Jonas Kaufmann: Why I saved my first Otello for London

The tenor tells the Covent Garden website:

‘I can’t tell you exactly the amount of offers I got for this part… You need an enormous amount of experience. It’s not so much the technical side of singing the role, but the challenge of losing yourself in the craziness of this character and pushing yourself to a limit where your voice might be harmed. I waited very long and I finally realized, “If I don’t do it now, when then?”. It has to be done under the best possible circumstances. The Royal Opera House has always been a place where I’ve felt very at home and the acoustic is good – it’s not too big but still has a glory.

Otello is the perfect Verdi opera. It starts, the curtain opens and you’re thrown right into it. A lot of actors are very jealous of opera singers in operas like Otello because we have this carpet of emotions. You don’t have to do it from scratch. The audience is already captivated – you just have to go and harvest.’

More here.

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  • … and won’t we read here that he is fat any more ? 😉 ha-ha-ha ( in the voice of Maggie the Magpie from “Steve and Maggie” cartoons for kids)

    • Isn’t it a bit bizarre that the ROH is using one of the promo shots from JK’s operetta album “Du bist die Welt für mich” to illustrate their article about Otello?
      Of course, this album was released in 2014, so the photo is at least three years old. Looking youthful and slender, with just a hint of grey in his stubble.

      • this is a pure marketing, they all do the same around the Globe ….. ROH is getting older too ( literally and figuratively), first I wanted they ( somehow) engaged my favourite artists there ( including my lovely prodigy Elina Stikhina), now I don’t. There are many troubles in London, it is not a safe city any more, and there are many other A-class theatres in the world : Paris, Vienna, Milano, Madrid and Barcelona. not to speak about St.Peter and German stages …. leave Angie and Jonas to the ROH – they are what it needs and deserves and that’s enough for them

        • “There are many troubles in London, it is not a safe city any more”

          Unlike, say, Paris?

          Don’t be silly.

          • Quite right, Grand Opera House Belfast, far nicer and safer than London or Paris designed by Frank Matchett, 1895, my uncle’s firm built it and also restored it magnificently after it got blown up twice by the boyos. They did Hollander not long ago and Radamisto.

          • going to attend Hollander in about a month and a half …. should be something worthy

      • They may use old fotos (as others do) because they have bought the right one day. Tomorrow there is a transmission on YT, where eventually the “actual grey JK” can be seen… Anyway he will be a Otello with a gey beard.

      • I think what Minstrel alludes to it that a white man has to sing a role which needs a real blackamoor! He has a point, Olivier at least was halfway convincing, I doubt Kaufmann could pull it off. Not an opera I would ever want to see. Siegfried hammering hotel metal now yer suppin diesel.

      • No need to buy a ticket they are going to webstream it so you can watch it munching pop corn at the cinema, safer than London. Why it cannot be shown by BBC is a real puzzle.

    • No Kaufmann will not be “blacked up” in this production, they expect the audience to make an imaginative leap, the blurb says! The trouble with blackening up is there is always some in the audience who think its the operatic equivalent of the Black & White Minstrels. It would merely send it up, if they had banjos.

      • I don’t see why any blackening up should be needed. Otello, a Moor, would have been of Arab-Berber appearance, i.e. not black or anywhere close to it. Kaufmann with his curly hair and olive skin is not a bad approximation.
        In the theatre, it has now become standard practice to cast Shakespeare’s Otello with black actors of sub-Saharan African heritage. This is no more “authentic” than casting a white actor.

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