René Kollo, 80, is back on the road

René Kollo, 80, is back on the road


norman lebrecht

March 02, 2018

‘What, should I sit at home and do nothing?’ demands the great German tenor in a Berlin interview, ahead of a 15-concert tour.

He says he has not read a newspaper in 30 years, thinks Bayreuth has gone to the dogs and is unhappy with his hotel.

Read here.



  • John Rook says:

    That’s the first time I’ve read someone criticise Kirill Petrenko’s Ring: ‘three or four years ago’ was before Marek Janowski took over.

    • Meal says:

      I do not think he is criticizing Petrenko or the music. In connection with his answer just before it seems his critique is on the stage direction (Castorf). It is for sure not the first time that we come across some criticism of Castorf’s Ring.

      • John Rook says:

        He was:

        So viel Dummheit habe ich in meinem Leben noch nie gesehen, dazu war es beschissen musiziert. Es war ein furchtbarer Abend.

        Criticisms of Castorf’s ‘staging’ are legion, but this is the first time any mention of Petrenko’s work has not been surrounded by a team of thurifers.

        • Meal says:

          You are right, I should have read Kollo’s answer to its end.

          Indeed, Petrenko’s reading of the Ring (I listened to the radio broadcasts, only) differs from the many others. To me it seems to be more dedicated to the transparency (and contrasts) of the moment than continuity. To me this approach is very valuable, it gives great effects and new insights. But Kollo seems to prefer other readings.

          • Sue says:

            Why wouldn’t he? He has sung Wagner with Carlos Kleiber!!!

          • AB says:

            He did. He did Tristan – but only for the recordings. And he was far from being Kleiber’s fav tenor. I don’t know whom Kollo replaced in Tristan recording, but Kleiber was so unhappy with the whole result (and the tenor contributed a lot to Kleiber’s frustration), that he did all he could to forbid this recording. Fortunately, Deutsche Grammophon found its way to publish this recording despite Kleiber’s opinion. And – my humble opinion – Kollo is really miscasted for this recording – his wobbly, ugly sound really destroys the duet of the second act, where Kleiber and Margaret Price do most sublime music. The third act is ok though – there you can pardon that the voice sounds tired, used and ready for the retirement.

  • Petros LInardos says:

    After attending the Castorf Rheingold at Bayreuth: “So viel Dummheit habe ich in meinem Leben noch nie gesehen…” (So much stupidity I’ve never seen in my life…)

  • Caravaggio says:

    Please say this ain’t so. I mean, his voice is long shot. Why? Then again, he probably thinks that if Plácido Domingo is out there still embarrassing himself all the way to the bank, why shouldn’t he cash in too. But I agree with Kollo that Bayreuth has gone to the dogs.

  • Hilary says:

    Kollo’s background is in popular/light music so this may not be such an abberation.

  • Rob says:

    If Mahler had heard kollo sing the tenor part in his eighth, he might have said, “Well, isn’t that how it should be done!”