Anything Kaufmann does, I can do better

Anything Kaufmann does, I can do better


norman lebrecht

August 09, 2019

When Jonas Kaufmann recorded both solo roles in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, the result met with near-universal derision.

For his principal German rival, Klaus Florian Vogt, that represents a challenge.

We read that Vogt is about to go down the same wayward path at the Hamburg Staatsoper in October.

You have been warned.



  • Waltraud Becker says:

    He seems to be megalomaniac……

    • Diane Valerie says:

      I hold no particular brief for Klaus Florian Vogt and we all know that there is only ONE singer in the world as far as you are concerned but would you please resist the temptation to make derogatory remarks about other singers. It does Mr. Kaufmann no favours.

  • Caravaggio says:


  • Pianofortissimo says:

    And Mr. Vogt’s cancellation rate is… (?)

  • Olassus says:

    — any “derision” over JK’s Das Lied had to do with the Notty conducting
    — JK is an extremely fine Lied artist; it is what he does best in fact
    — KFV manages his voice well and can get through Tannhäuser without sounding strained, which is saying a lot; he is not unlike Windgassen
    — but KFV is not right for Das Lied for the simple reason that he lacks imagination
    — tenors have the duller part in the Mahler, with the composer’s rich ideas going to the mezzo (or baritone), and this is what drew JK to it
    — Fischer-Dieskau for Bernstein and Fassbaender for Giulini set the standard

    • jo says:

      I agree completely with each of your 6 statements-bravo!

    • Sixtus says:

      I rather like the homoerotic implications of an all-male performance. These come strongly to the fore in the last movement text. I have no doubt that Bernstein picked up on this. But all of these implications, and much more, are lost in a one-male performance.

    • Robert Groen says:

      Interesting that you should mention Wolfgang Windgassen, Olassus. I watched and listened to Piotr Beczala the other day and was struck by the close resemblance (both vocal and physical) to the great Windgassen. I agree that the tenor is very much the junior partner in the vocal hierarchy of Das Lied. But if Mahler wished it so, why tamper with it?

  • Rob says:

    What is the point when we have Jerusalem/Gielen, Heppner/Bertini, Kollo, Wunderlich etc, other than to make money?

  • Meryl Goodrum says:

    Anything Jonas Kaufmann does, NOBODY does better, the man is a genius.

  • M McAlpine says:

    These people don’t appear to realise that Mahler deliberately set the song cycle for two contrasting voices. Why the Mezzo option is actually better though King and D F-D do a pretty good job for Bernstein. The contrast if, of course, lost with one voice no matter how good the singer is.

    • John Borstlap says:


      • Olassus says:

        I’m not sure he chose mezzo (baritone) and tenor for contrast; there are stronger options in that regard. Rather the priority would have been to get the vastly differing lines across effectively.

    • Waltraud Becker says:

      I am a bit tired to repeat: The conductor of the premiere, Bruno Walter, asked Mahler to let sing both parts by one singer; he wrote that in a letter, but the answer of Mahler is not known……..

  • BaltiMoron says:

    KFV is NOTHING compared to Windgassen, Windgassen has an actual voice that doesn’t resemble a castrated whiny reject from a boyband.
    Prediction for these performances: They will be a complete and total Vogt-ing disaster.

    • Sycorax says:

      As someone who’s “grown up” with Windgassen I can only agree with BaltiMoron. I’ve never understood why same people compare KFV to him.

  • AJV says:

    KFV Has already sung Das Lied von Erde in London under Pappano in the reduced orchestral version

  • David A, Boxwell says:


  • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

    I wonder, was there this much fuss when Boris Christoff first recorded three roles in BORIS GODUNOV? (Boris, Father Varlaam, and the monk Pimen.)