First-night raves for Kaufmann in Tote Stadt

First-night raves for Kaufmann in Tote Stadt


norman lebrecht

November 19, 2019

Simon Stone’s new Munich production of Korngold’s post-1918 signature opera received wave after wave of applause.

The first reviews are no less ecstatic.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung headlines it as ‘huge success’.



BR24 reports ‘great cheering’ at the curtain calls and says the entire run is sold out.

Its reviewer waxes ecstatic over Jonas Kaufmann and Marlis Petersen in the central roles. Kirill Petrenko conducted.

photos: Wilfried Hösl / Bavarian State Opera Munich

Some audience views:



  • Andrzej Filończyk, the Frank, sang splendidly too.

    But I have to say Korngold’s tendency to overstate proved irksome after a magnificent preceding evening of Berg.

  • RW2013 says:

    Maybe KP can investigate some of the lesser done EWK repertoire with the BPO.

  • Bloom says:

    On the radio, the orchestra sounded outstandingly well ( this opera becomes an avantgarde piece in Petrenko s approach), the soprano , quite agile. And Kaufmann struggled a lot. At times, the struggle was hard to listen to. In the last act though, his sound fitted quite nicely in the bizarre orchestral environment.

    • Jane says:

      Agree that the orchestra sounded terrific! But as for Kaufmann – I thought he was superb, as was Petersen. Full of energy and emotion. For me, vocally very impressive. Supporting roles were also very strong. The whole mix worked extremely well.

      • Bloom says:

        Superb? Come on…Save some superlatives for the following evenings. The premiere evening is usually his worst . In fact, he made sometimes good use of some problematic vocal material within Petrenko s orchestral vision.

  • Peter says:

    The raves were actually for Marlis Petersen, so maybe it was she who deserved to be in the title of this post…

    “Überstrahlt wird er von seiner Bühnenpartnerin, der phänomenalen Marlis Petersen” – which means that he was outshined by his stage partner, Marlis Peterson.

    Why all this huge fuss about Jonas Kaufmann? And why all the accolades all the time if many newspapers wrote he was struggling in the role?

    • Helen says:

      I don’t agree with you with reference to JK. He sounded strong throughout the opera. I was listening on the radio so therefore more concentrated on the voices. I think he was tired by the end and did suffer a break in his voice close to the end. But gosh what a formidable sing by both him and Ms Peterson.

      • BrianB says:

        In the last act it was impossible to tell Kaufmann and the actual baritone Frank apart, even following with score they sounded identical. But what a murderous part Paul is!
        Sorry, but the twenties produced no better German opera, bar one, than DTS, certainly none by Strauss.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The second picture looks like a normal working day at a music agency.