Jonas Kaufmann walks on water

Jonas Kaufmann walks on water


norman lebrecht

September 04, 2019

Jonas Kaufmann is the cover boy of October’s Opera News, pegged to a new Sony album.

Its editor-in-chief, F. Paul Driscoll, writes:

‘At fifty, singularly attractive and charismatic, Kaufmann is an authentic star with surpassing powers of persuasion. Other tenors may sing with greater volume, but few can invest a character with the emotional force that Kaufmann brings to a performance…’


And walks on water?



  • The View from America says:

    I quite like JK’s artistry, but this fawning is enough to make most of us gag.

  • Olassus says:

    Odd that the Metropolitan Opera’s magazine features him when he spends all of next season in Europe except for Act III of Tristan in concert in Boston and at Carnegie Hall.

    • Yes Addison says:

      The magazine covers opera generally. Yes, often the features are tied to whatever the Met is having in the near future (there were several articles on Porgy & Bess in the issue before this one), but not always. They did a cover story on Anja Harteros last year, and she hasn’t appeared at the Met in more than a decade.

  • Karl says:

    He’s not releasing a recording where he sings all the rolls in Il Trovatore, is he?

  • Bloom says:

    Mr.Kaufman is quite a memorable singer, on the whole, but he made some debatable choices in terms of repertoire, clothes, stylists, biographers, managers, personal advisors etc. These debatable choices define him as well , apart from his memorable interpretative qualities, and build up a more nuanced portrait of the man/artist than the usual superlatives ( the greatest , the biggest, no.1) or extremely negative criticism ( check the youtube channel ”This is opera” – the meeting point of Kaufmann haters) he is pelted with .

    • Frank says:

      I like to add that the youtube channel “This is opera” trashes just about every modern opera singer such as Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne, Edita Gruberova, Joyce di Donato, Anna Netrebko, Jessey Norman, Cecilia Bartoli, Juan Diego Florez, Javier Camarena, Dmitri Hvorostovsky etc, etc, etc. Just so you know.

    • Pepin says:

      Clothes? You are talking about his singing, and you are considering “debatable choices” about CLOTHES?

      • bloom says:

        Of course. He couldn t have sung those bombastic/cheesy covers of Italian canzone in Waldbuhne without the D&G kitschy outfit.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    ‘Twer to consider too curiously to consider it so. (Hamlet)

  • shimon schieber says:

    he does!

  • Jay Bee says:

    The most overrated ingolato tenor of all time…

    • Olassus says:

      The bass-baritone Wolfgang Koch has his tone in the throat; his is a living definition of the term. Yet nobody complains. For tenors, though, ingolato is a high crime and misdemeanor, letting people bitch about “baritonal” or “bronzed” sound regardless of the notes actually being sung, their projection, or any degree of expression. Get over it, Jay Bee.

  • Harry Levy says:

    Well at least they didn’t dress him up like Richard Tauber, monocle an all.

  • Lulu says:

    I still very much love a lot of the stuff (opera and lieder) he did in the interval 2004/2006 – 2013/2014 ( he was in his prime then – incredible expressivity, rich artistic imagination and a voice in a relatively good state). The last 3-4 years have been rather sad – not only the voice has been more and more problematic, but also his artistic persona has grown very inconsistent despite the crazy success – he is gradually becoming a form without a content. Unfortunately. However , I still consider him one of my favourites as I am being continuously in touch with his past work which I hold dear.

    • Nola J Colman says:

      Having recently experienced his Fanciulla at the Met, Otello in London and Munich plus Forza in London I can tell you that the expressiveness and rich characterization are very much intact. He is no longer voraciously devouring new roles (content) but the few will be carefully selected.

      • Lulu says:

        I found his latest ”Fanciulla” and the ROH ”Forza…”, especially, very disappointing ( I watched the HD transmissions) . Minimum embodying of the roles, lack of motivation for doing something on stage, a little bit more than just exhibiting his ”star charisma” and problematic voice. The difference from his Wien Dick and his Munich Alvaro is huge.

  • Edgar Self says:

    I’m nodding in agreement over Lulu’s post, having heard Kauffmann on stage in her time-coulisse in “Manon” at Lyric Opera, in very good French. His Tristan film and recorded “Oberon” as Huon of Bordeaux, in English, the language of its premiere, are two other experiences, and recorded Lieder.

    I liked Kauffmann in “Manon” but much prefer Karl Liebl, the best Huon for me, certainly over Domingo and Helge Roswaeenge.

    Baritonal tenors don’t bother me … I’ve survived Ramon Vinay and Lauritz Melchior, and tenorial baritone Thomas Hampson, who recorded Siegmund.Melchior and Vinay both began as baritones, and Vinay ended up as one again.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Instead of all these subjective opinions and rhetorical comments, I’d like to know what’s on this “Wien” cd and decide for myself if it’s something I want to hear. Is that too much to ask?

  • Bruce says:

    Standard procedure for Opera News (known in some circles as “Opera Snooze”). They choose a singer who has either made a splashy Met debut recently (Javier Camarena, Pretty Yende) or someone who’s super famous (Renéeeeee, Flaccido, etc.) and write a puff piece about them.

    It’s no different than most arts/ entertainment publications: ever notice that when a famous pop artist has a new album coming out, suddenly articles about their diet & workout, their thoughts on animal rights, their beauty regimen, their deep, deep thoughts about music… are everywhere? Then the album drops, and you don’t read another word about them for 5 years unless they get divorced or arrested (or possibly shot).

    • Nola J Colman says:

      True. Except with Kaufmann you also get those (mostly) laudatory reviews of his performances plus informative interviews (4 languages) that keep his name in the news. 2018/2019
      was unique with a wedding and new baby.