Voice rest: Jonas Kaufmann cancels a second month

Voice rest: Jonas Kaufmann cancels a second month


norman lebrecht

October 01, 2016

jonas kaufmann1

This is starting to look serious. The German tenor has cancelled performances so far in Berlin, Budapest and Munich. He has now pulled out of November’s Tales of Hoffmann in Paris. Apparently he has burst a small vein in his vocal cords.

Here is what he has told the Paris Opera:

I’m sorry that my cancellations have been the source of a lot of disappointment and frustration over the past few weeks.

Of course, I can understand the irritation of all those who had organized the expensive trips to come and listen to me. Unfortunately, the performance of a voice of singer cannot be guaranteed and sometimes a singer is facing events that require it to take a long rest.

When I noticed that something was wrong with my voice, at first I thought it was a beginning of infection. The medical examination, however, has given a different result: the side effects of a medicine made burst a small vein on my vocal cords.

So I must stop singing until the haematoma has completely subsided. To avoid permanent damage. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that I must also cancel my representations of the Tales of Hoffmann in Paris.

I wish here to warmly thank all those who have sent me their wishes for a speedy recovery by Facebook and by e-mail.”

En francais:

« Je suis navré que mes annulations aient été la source de beaucoup de déception et de frustration au cours des dernières semaines.
Bien sûr, je peux comprendre l’irritation de tous ceux qui avaient organisé des voyages coûteux pour venir m’écouter. Malheureusement, les performances d’une voix de chanteur ne peuvent être garanties et parfois un chanteur est confronté à des événements qui l’obligent à prendre un repos prolongé.
Lorsque j’ai remarqué que quelque chose n’était pas normal avec ma voix, j’ai d’abord cru à un début d’infection. L’examen médical a toutefois donné un autre résultat : les effets secondaires d’un médicament ont fait éclater une petite veine sur mes cordes vocales.
Je dois donc arrêter de chanter jusqu’à ce que l’hématome se soit complètement résorbé pour éviter des lésions irréversibles. Ainsi, c’est le cœur gros que je dois aussi annuler mes représentations des Contes d’Hoffmann à Paris.
Je souhaite ici remercier chaleureusement tous ceux qui m’ont envoyé leurs vœux de prompt rétablissement par Facebook et par e-mail. »

Jonas Kaufmann


  • Dave says:

    Is this guy finished or what?

    • Olassus says:

      Or what.

      • sidney miller says:

        A very good legit reason, so what’s the problem??he sings his heart out to us,give him a break,how do u feel when u have the flu??well he makes his living with his voice

    • Una says:

      What do you mean by ‘or what?’ Awful turn of phrase, Dave, to use when you’re probably not a singer yourself. Jonas Kaufman is not a racing pigeon or similar but a human being as well as a much loved singer, and singers do get injuries just like any of the best tennis players, footballers or athletes that performs. It doesn’t mean they are bad singers or ‘finished!’ They are just injuries, so do be a little bit more compassionate. I would say he’ll be back. And if he’s not, it’ll be not because he can’t sing, but he’s had enough of the actual profession because of amateurish remarks.

      We wish him all the best for his recovery, and look forward to hearing him again when the time is right.

      • Dave says:

        My Una! Get off your high brow pedestal. I posed a question and you have to defend him like a clucking mother hen. How is that turn of phrase for you?

        • Northern freelancer says:

          The entire wording of your initial question shows a complete lack of understanding of the problems that musicians have to face in order to offer the extremely high standard of music that they wish to give, and we have come to expect. I feel very sad for you.

          • Nancy says:

            Don’t feed the troll…

            I’m sure I speak for the 99% of us who appreciate your valuable contribution to Music so far. We can be selfish in wanting you all the time, and even jealous that we don’t have your gorgeous tenor voice or your successful and demanding career.

          • Dave says:

            Athletes play through pain all the time. I guess you place singers on a higher pedestal. Mr. Kaufmann is being payed big money to perform. I guess you never heard the phrase, ‘ the show must go on.’ I realize this website is littered with snooty types. It is you I pity. Get off your high horse and come down to where real humans live.

          • Alicia says:

            Really, Dave, a simple knowledge of anatomy would tell you that the tiny size of vocal cords do not allow one to “play while sore.” Having a hematoma is the equivalent of a basketball player having a broken leg. Would you ask him to play on that? But, like broken legs, his cord will heal, but I suspect you will remain an insensitive dolt.

        • Thomas says:

          Dave – you should just stop commenting on things that you obviously know nothing about. You apparently have no understanding whatsoever of what a singer goes through, or the make-up of the musculature. And yes, I for one do hold great artists on a pedestal much higher than any brutish sports athlete!

        • Peter Buchi says:

          Dave – dunno what you do or don’t know about singing opera, but I can tell you that a vocal cord injury is a serious thing. With rest Kaufmann will probably be fine. It is not physically possible for him to just “play through the pain”, though, and he’d probably destroy his voice and kill his career were he stupid enough to try. All that said, don’t be a d#@k Dave, ok?

  • frank says:

    Les “performances? ” Aux barricades!!!


    Singers, like Presidential candidates, occasionally get ill: give him a break. He had just better recover in time for February 2017 when we have tickets to hear him at the Barbican. Still, he could just come and stand on the stage without singing – good enough for me….! My husband is reminding me that this is a serious blog.

  • Claire Paulette Edelstein says:

    Wish you quick and total recovery, Jonas. The love of all these people who just adore you will speed things up. Believe me. We will wait patiently for you, don’t rush, take care. Your loving fans are unconditional. We send you the best energies…

  • RON K. says:

    I commend Mr. Kaufmann for being forthcoming about his medical condition. In the past, his handlers have been less than candid about his frequent cancellations, some of which have lasted many weeks or months. This approach has detracted from his credibility. As Jonas is one of the most committed, serious, magnetic and intelligent singers ever to have graced an operatic stage (he gives his all to every role), his absence is deeply felt by those of us who admire and value his artistry. We wish him a complete and speedy recovery. Going forward, I hope that he will pace himself prudently – allowing for periods of rest and choosing new roles selectively – to ensure the longevity of his career.

  • Corrie says:

    Non abiamo tenor????

  • Carlos Montané says:

    People need to know that an opera singer put his career every time go on stage, and when you get to that high level, audience always expect the best – of – the – best, and sometime that is not possible. He is doing the right thing in taking few weeks off, and don’t rush back to perform. Best wishes and full recuperation.

  • Shirley Moyer says:

    It will be more than a few weeks off. Several months I’m thinking. Complete voice rest is indicated.

  • BigMac says:

    Ramon Vargas will take over the role. Not a bad replacement.

    As one of “those who had organized the expensive trips to come and listen to me”, and one who believes it is a genuine ground for cancellation, I can only say ‘c’est la guerre’!

  • JackyT says:

    Ramon Vargas is a very friendly and charming man who always has time for his fans.

  • Louise Stevenson says:

    All the best wishes in the world for Jonas Kaufmann’s recovery. He must preserve his prodigious talent at all costs

  • Karl H Cameron-Jackson says:

    If I remember aright, didn’t Caruso die because he went on stage against doctor’s orders and a burst blood vessel killed him.
    Give Jonas a break. His “Nessun Dorma” was superb. I’d love to hear him sing “Ride Pagliaci”, but can wait as long as it takes for his vocal chords to heal. As for “Ombre di Nube” he was exqisite.


  • Sheila says:

    He is the best so please give him all the time he needs to make a complete recovery. We can wait.

  • Am Ang Zhang says:

    He sounds like he was miked at Sydney in the Parsifal