Muted reviews for Jonas Kaufmann’s Munich Otello

Muted reviews for Jonas Kaufmann’s Munich Otello


norman lebrecht

November 26, 2018

Although first-nighters went predictably wild, most newspaper critics dissented from Kaufmann’s latest depiction of the Moor as a dysfunctional man with a cipher wife (Anja Harteros).

Frei in the Neue Zurcher Zeitung writes that the outstanding strengths of the production were Gerald Finley as Iago and Kirill Petrenko in the pit.

Read here.

photo: Hosl 

See for yourselves. You can watch a live performance here on December 2 at 7pm


  • Caravaggio says:

    Kirill Petrenko could conduct the phone book and make it sensational. As for Finley, he is a fine Lied singer but I just can’t hear him as Iago. His natural demeanor seems too placid and nice. Kaufmann’s best years are now behind him and so are Harteros’. Doesn’t seem that there are any Otellos (or Tristans) worth getting excited about these days.

    • Jacob says:

      Re. Finley,
      I listened to the livestream and he knocked my socks off. The voice is very lyrical but dark and dramatic where it needs to be.

      Take a listen:

      • Novagerio says:

        And how can we know via a livestream if the voice projects through the orchestra, when one doesn’t hear it in situ?…

    • Jack says:

      Nice how you don’t actually have to hear the performance in question. All you need are your preconceived opinions. You’re pretty predictable and boring, Carrie.

      • HugoPreuß says:

        Well, I was not in the audience and I did not hear the performance. But over time I bought several solo CDs by Mr. Kaufmann. So far, the obvious joy so many people feel when describing his singing has not come to me. To me he sounds bland and not at all interesting. But that, apparently, is not just a minority opinion, but an opinion which needs to be eliminated and fought against.

    • Sanity says:

      Ah! Once again you cannot recognise the audience and their terrific upstanding for Mr Kaufmann’s rupture! All was rupture and your small pygmy soul cannot be understanding of this.

      • Enquiring Mind says:

        Even without a small pygmy soul, I am not upstanding Kaufmann’s rupture!

        • Sanity says:

          All of these people upstanding against Herr Kaufmann’s UNDOUBTED AND UNPRECEDENTED RUPTURE! But this is the Feck News! It is always the same with you little peoples. It is ‘feck this’ and ‘feck that’ and for me it shows that for this is indeed ‘feck all’…

  • Shalom Rackovsky says:

    It is a remarkable, but true, musical fact that the entire audience, who were actually there, heard the performance, and loved it, never seem to know as much about how it went as the one or two critics, or, of course, my many fellow slippeddiscers who weren’t there at all- but know anyway.

    • Bogda says:

      It’s also remarkable, that most of the comments on twitter from regular opera goers who were there in the audience, were quite reserved. I have not seen it, and cannot comment, but do have to note that i’ve hardly seen a single ecstatic comment on twitter.

  • M McAlpine says:

    Must confess if the production is like the picture, I would not go for it anyway.

  • Martain Smith says:

    I was not present either, but am familiar with all the artists in various productions and at various stages of their careers.
    To me Hr. Frei’s writing seems both very informed and most credible.
    Not everyone enjoys equal knowledge and perception!

  • Jeanette Neagu says:

    Just saw it, mixed feelings. Did not like the staging which really interfered with the enjoyment of the performance. Singers were forced to follow the directions and I think that also impacted there performance in a negative way.