Jonas Kaufmann: I could go on as long as Domingo

Jonas Kaufmann: I could go on as long as Domingo


norman lebrecht

September 09, 2019

From an interview with Lufthansa magazine:

It used to be said that the voice reaches its peak at 50, but much has changed. Life expectancy has increased, people feel younger. Plácido Domingo is (nearly) 80 years old. So it does not look like this magical line still exists. I do not want to take any restraint and prepare myself for the old bit. But I do not want to cram my schedule so much that I can not enjoy life anymore.


  • Karl says:

    Ben Heppner said the same thing about not cramming his schedule. Then a year later he said to sing well you have to do it full time so he retired.

    • Bobby says:

      One can still sing and keep in shape every day…. but one does not have to work with the idiots of the business who can’t direct or conduct every day…… so why should Jonas bother…. the hacks are only waiting in the wings to trash all with their blogs and vlogs… the industry is more toxic now then ever before. Go Jonas make it work for you and only
      you ! Who cares what the others are say ing and wanting.

    • SMH says:

      Heppner sounded pretty horrible for quite a while before he retired. There was an excruciatingly painful Lohengrin in Los Angeles I remember. He should not have out the public through that.

      • Petros LInardos says:

        Didn’t Heppner’s vocal problems stem primarily from side effects of blood pressure medication.
        I was lucky to hear him on a good night, in 2008, in Mahler’s Song of the Earth. That was memorable.

    • Cassandra says:

      Now, that was giggle-funny.
      Even at the expense of
      Ben Heppner,
      who is in my short

  • Princess Ida says:

    Montserrat Caballe always reckoned resting her voice was a waste of time. And look at her schedule when she was in her prime.

  • MusicBear88 says:

    I believe that most of the greats were only happy when their schedule was crammed, until they couldn’t physically do it anymore. If you’re not enjoying life when you’re on the stage, you may have made a bad career move.

  • Gustavo says:

    As long as he does not start conducting…

  • Hele says:

    Nowhere in the article did he say he was going to go on as long as Domingo. I don’t believe he has any intention of doing that. Why would he? He was talking more of having more gaps in his schedule for other things. He has a life outside opera.

  • Tigerlily293 says:

    The actual quote is:” Plácido Domingo steht mit über 80 noch auf der Bühne.” (PD is still standing on the stage with over 80 years of age). Many colleagues confirm that he told them he is actually 5 years older than his official age.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    Herr Kaufmann clearly does not realize that he has been in vocal decline for the past 10 years as amply evident from his Otello in Munich and Alvaro in Forza from Covent Garden. The voice is becoming dry and strain and effort are very audible. He cancelled more often in 1 season than Domingo has done in decades. Good luck to him, but somehow, I don’t imagine him singing into his 60s.

    • Po says:

      I did hear his first round of Otello and I wouldn‘t say it‘s a decline. Because I also heard his Alfredo 12 years ago in Zurich, he sang together with R. Bruson! His voice is always a bit dry and high notes “sound” tense. Also not a big voice. BUT, his projection and breathe control improved so much than 12 years ago thus I then realised why “that kind of voice” can survive on stage til now.

    • BrianB says:

      “He cancelled more often in 1 season than Domingo has done in decades”
      Maybe more than Domingo did in his entire career.

    • Julia says:

      Quite true. His Alvaro this year was not as good as his Alvaro some years ago. Listen and check. Time and tide wait for no one.

  • 32va says:

    This week – informed comment from in-flight magazines. Next week – the backs of cornflake packets.

    Incisive stuff indeed.

  • Cassandra says:

    Amazing how those two up there resemble each other in profile. At least in that photo.
    Never noticed before.

    – – –

    To Name,

    Sorry, didn’t see your reply from last week till now (been away).

    1. Right, kind of cultural, but not a musician.

    2. Right again, have difficulties getting my head around it.

  • Claudio says:

    New word alert:

    “Dominguise”. Verb. To be so desperate for clicks and web traffic that you start to include references to Placido Domingo in the title of posts that are only tangentially about the tenor in question.

  • Jane says:

    I hope JK sings on and on, for as long as he feels good and is motivated to do so.

  • Bobby says:

    And here we have just those toxics who are the problem and most who will never know what it is to even stand on a stage and all that comes with it. A bunch wanna be singers from the local conservatory staff,top floor opera house powers, lazy chorus people or directors assistance who all know more than the singers themselves, you all don’t get it, you are the problem and if you have not realized that there is more to life then just standing on stage and being compared or trashed by the unknowing peanut gallery then you will never get it. Oh, I am sure one or two of you are also vocal coaches from important opera houses who know much more than everyone else because you have singer wanna bees overpaying you by the hour to inflate their little egos…. Art is out the window and the Art of Singing and the journey of it, is one most of you will never know or understand. To even posses a voice like Jonas is one of the grandest gifts, and he who posses it and does whatever is needed to preserve it, is in it for all the right reasons. Those reasons which pertain to him and no one else. #I know more about your voice then you do

  • BrianB says:

    Pretty much what I would expect to read in a skymall magazine. Not to diss skymall mags, Opera News’s “Singular Sensation” cover article on Kaufmann is also empty PR. JK, though much younger, has certainly far surpassed Placido’s small cancellation record.

  • Maria says:

    Oh, no, God forbid! Don’t these people ever know when to stop? Brace yourself for Kaufman probably also singing baritone and taking work off real fine baritones when work is scarce for most singers unless you are star.

  • Anne says:

    To sing , to performe , is that not enjoying life?
    Is it only the ordinary day that is “the LIFE”?

  • Don says:

    I am 76 and my high C is still there but maybe a bit thinner than 30 years ago.
    It comes down to knowledge of your voice and good technique. Kaufmann and Domingo have the slightly more throat focus which tends to result in longer careers.
    Pavarotti became very mask focussed later in his career but sang carefully. The Italian style has more ‘mask’ focus and the voice can drift to where it can get hurt.
    Tenors are scarce so unlike sopranos they are often pushed too quickly and too early.
    The message is: be kind to your voice and that will extend your career.