Jonas Kaufmann? He’s one for the ages

The comment is made by Antonio Pappano in a DW-circulated English-language documentary on the great tenor.


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    • Well, Una – it gives these misfits something to do between their meetings of the ‘Friends Of…’ and the Wagner Society 🙂

  • All these YouTubes of Pappano blabbering about so and so and this and that are nothing but promotional efforts to make him appear as a serious, contemplative conductor on a par with or larger than the greats of the past. But we know better and the proof is in the pudding. Same thing goes for the ingolato, crooning sensation.

    • And talking of the *grates* of the past… here’s Caravaggio! Bloviating on cue, like a performing seal.

    • Caravaggio makes a salient point with these two.
      It is all puffery, carefully edited towards the great
      unwashed .The title could easily be
      “Much Ado About Nothing.”There is an immense
      audience of opera stupids who have little or no knowledge to the art of singing.aj

      • Do you trip over things often when you walk around with your nose so high in the air? Arrogant snobs have driven people away from opera for years to the point where many opera companies struggle to survive. You should get a lifetime membership to the Dead Tenors & Sopranos Society. Dare I say that perhaps you are an “opera stupid.”

  • Ah, Slipped Disk woke up !!! Good morning!
    The documentary is from 2017, is 90 minutes long in original size and cpuld be seen on BBC4 on 15 October 2017. Now we have March 2019 !

    • Not close, but far further ahead. Kaufmann has a much bigger opera repertory, not to mention the big range of Lied and is, besides his ability to paint with his voice, a great actor. Even the biggest Pavarotti-fan cannot claim that for his idol……

    • JK started well as a lyric tenor with a fine timbre and some musicality. I liked him at this time and thought he could develop nicely.
      Yet in my opinion he didn’t. He started to sing roles too heavy for his voice and by now said voice mostly sounds overstrained and forced. For me he’s now overrated. However, his fans obviously aren’t hearing too well. They’d probably still hail him if he’d crow like a raven.

      • When did You hear him live last time? I heard him 3 weeks ago; a voice of silk and velvet; nothing strained at all. Listen to the YT clips from Hannover concert with Anita Rachvelishvilli…………..

        • Sorry, aber gerade im französischen Repertoire mag ich seinen “gutturalen” Ton nicht. Dazu ist er mir zu dunkel und zu “forced”. Mag sein, das andere darauf stehen – das ist wirklich Geschmackssache und ĂĽber Geschmack lässt sich bekanntlich schlecht streiten.
          Zudem habe ich bei Carmen gerade Alagna im Ohr, der sich in den letzten zwei, drei Jahren wahnsinnig entwickelt hat. FrĂĽher mochte ich ihn nicht sehr, da war er mir oft zu “scharf” und irgendwie … nicht mein Fall. Aber bei seiner Carmen bin ich fast auf den Hintern gefallen – die war super-supergut und tief berĂĽhrend. Ich hab’ selten so mit einem Don Jose gelitten wie mit ihm.

          • Genau, Geschmackssache. Ich mag die Weicheit im französischen Rep. ganz besonders. Erst vor Kurzem in Hannover war das magisch. Alagna hat sich nach meiner Beobachtung auf Tonträgern (habe ihn nie live gehört) gar nicht gut entwickelt. Nicht nur bricht ihm leider immer öfter mitten in Vorstellungen die Stimme weg (Samson, Otello), er forciert besonders in der Höhe gewaltig. Bewundernswert ist allerdings, wie er das immer wieder wegsteckt. Auch ĂĽber die mehr als peinliche kurzfristige Bayreuth-Absage ist er und auch die Presse unangemessen leise hinweggegangen…. Diese Peinlichkeit ist kaum zu ĂĽberbieten.

      • Bang on Sycorax – except for your last sentence, if I might be so bold. They are hailing him – even as he crows like a raven!

  • The thing about Kaufmann is that he sings so differently from old tenors. Kaufmann is the first tenor to really interpret a role not just emiting the right may be he will be remembered as the first tenor to do this and from now on tenors will concentrate on interpreting, not only singing notes like Pavarotti? May be Kaufmann s greatness is in changing the way tenors will sing from now on? Not that he doesnot have the notes, but they sound differently from Pavarotti s notes. Some of us cannot accept a different voice , others are mad about his so different voice because he is an artist not just a vocal cords athlet.

    • Ever seen and heard Neil Shicoff? If not, just get some of his DVDs – and then tell me again that the “old tenors” couldn’t really interpret a role! Shicoff was (and still is in certain parts) a great singer with a wonderful lyric tenor and he’s a good actor who really managed to touch his audience.
      Or did you ever hear Wolfgang Windgassen? My mother told me that in his younger years he was a bit “stiff” on stage, but I only knew him as he was older and then he even was a good actor (besides he was one of these rare singers who sound even great as old men – despite of having made it through all the great Wagner roles). Or Anton Dermotta?
      If you think Pavarotti stood for his entire generation you’re so wrong! I always thought one couldn’t compare him to other tenors. He was something very special. He couldn’t act, but heavens, what a voice! As soon as he opened his mouth one forgave him that he stood on stage like a street lamp.

      • Sorry, all those mentioned singers were “singers of the right notes”, never interpretors and actors, esp.Pavarotti. He sang every role and piece in the exactly same way and voice, no individual panitung of any role. Some may like his “Italian sound”, but not all…

        • I was never a big Pavarotti fan (I’ve got to admit I’m generally not too much in tenors), but when someone says Neil Shicoff couldn’t act I can only shake my head.
          For me it’s Kaufmann who’s in all his roles always JK playing … – and often not really convincing. Yet Shicoff was versatile and he got me touched and sometimes close to tears.

          • We have very different sights and tasts. I have seen Shikoff only on media as Hoffmann, not so iteresting for me. Unfortnately Kaufmann did not sind Hoffmann till now.May be the role will come later.

      • You are missing the point; in 30 years from now the Kaufmann generation will write instead of you and others with your opinion, and say Kaufmann was one of the greatest or maybe the greatest of all….personally I heard Pavarotti which was in my generation but was impressed only by the eassiness of emmitting the right and must say beautiful notes…was it enough? No…. about the others heard on discs; Gedda was very good for example, Del Monaco not at all- again, only notes..

  • Ironic that the Hymn to Jonas begins with a fussy, ludicrously overinterpreted mauling of “O tu che in seno.” From the moment of the ugly attack and the subsequent unidiomatic crooning it’s wrongheaded as can be. I’ve admired him in many things but not this.

  • May I recommend all fans of JK a little of Aureliano Pertile, Francesco Merli, Miguel Fleta, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, Beniamino Gigli, and for kicks Mario del Monaco, Ramon Vinay, Max Lorenz, Ludwig Suthaus and Lauritz Melchior, then buy yourself a ticket and go and hear or better SEE Mr.Ingolato. I’ll bet with you anytime that you can’t hear him over the orchestra, provided he’s not using a microphone (!) – Good listening!

    • And John Vickers, and Bergonzi, and Corelli, and Tagliavini, and Gedda, and Kraus. The list of the “greats” goes on.
      They all have 2 things in common: They are better than anybody singing today and they are all dead.
      The operas need to be cast with whoever is alive and available now. So the choices are, as I see it, to listen to recordings of the greats or to see live performances , realizing that singing will not measure up to the Golden age. The choice is up to the individual. there is no “wrong “decision.

      • [[ operas need to be cast with whoever is alive and available now ]]

        This obvious truth is something the ‘opera stupids’ can’t grasp. They’re still living in the past.

        • What this opera stupid cannot abide is the fact that you talk about JK as if he has changed the world of singing forever. And to say every tenor before him just sang notes. I think even JK would laugh in the face of people saying that. I am perfectly happy with live opera, in spite of his problems, and I am excited when a younger singer breaks through, but I don’t forget the past. It has taught me to appreciate the present and not pay attention to the media fever around singers. I can’t help wonder if JK’s followers would love him so much if he looked like Pavarotti.

      • And Jussi Bjorling! JK approaches Italian roles as if they were German Lieder, tweaking here, fussing there, a bit like Schwarzkopf, perhaps meant to distract from his throaty voice. He also sings way too many roles which do not suit either his voice or temperament, Otello being
        the best example, where you need a testosterone-driven tenor with a big voice rather than a yuppie office manager.

        • Wrong sight on Otello: the role is not at all testosteronic, but that of a devided broken hero. Only Esutate gives a (false) spot on the General. All following is destruction, which lacks any personal power. To show that many singers did not dare or did not see that facts in the role, as they were used to shout and produce ff.

  • Kaufmann is wonderful! I find it soul-destroying that he has not made more recordings. I think of only the Aida (with Harteros), Butterfly (with Gheorghiu), Carmen, Die Walkure, Fidelio, Konigskinder (Humperdinck), Oberon (Weber), Der Vampyr (Marschner), Ekkehard (Abert) and Die Drei Wunsche (Loewe). That’s 10 in total. Compare this to Placido Domingo, who has recorded a total of 200+ full-length operas.

    The two roles I would love to have Kaufmann singing on record are Cavaradossi and Andrea Chenier. For me, they suit his voice the best. In the meantime, I’ll have to settle with the DVD performances.

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