Jonas Kaufmann gets fitted for his Met company tie

Jonas Kaufmann gets fitted for his Met company tie


norman lebrecht

October 09, 2018

The tenor is due to make his first appearance at the Met next week for more than four years, singing Dick in Puccini’s Fanciulla del West.

But there’s a problem.

Seats are still available for all four performances. Anywhere else, they would have been long sold out.

So the Met has put its publicity machine to work. Here’s Jonas trying on the costume.

Which shows, at least, the he has arrived in New York.

Nice tie.


  • Marcus Clayton says:

    It should come as a surprise to no one that tickets for Kaufmann’s performances aren’t more heavily sold.
    First, the soprano singing Minnie is totally inept, and not up to the role at all.
    Anyone familiar with the opera knows it needs a true dramatic soprano with blazing top notes. Eva-Maria Westbroek is not such a soprano.
    Second, Jonas Kaufmann is a notorious canceler. I would never again buy tickets in advance for anything with him again. I am assuming many Met attendees feel the same way. With the current state of tenor singing at the Met, God knows who they would put on if Kaufmann cancelled Fanciulla.
    I assume the first cover is Yusif Eyvazov, who opened the run.
    I want to see the Fanciulla, lousy Minnie or not, because it is one of my favorite Puccini Operas, but I won’t buy tickets until the day of the Saturday matinee, Oct.27.

    • Caravaggio says:

      Right on target. And Kaufmann is already past his prime. Listen to the crooning and the alarmingly effortful high notes in this recent video. It is quite sad.

      • Waltraud Riegler says:

        Do You have anear problem?
        To Marcus Clayton: You are totally right! Many may have esitated to buy tickets in advance for not to meet Eyvazov instead on Jonas !!!
        Westbriek was a fine Minnie in the past, hopefully she “recovers” singing with Jonas; they like each other very much and had important apperances tigether.

      • Sanity says:

        It’s appalling that this is being sold as an example of a spinto tenor. It’s painful to listen to most of the time.

        Can you imagine how they’d feel if even a second-rank tenor like Cecchele was to come along now.

      • Marilyn Quinn says:

        Kaufmann is not past his prime. His voice has changed a bit in character as do the voices of all great singers. I truly enjoyed Fanciulla, even though I was also surprised by Westbroek’s high note issues.

    • Helen Dutton says:

      Jonas Kaufmann has not cancelled any performances this year. It is a simply untrue that he is a serial canceller. Unfortunately you have been a little unfortunate in the USA but frankly it is not all about America. And why should he or any singer perform if they are unwell. Do you go to work when I’ll.? Just asking the question. Anyway I hope you get to see it on the 27th.

    • HELENE ADAM says:

      About Kaufmann’ cancellations and public distrust, I agree ; of course the consequences are obvious: people wait until the last minute to buy tickets, when his presence is sure and confirmed. And the MET has an interest in showing Kaufmann’s photos preparing rehearsals to restore confidence. What’s a problem ? That’s impossible to know now if the performances would be sold out or not. We will know that a few days before the first Kaufmann’performance (17 October). Other words are pure speculation. And Netrebko’Aida was sold out only the day of performance not before, as usual in the Met, one of the Oper never sold out…I would like to inform that it’s very, very difficult to have tickets for the next European performance of Kaufmann (Otello in Munchen). Very, very difficult…

      • Robin Worth says:

        Getting seats at Muenchen for anything good is always difficult, not just Kaufmann. And the online booking system is not user-friendly, even if you are comfortable in German

        Same is true of Vienna : last year I tried to buy top price seats for Tosca with Kaufmann and Angela G. Just as well that I failed, as they both cancelled! Went to the Raimundtheater instead and saw Schickaneder : wonderful!

        • HELENE ADAM says:

          No that’s not true : I can buy tickets in Muchen without difficulty for all the programs previous years and also this year (Cost fan tutte, meistersinger and so on) : after the “lottery” period, the booking is open for all the people and that’s very easy to have places, I am in Muchen very often. Two exception previous year : the Ring in July and Parsifal for all performances (not the Ring in January and February, no problem for tickets, but Siegmund was another singer, Kaufmann was busy). The same this year : only Otello is sold out for each performance until now. I am so sorry but anyone know that in Europe : that’s very difficult to have tickets for performance with Kaufmann. The operas knows that also, that’s the reason of price is so hight with him….

        • Marilyn Quinn says:

          I went to Muenchen in 2017 for Andrea Chenier. I know German, but the online attempt was fruitless, even though I started the process about 7 or 8 months in advance. I even stayed up all night here in the U.S. on the phone. No luck! Finally a Facebook friend in France sold me her ticket. And I was able to get a couple more in person in the box office after I arrived.

    • Judith says:

      Agree about Westbroek, her top notes were screeched, and when she tries to reach them she makes the most unattractive face I have ever seen on a professional singer. Since I watched in an HD movie theater broadcast, the close ups were really painful. I thought her acting okay in some scenes, but I never did buy that she was a young innocent child of the Sierras. Kaufmann was pure pleasure in every regard by comparison….

  • Bogda says:

    There is not a single show or star that sells out Met. Same was for Netrebko performances. I’m way more prominent operas and cast.

  • Robin Worth says:

    I remember seeing “sold out” notices at the Met in the past, but can’t remember when it was

    Can anyone tell us when the Met last sold out and who was appearing?

    • Giuditta says:

      Netrebko’s Aida performance on Saturday was sold out. Same for many of her Tosca performances earlier this year at the end of the 17/18. Renee Fleming / Elina Garanca run of the new production of Rosenkavalier was entirely sold out as well in 2017.

  • Monsoon says:

    1. The Met dynamically prices its seats. Prices are set so that they do not sell out the house until the day of the performance. If they sell out before, that means they priced the tickets for too little; if they do not sell out, that means tickets were priced too high. If the Met is doing its job right, it should raise the price of tickets when demand is high to slow down sales and produce maximum return, and lower prices when demand is weak to encourage sales.

    2. Looking at the remaining tickets for the performances that Kaufman is in, it looks like the house is on its way to selling out 90 percent capacity for the whole run. On the 20th, for example, almost all of the seats in the Family Circle have been sold and the floor looks to be at 75%. On the 27th it looks like the house has already gone past 90 percent — there are very few tickets left.

    But Norman is on such a war path with the Met that even if they do completely sell out every night, he’ll still declare the run a failure.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Thank you for presenting such good information. How refreshing.

    • Olassus says:

      I don’t think Norman’s on a war path with the Met. But he despises Peter Gelb — and for good reason.

    • V.Lind says:

      All info on the blog should be checked. Often a headline is misleading, and often it misrepresents the linked story. This is probably as much from carelessness as malice, but it is frequent. As criticism of the site is not welcomes here, this post may not last long.

    • Hornbill says:

      Sounds like good business sense. Do they keep aside cheap seats for young people?

      • Monsoon says:

        They have discount student tickets, but the Family Circle is usually under $40 (because of the dynamic pricing, sometimes the seats are as cheap as $30; on the high end it’s the low $40s). The views aren’t great, but it’s the best sound in the house.

  • Bogda says:

    Only show Met actually sells out without any problems is Ring.

    • AMetFan says:

      That was certainly not the case in the last incarnation of the current RING production five years ago. In fact, as a recipient of free tickets, I can tell you that they couldn’t give away enough comps. I’m talking thousands, not hundreds.

      For the Schenk RING, absolutely it was always sold out and always an event. Attending the RING in those days was an unforgettable experience and greatly anticipated. By over-promotion of a bloated concept production, the Met stripped their new RING of its musical grip on the audience and reduced it to a soulless and very expensive machine.

      As for the upcoming revival, all we know are the “unavailable seats” on the Met’s website. A good number of these are being held for potential full cycle subscribers; not all are actually sold at this point. We will see hold releases in the winter and spring.

      Hopefully this revival will sell well, given the strength of the cast and the deserved promotion of Christine Goerke over the past few years.

      • Petros Linardos says:

        Indeed, in May 1997 I crossed the Atlantic in order to attend the MET ring. The block of performances I wanted to attend was sold out weeks ahead. I still managed to find last minute tickets, but had to queue at the box office or stand in front of the theater holding a sign. I had to take whatever ticket became available. And I was not alone. And it was very worth it.

      • Bogda says:

        Have you actually tried to book a ring cycle for this season?!?!?

        Available are only tickets for first cycle which stretches over two months.

        Other two “regular” cycles were sold out months ago. And there is still half a year to go.

  • Mimi T says:

    The video is from La Scala last month. The Maestro had already given a superb recital of Lieder and this excerpt is from 7 encores demanded by the rapturous audience and graciously given by both, I might add. It was almost 2 concerts for the price of one. People had travelled far and wide to attend this truly unforgettable evening and no gripes heard.
    To suggest that we mishear top notes and cannot appreciate the finer points of the performance is insulting. There is nothing more exhilarating than being at a live concert and to witness the passion which Mr Kaufmann has for his profession is awe inspiring.
    Criticise, by all means,those who used their mobiles during the concert or the man who delayed the start of the second part by taking his seat so late, that the Maestro was already on stage patiently waiting but a perfectly digitally tweaked cd sound is not the same as the live stage experience. Nor was the video clip. In reality he sang ‘Muoio’ disperato from ‘E lucevan le stelle’ with such intensity and emotion that made one gasp, the desperation portrayed was palpable. Park and bark or wooden in his acting he is not and never could be.
    I trust his integrity. If he is unwell, he sensibly protects his voice and doesn’t sing but reschedules as far as is possible. He expands his repertoire and as a consequence, our musical appreciation. He will know when to consider his career. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy this lustrous voice whenever possible and believe my professionally trained ears.
    World wide live screenings at the cinema are a brilliant, less expensive alternative to the opera house, by the way.

    • Caravaggio says:

      The Maestro?

      • Waltraud Riegler says:

        Certainly NOT YOU !!!

      • Sanity says:

        ‘And it was on his 19th encore that they did say his ruptured audience, ‘Please, Maestro! Give us your “I Dream of Jeanie” one more time with your lustrous high G!’….

        And you do not hear it because your horrible ear have not the rupture of his true fans!

      • Sibylle Luise Binder says:

        One could think you doubt the genius of Mr Kaufmann. That’s blasphemy – thinks at least Ms Riegler. She becomes always rather “excited” when people dare to criticize the one and only “maestro” tenor.

        • waltraud riegler says:

          Sear Sibylle; writing “past his prime” image You have heard him often enough in the past and also in the last year. Is this the case?

  • Jim L. says:

    I’ve never heard Westbroek in this role yet. But, I did hear Tebaldi in 1970 or so at the Met who struggled with high notes, but phrased and shaded her voice so beautifully as to fully inform the characterization. Konya was somewhat challenged as well but phased and shaded tellingly. Also the scale of these singers did remain in tact. If the current cast can do as well even though challenged, the performances may be rewarding.

  • Sibylle Luise Binder says:

    Uuugh – I’m certainly no fan of Kaufmann, but if I need to choice between him and Mr Eyvazov, I’d take Kaufmann. He’s at least musical, even with his overstrained voice.
    It’s actually rather odd. In the moment there’s seems to be a real shortage of good tenors! Kaufmann was once good, but is definitely past his prime; Alagna is kind of “wavering” – one night he’s great, at another night he’s average -, Costello’s got some problems with his voice too; Evyazov is far away of being really good (I don’t think he’d get engagements at the big houses if he weren’t married to Anna) …

  • Franco says:

    Kaufmann is the most overestimated tenor of our time. Too much singing, too many heavy roles, wrong teachers, all the beauty of his natural voice is gone, Mozart an french Fach no way any more, artificial darkening, wrong vowels, false piani, no smooth changing register .. His London Otello was always at the rim of not managing the role, Gregory Kunde was Otello at 64, Kaufmann only tried .. If he did not look that good, he would have stayed in Munich or so ..Not a bad place though