms but not (yet) the slightly awkward Rule Britannia.

Here’s what there is:


jonas bbc

UPDATE: Here’s Rule, Britannia. Definitely awkward.


  • PrewarTreasure says:

    The ‘slightly awkward’ Rule Britannia?

    I must have missed that, Norman.

    Can you explain?

  • Olassus says:

    Well, no goosebumps, but I wouldn’t call it “awkward” — the Rule Britannia, which is now on YouTube at least — and he certainly gave notes their full value.

    The Bayern flag was a nice touch!

  • Urania says:

    Very German. A Bariton pretending to be a tenor…Bernd Weikl had better high notes. He does what he wants to do…not what his potential could do. Orchestera a bit lame as well.

  • Ray Richardson says:

    He was fine, but some of the other stuff! Classical music can be popularised, but there’s really no need to bring in all that Sound of Music crap. And “I bought me a cat” was embarassing beyond belief. Ok it wasnt in the Hall, but why have that tap dancing at Belfast? Do it all night if you want to at a tap dancing event, but why in a classical music festival? It’s like cricket enthusiasts saying there’s no way we’ll get bigger crowds to watch this so lets host a football match!

    The whole thing needs a shake-up. Why on earth was Marin Alsop brought back after only two years (or at all!) ? A conductor who is a natural at repartee is essential. What a gem Sir Andrew was at this. I look forward to Antonio Pappano being invited!

    • Alexander Hall says:

      The “Sound of Music crap” is all part of the deliberate dumbing-down that we have been witnessing in the past few years – a topic aired in these columns earlier this year. William Glock must be rotating in his grave or whirling in his urn at such developments, all for fear that the Proms might be regarded as too elitist and not sufficiently “inclusive”. You could see why Marin Alsop was there: everything was directed towards her tub-thumping speech in praise of more women, yes more women, and yes, even more women. There might be an argument for using classical music to make political statements, but Ms Alsop should remember that the Last Night is intended to have a party atmosphere rather than be a vehicle for any barnstorming political and social manifesto.

  • Wurtfangler says:

    What is clear in the programming and in the coverage by the BBC is that the music itself takes a very poor second place to ‘presentation’ these days. It seems to be far more important to be able to ‘say’ something about the music/concert/performers these days than it is for the music to speak for itself.

    As has already been said, Alsop is a reliable time-beater, but nothing more. The Proms really should be about the VERY VERY best in the world’s classical music (Bychkov with the Vienna Phil bring one of the few highlights this year), but this is the era of frantically chasing the soundbite: ‘we’ve got a woman conducting the Last Night of the Proms this year’, ‘look at us doing Sound of Music – we are not elitist’, ‘we’ve got a Radio 1 Prom – aren’t we cool’.

    Unfortunately it is clear that anyone who regards quality of execution or integrity above facile presentation is shouting into the wind, especially when even BBC Radio 3 presenters regard it is fair game to insult anyone who holds a different view to the current ‘orthodoxy’ (

    Perhaps, as with a lot of things, it will come full circle and in a few years we can enjoy performances at the Proms without disco lights on the choir wall, programmes and performers that offer something different, and a BBC that doesn’t believe it should pander to fashion and treat its ‘customers’ as having an IQ barely in double figures.

    One can but hope.

  • Werther says:

    Oh well. It sounded like he was there to promote the launching of his Puccini cd ^^; he looked like he was having great fun. Perhaps, Pappano would have conducted if he wasn’t on tour with the ROH in Japan?

    • Derek Castle says:

      A good week’s work for JK (whose voice I generally like): a charming spot on the Breakfast sofa flogging his Puccini cd, called “Nessun Dorma” (I ask you!), a word with Sean Rafferty on In Tune in the afternoon, free outfits from D&G (and perhaps a little earner) in exchange for acting as a mannequin and getting them free publicity on this website and finally being able to advertise not one, but two cds (the previous one had popular songs from German/Austrian light music, thus the Tauber number “Dein ist mein ganzes Herz”).
      But if he ends his career as the best Siegfried of the century, I’ll forgive him everything, knickers and all.

      • cynthia chase says:

        Yes, one squirmed, while smiling. I want him to be back in Munich, and have a fantasy of him singing to the arriving refugees.

  • Milka says:

    he sang passably well , full throttle for the donkeys , as little nuance as is possible so as not to upset the gallery with the art of singing – a good time was had by all -Has little to do with music as much as celebrity using music as a stalking horse . Videos are great for dental office waiting room.

  • Ppellay says:

    Gripe, gripe, gripe. Harrumph, harrumph, harrumph. Grumble, grumble, grumble. Business as usual here, I see. 🙂

  • Geoff says:

    Wonderful to see that grand old man of the violin apparently enjoying good health and great company.

  • elsie young says:

    I thought the whole show was wonderful, a little of something for everybody. What a lot of fault finding people there are in this world, perhaps they could do better!!!!

  • Will Duffay says:

    The Last Night is a waste of space these days, though Kaufmann was truly wonderful. The worst bits, apart from the silly Sound of Music chunks, were Katie Derham, the non-Classical junk at the regional concerts, and the truly embarrassing filler where we were invited to remember the ‘wonderful moments’ from the season, most of which were of light music, with a few notes of Tchaik thrown in.

    But instead of blaming the BBC why don’t we all stick up for it and this time of great difficult. It’s caught between chasing ratings – to justify its existence – and chasing quality – to justify its existence. But the right-wing corporate forces ranged against hate both of those: the first, because it affects their bottom line, and the second, because it (according to them) justify the licence fee. So let’s hear it for the Beeb, and invite it to celebrate quality.

  • Stweart says:

    The moaners are at it ! Were there not 91 other performances ?
    It was the “Last Night” – that’s a party ! (pity about talking conductors though)
    We know how good (and now how human) JK is . Give him a rest
    You could have gone across the road and got R Watson ????? Be thankful !

  • Alexandra Eldin-Taylor says:

    Sadly another baritone masquerading as a tenor from the Domingo school of singing.

  • David Boxwell says:

    This was nothing until and unless I also got a selfie with the German Dreamboat. Otherwise, it never happened.

    • cynthia chase says:

      That’s amazing. You did? How, with the thousands of people there?
      (Also, what was he wearing at that point–a consideration…)

      One likes, almost no matter what, to see him looking happy, but this was a strain, even in mere youtube clips.

  • Julia says:

    yo sólo entiendo de belleza, no soy una experta reconocida como muchos de los que aquí opinan. A mí me gusta la voz masculina , que suene a eso .. a hombre. Que sea viril, heroica , bella y potente como la de Jonas Kaufmann. No me gustan los tenores que suenan a soprano.
    Será porque soy mujer??? Me dá los mismo que sean barítonos o nó si tienen belleza en la voz.
    Con un beso a todos los “Premios Nobel y reconocidos catedráticos en Músicología ” que aquí opinan.