Jonas Kaufmann: I know of many suicides in our family of musicians

Jonas Kaufmann: I know of many suicides in our family of musicians


norman lebrecht

January 14, 2021

The German tenor gave a press conference this morning at Madrid’s Teatro Real with Joyce DiDonato and Javier Camareno.

All three spoke about adjusting to non-performance and to virtual performance.

Kaufmann said music had never been shut down before and the closure was taking a terrible human toll.

You can watch the video here.



  • Manu says:

    Maybe it is worth mentioning that this press conference took place because the three of them are performing this week on consecutive days in Madrid at the Teatro Real. It would be fair to acknowledge the great work done by this institution, the musical community in Spain, including politicians, managers and audiences.

    • Joseph says:

      It nowadays completely outclasses the Gran Teatro del Liceo.

    • Jeremy says:

      Great work? In one of the worst affected countries in the world by covid the teatro real continues to give public performances. You have got to ask yourself why they are continuing to endanger the lives of the musicians (especially) and the public. There must be something fishy going on…money laundering perhaps?

      • Manu says:

        Yeah sure, they are so irresponsible. One question: the audience, the artists, are they obliged to attend the performances? But well, you know, these Spaniards… all corrupt, lazy, etc.

        • Mequedoencasa says:

          The musicians are obligated to play if they want to keep their jobs. The public, well, let’s say that there are many people that refuse to believe that they might actually contract the virus. How big is the public? There are limits, so in effect they are continuing to perform for a small audience. The question is why, considering the risk. Maybe Manu has the answer?

        • Sheila says:

          I hope you are joking. There is corruption and stupidity everywhere, one only has to look at one’s mirror.

        • Sheila says:

          You should consider before you write despising a whole country. These Spaniards, as you say, are like everyone else. Surely there is no coutry without corruption and stupidity. And, by the way, the singers are not spaniards and they came. Are they corrupt too? Where are you from? Venus?

        • Eloise says:

          Think twice before you insult a whole people, it sounds xenophobic.If you are a Spaniard yourself, as your name suggest, then you should be asking yourself a different question.

  • Karl says:

    In an earlier post I suggested opera singers, musicians and fans should be first in line for vaccines, but I got a lot of down votes. In some places prisoners are getting moved up in the queue to get vaccines.

    • sam says:

      So you know where to go.

      • Scientist says:

        Go ahead and keep endangering public health spreading information from a page that looks like it was designed by someone who just learned about HTML. Never mind that most of those links are about “side effects” which are entirely normal and expected for a vaccine.

        And no, opera singers (and much less “fans”) should not be first in line for vaccines.

        • Bloom says:

          Extremely expensive tickets! Kaufmann and his agents enjoy a very special treatment here.

          • Richard Leeburg says:

            The tickets are expensive because the audience is limited. I don’t know what the limit is, but if it is only 250 people ( for example) then they will raise the ticket price. Does it really make sense? Richard L.

          • Bloom says:

            The tickets for the other two recitals , organized in similar conditions ( Camarena s had even orchestral accompaniment), were less expensive ( let s say decent). But the obscene demands of Kaufmann s management is already famous in the business, I guess. In Madrid, they are getting even more obscene.

          • Ariadna says:

            You are absolutely right. Kaufmann `s prices were enormously high and the atmosphere within the Teatro Real was as cold as outside. Kaufmann was aloof, as if unhappy to be there and surely he only came for the money; he has never before shown any interest in Spain, least of all Madrid. He just came for the money given that the rest of venues in the world are closed.

          • Helen says:

            Don’t be ridiculous. Of course he wanted to be there. Otherwise he would have cancelled! Why would he take the trouble to travel in horrible weather to Madrid if he wasn’t happy to do so. I have read some very positive reviews of the concert. He seemed happy to be there and he sings because it is his passion. I wish I could have been there . If you were you should count yourself lucky indeed!

          • Bloom says:

            “are famous”, sorry.

          • Bloom says:

            The theatre s management also wants to milk a lot of money out of JK’s hyped notoriety . But the public who pays for these very expensive JK tickets is often very uneducated, noisy, attracted only by the glamorous star aura . I don t think it is the public the artist Kaufmann needs. It is perfect for the star Kaufmann.

          • Eloise says:

            But surely that is the audience he deserves if he does not care to sing at lower prices for the real music lovers who unfortunately cannot pay 300 euros to hear him sing.

        • Hayne says:

          Don’t pay attention because they are only “Chinese” scientists here. Can’t trust them you know.

          Don’t forget possibility of Bells Palsy. I’m sure winds and brass will line up with that small possibility in mind.

          Look at this article about the “vaccine.”

          Do you seriously want to take it? Really?

    • BruceB says:

      Any time you say something that makes you sound like a human being with a heart, people assume it’s a joke.

  • Bloom says:

    He’d rather worry about his own self-destructive drive which he tends to elude by projecting it onto the others.

  • Don Basilio says:

    While other singers struggled to survive, Kaufmann was all over the place during this pandemic, desperately thinking only on how to make money, but clearly being on a free-fall concerning his voice (sounding really terrible). What did Herr Kaufmann do to help these other musicians, how much money did he try to raise for them, how much did he himself donated?
    Zero! He was too busy launching his cheesy Christmas album and promoting his book on home shopping tv.
    How I like people trying to seem intelligent but at the same time doing literally nothing about it… just empty words!

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      This is nasty, envious stuff. All fuelled by the regressive Left, no doubt.

      You’d have loved living in the old USSR where the government did EVERYTHING.

    • Helen says:

      You know nothing about Herr Kaufmann. Perhaps if you show a bit of intelligence and listen to what these 3 singers actually said at this news conference, you may learn something. They acknowledged many things that you complain about. And just as aside. If he is asked to do things is he supposed to sit back and say ” O perhaps I shall clear it with that guy Don Basilio first ” You are ridiculous.

    • Jane says:

      That is bait for we Kaufmaniacs…yet I fear highlighting all the altruistic acts of Herr Kaufmann won’t shift your perspective one iota, so… frankly, why should I?

    • Olga says:

      I abolutely agree with you. He is all market and money. So much that, although we have rarely seen him in Spain ( and never with an opera in Madrid!) he finally comes … when everywhere else is closed.

    • franc says:

      didnt he give 5000 dollars or euro for something or other? that isn’t much, but it’s better than…nothing?

      • EU person says:

        Domingo sonated 500 000 dolars to help musicians which lost their jobs because of COVID. 500 000 by Domingo vs 5000 by Kaufmann.. Kaufmann is not the most generous man… He should not PR this donation,

  • Olassus says:

    Shakespeare turned to narrative poetry in 1593 and 1594 when theaters were closed due to the plague.

  • Diane Valerie says:

    Pedant alert: the delightfully diminutive Mexican tenor is Javier Camarena (not Camareno) …

    • Frasquita says:

      I don’ t think your alert is pedant. I still cannot understand why English speakers find it so difficult to spell a Spanish surname.;-)

  • Guest says:

    What do you want to tell us? He should have spoken in a more abstract way of for example casualties? Same content different effect.

  • Stuart S says:

    Jonas didn’t mention the murders. RIP christmas carols x

  • Margaret says:

    How rich coming from JK, who showed up with COVID to ROH Fidelio and infected everyone there in Feb (then cancelled the dress and all but 1 of the shows), and whose social media is full of hugging colleagues whilst in ‘socially distanced’ productions.

  • Carol says:

    I pray that the Arts and Musical performances will resume this year. I pray for the world’s musicians.

  • Olga says:

    Only a pademic has brought Kaufmann to Madrid! We can consider ourselves fortunate indeed. He does not speak Spanish- pity, being so fluent in French, Italian and English. He feels sorry for musicians in general. Well, Domigo donated half a million to help musicians in need, maybe others should follow suit? But again, thank you for finally visiting Spain,better late than never, whatever the reasons.

    • Not fond of Kaufmann says:

      I am not Kaufmann’s fan, but French and Italian are languages of opera that he sings. Singers are taught opera languages during their professional studies, and naturally they learn them when they sing. English is taught in most of schools, but not Spanish, and Kaufmann does not sing zarzuela. Regarding donations, personally I did not donate everything I earn to arts, so I cannot blame anybody else.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Jonas is more handsome than the law allows!! xx