Jonas Kaufmann – jetzt auf Home Shopping channel

Jonas Kaufmann – jetzt auf Home Shopping channel


norman lebrecht

December 19, 2020

Rub your eyes.

Has any tenor sunk so low at Christmas?



  • casanova says:

    How terrible cheap he is!

  • Brighton Dr says:

    Looks like a home shopping show, with products presented in a pushy and unelegant manner.
    Wait… that’s exactly what this is!!!
    I understand that everybody needs the money, especially with all the uncertainty at the moment, but I have not seen any other singer being so desperate and unclassy as Kaufmann has been during these past months. He turned himself into a ridiculous “seller”, no artistry involved here.
    To answer the question: NO, nobody has sunk so low as Kaufmann did (both vocally and concerning his poor media exposure). Shameful, Herr Kaufmann, shameful!

    • Ewa says:

      There is one person worse – Piotr Beczala who get the price around 20.000 euro from the Polish far right governmant – during big street protests against this governmant and its severe abortion rules. It supouse to be announced also.

    • BARRAL genevieve says:

      Jonas Kaufmann, par les tristes temps qui courent, à été modeste et courageux de faire cela ! Honneur à lui, au contraire !

  • Stephen Harding says:

    Kauf, man!

  • Chicagorat says:

    Riccardo Muti regularly sinks way lower than this. Just YouTube his little skit with Fabio Fazio and the punch line about male genitals. (Ok, on Italian national TV, but still). Nothing will entertain Muti more than male genitals and boobs jokes, on TV or off, and those who know him understand what I am saying.

    • Chicagoan says:

      Bravissimo. For the doubters out there, check out for master classes on snake oil sales, with the compliments of the underpaid young Cherubini musicians subsidized by Italian/EU taxpayers. Kaufmann is a prince compared to THAT.

    • Paris mon amour says:

      He was in fact promoting his book at the time on TV with popular host Fazio. But one has to understand italian to really appreciate how vulgar and crass Muti is most of the time, especially with italian audiences.

  • Helen says:

    That English translation must have been done in a hurry! Some VERY strange words in the English subtitles which definitely do not reflect what was said 😉

  • Concerned opera buff says:

    Better get used to it. As singers become more desperate, they will have to hustle for products to sell. Only the superstars can sell Rolex or cd’s. Everybody else will have to find other ways to get income. Stephanie Blyth has branched out to cabaret. Some singers might get into the jazz scene, give master classes, or get a teaching position. Some act as hostesses on Met broadcasts. Renee Fleming is artistic advisor at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Cecilia Bartoli is director of festivals in Europe. Eric Owens has a musical program on WFMT radio. Lawrence Brownlee has his own podcast channel. However, young artists might find themselves singing for advertisements, or if really desperate, drive for Curb taxi.

    • Joe Pearce says:

      I have recordings of Jan Peerce, Charles Hackett and Ezio Pinza singing on radio in the late 1930s, and then being interviewed by the host about how good Lucky Strike cigarettes were for their throats (which is the reason they had just sung so well!).
      And in the early 1950s, I remember a full-page advertisement on the back page of Life Magazine, in which Rise Stevens was smoking a Camel cigarette, while over her photo was superimposed what they called the Camel T-Zone (to show how good and gentle Camels were for your throat). Actually, Mr. Kaufmann’s efforts here are a step up from such things, so more power to him. After all, he could be pushing vaping!

  • Mvarc says:

    I was surprised how interesting and charming the interview was. No more than every pop star who gets booked onto chat shows to plug their latest record! I liked his two salmon recipes! At the end he sang the “chestnuts roasting by an open fire” song with his hostess in rather elegant idiomatic English. I find his inelegant “crooning” sometimes very distracting, but overall he’s a great singer and artist and I find the extreme Twitter-enabled attacks on him and his singing really offensive.

  • IP says:

    Mr. Merchant was always worthy of his name, but the presenter is macabre!

  • Timothy H says:

    I would say that some of the Pav’s antics were as bad. I don’t like what I have heard of the CD but I hope he makes a ton of money from it and brings much joy to those who do. Favorite mistranslation from this clip: partypooper/ partypoker. Ha!

  • Fernandel says:

    A shopping show selling cooker hood, electric coffee maker, pressure cooker, whisk, toaster, microwave oven…

  • CYM says:

    Jonas should be a baryton or better, a deep-dark bass !
    How can you sing – oops, sink – so low …

  • caranome says:

    he’s hawking X’mas CDs, ferchrisakes, not Parsifal! So he’s doing the broadest sales channel possible, vs. going to individual classical magazines, radio stations and stores, where he might sell 5,000 units, vs. 100,000s. That’s smart business. How’s HSC any more declasse than NPR, or Amazon? If his agent/label are aggressive, should push all over Walmart, Costco & Target, or have a comarketing deal with Girl Scout cookies and Crest toothpaste. The snobs heavily represented here are very responsible for making the classical music genre 1% of the market.

    • Joe Pearce says:

      I agree. But it’s really too bad he wasn’t hawking Parsifal. It might introduce the opera to some impressionable people who already know the Christmas songs.

  • Jimbo says:

    The cattle are lowing !


    Oh dear. Alimony?

  • Micaela Bonetti says:

    Mein Gott!
    So sad.

  • I don’t think I have seen a worse lip-synch as the examples shown in the show, anytime. That said, what’s wrong with an artist flogging his wares? After all, the making of records and the writing of books are undertakings of a commercial nature.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      They are, indeed, Robert. But we are partly defined, at least in our own eyes, by where we flog them.

      • Inaustria says:

        “In our own eyes”, that is the important sentence, I think. In my opinion Mr. Kaufmann is smart, and not ashamed to do what is necessary. Who knows what this profession will look like in five years? He is setting up a future for himself as a possible cross-over artist, and introducing himself to a broader/different audience. Those who find he is betraying a higher art form are most likely those who have no problem paying bills. Yes, he commands a high fee on the opera stage but that is of no help when there are simply no engagements in the foreseeable future. Btw: those who are offended by Kaufmann’s appearance on Home Shopping should have a look at the marvelous soprano Sylvia Mcnair playing “The Orange Blossom Special” on her violin at various concerts. Same thing: she does what is necessary to earn a living as a performer, though its a far cry from “Poppea”.

  • Bloom says:

    The Kaufmann Corona Xmas “project” is mainly about savage ( self) marketing and ruthless fight for survival during hard times. This is not the end of it. And neither its lowest moment, I fear. The worst is yet to come. Buckle up your seat belt, ladies and gentlemen .

  • stefano di terra I says:

    I’m a dramatic tenor on the way up wish I could do this a great tenors of the fifties and sixties would have if they could have smart marketing 21st century style if you can get away with it do it it’s bizarrely entertaining

  • henry williams says:

    the interviewer gave me a headache

  • George says:

    Which other tenor in the world can score high in the charts with Otello, Selige Stunde and a Christmas album in the same year?

  • Mimi T says:

    It’s the season of goodwill to all men. Leave the lad alone. Those enjoying his Christmas CD may go on to listen to his opera recordings.

  • Joe Pearce says:

    I’ll be damned if I can find anything wrong with what Kaufmann is doing here. He’s selling his product. What is wrong with that? If it were an author or politician or doctor doing the same, we would find nothing wrong with it, but classical music lovers seem to think their passion is so rarified that it daren’t compete in the marketplace. For the record, John McCormack appeared with Bing Crosby, Dorothy Kirsten with Frank Sinatra, Tucker, Peerce and Merrill, not to mention Horne, Sills and Arroyo used to appear on Johnny Carson’s show, none of them thinking they were prostituting their art by doing so, and often doing so in order to sell a product. No wonder Opera is viewed with suspicion by musical morons!

    • PB says:

      JK is surely cheap and ridiculous here, and it seems so are his fan(atic)s…
      How could you compare Crosby, Sinatra or the Johnny Carson show with this very cheap home shopping show where the host is as stupid as a goat and even asks JK if he wears costumes and how come he does that in his performances, and where she presents his “products” in the most possible embarassing way?
      Yup, you are right, there are many “musical morons” today, it depends on how big your mirror is in order to actually see them!

  • Madeleine Richardson says:

    Back in the day The Three Tenors shows were ways of getting opera more to mainstream audiences. Jonas Kaufmann has been at the top of his profession for years now. I can’t see it being about the money.

    • Maria says:

      You should watch the recent film about how The Three Tenors got together, which came out this year to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Norman did quite a bit in it with being interviewed. Different ball game to what you think, and no comparison to this cheap and awful thing of dumbing down to the lowest common denominator.

      • Madeleine Richardson says:

        Nobody did more than Placido Domingo to bring opera to the people. He sang with Miss Piggy and very enjoyable it was too.
        But again, can’t believe it’s about money where JK is concerned. He has been at the very top for years.

  • Maria says:

    Some full stops and capital letters would have helped in the English translation! So ghastly and hyped up that I could only watch three minutes of this hour long thing before feeling sick!