Breaking: Kaufmann cancels London ‘due to Covid impact on his voice’

Breaking: Kaufmann cancels London ‘due to Covid impact on his voice’


norman lebrecht

June 24, 2022

Message from the ROH Covent Gare:

The Royal Opera House today announces that sadly Jonas Kaufmann has withdrawn from the opening performance of Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci on Tuesday 5 July 2022. He has also withdrawn from all further performances of Pagliacci in this double bill. This is due to suffering from Covid and the impact this has on his voice. We hope that Mr. Kaufmann will be well enough to sing the role of Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana in the later performances of this run.

This is the first indication of long Covid aftershocks in a leading singer.

ROH goes on to say: SeokJong Baek will sing the role of Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana on Tuesday 5 July 2022 – making his role debut alongside Aleksandra Kurzak (Santuzza), Dimitri Platanias (Alfio) and Aigul Akhmetshina (Lola), conducted by Antonio Pappano.


  • Anon says:

    With how he sounds, he must have had covid for years….

  • Gustavo says:

    Nen Guatn haats ned um, un um nen Schlächtn is ned schad.

    • Maria says:

      No idea why you’re talking to yourself! Probably another negative comment given thd thumbs down, so no need to translate for this English speaking, British-based London site.

  • waltraud riegler says:

    No Long Covid, but for the second time COVID in London!
    I heard him 2 weeks ago in very bst voice!

    • Lorna says:

      My thoughts exactly. I heard him in Barcelona and he was OK. Perhaps these two operas were a bit too much even for him. Alagna does it, though.

  • Bloom says:

    His schedule looks like a self-destructive ride. Admitting vocal weakness in these perilous circumstances is the best thing to do .

    • Dr. Laura Mann says:

      Perhaps they have just not given him adequate rehearsal time on the second opera. – ?? Who knows. He is one of the world’s finest tenors today!

      • Bloom says:

        I doubt it. He simply is not fit vocally for the job. And, at the same time, he probably wants to save some voice for a few summer concerts that bring him a lot of dough.

  • Jon says:

    Bryn Terfel withdrew from Don Pasquale earlier this year citing the effect of Covid on his voice and repertoire, so either you don’t think Bryn is a leading singer, or Jonas is the second (at least) to do so.

    • Dr. Laura Mann says:

      I don’t know; I’m just responding to the comment re/Kaufmann. — Auf wiedersehen! I have to run………

  • JK says:

    And who will be his replacement? Alagna? After Anita Rachvelishvili canceled her Santuzza and was replaced by Aleksandra Kurzak, people started joking that now Kaufmann will cancel and be replaced by Alagna… Maybe Cav AND Pag is a bit too much for him. He DID sing it at Salzburg in 2015 but afterwards he declared that it was too tiring and he would no longer sing both operas at once. So I was a bit surprised that he changed his mind.

  • William Evans says:

    Another cancellation’s hardly news when it comes to Mr Kaufmann – and we all know it’s not a pattern exclusive to the post-covid era! It was only yesterday that the ROH posted an hour-long YouTube ‘Introduction to Cav & Pag’, with Antonio Pappano. The presenter, Ian Skelly, mentioned Kaufmann as Turiddu/Canio. I’m sure SeokJong Baek will perform admirably (and reliably).

  • TishaDoll says:

    The man is very physically fragile for decades now. Like Verrett, who insisted on singing strenuous soprano roles and cancelling due to ‘allergies’ he sings rep that is too strenuous for his voice and it keeps taking a toll on his health

    • guest says:

      But he had his first serious vocal crisis after just two years of professional singing. Back then he was high lyrical tenor and was ill all the time. Which caused problems because his colleagues had to replace him constantly. So he did what a singer should do – he found a new teacher who rebuilt his technique. And he still had health problems. Maybe he sings roles too heavy for him, but, on the other hand he had no problems singing Tristan last year, so… In fact, nobody knows what his “real voice” is, what he should sing and what not, or what his health problems are. I mean, HE probably knows but he rather won’t discuss it publicly

      • TishaDoll says:

        He has a perfect Alfredo voice. Alfredo in 2007 was a perfect fit, nice lyric tenor voice, period. He sings Otello like Wether. His basic voice is known.

        • Diane Valerie says:

          Just heard Mr. Kaufmann singing “Pourquoi me réveiller?” on Musiq3 and he sings Werther like he’s singing Otello …

  • Parsifan says:

    Voice ? What voice ?

  • Norabide Guziak says:

    Good Italian cast for Cavalleria. Where are the woke idiots protesting ‘cultural appropriation’?

  • IP says:

    Sad to lose the only non-USSR member of the cast.


    Not again ….

  • Maria says:

    Long Covid is just awful. It comes and goes, and it’s very debilitating. If his body is tired, he’s not going to get through Pagliacci, and then he’ll get criticised anyhow for not cancelling, and then make himself voiceless for future performances . Glad he was in good voice when you heard him, but a wise singer is someone who can say no, and then pick up endless criticism from the armchair critics.

    • Duane says:

      Sometimes, when people criticize singers canceling, they may not realize, that the voice, is one’s instrument, and, so many ailments, that make one sick, physically, can affect the person’s instrument! Like, for instance, perhaps a cellist, may have a bad cold, but, generally that would not affect his bowing, playing the cello. If Herr Kaufmann does, indeed, have Long COVID, who knows how and for how long, that could affect him! It is sad that such a great artist is having his voice affected, by COVID!

  • Tom Phillips says:

    Like Harteros, he seems to cancel more often then he appears.

  • lorenzo says:

    He need to tell his agent not to sign for every roll offered.

  • Dorothea Lenhart says:

    Es ist erschreckend was für Haßkommentare auf dieser Seite erscheinen, wie abfällig hier über einen Menschen ob Sänger oder nicht, geurteilt wird, der nur zum zweiten Mal an Covid erkrankt ist. Was empfinden solche Personen, die andere Menschen beleidigen, herabsetzen und sich in Anonymität damit ausleben. Allerdings trägt Herr Lebrecht mit falschen Behauptungen auch noch dazu bei.

  • Lorna says:

    It is the second time I pay a lot of money and booked flights and hotels to hear Kaufmann. He cancelled Tosca in Paris and now Pagliacci in London ( and Cavalleria, I fear) . Is it just bad luck or is Kaufmann too busy asking for 5000 pounds to meet him and singing is no longer worth ? He gets more money by not singing.

    • Julia says:

      Lorna, I understand how frustrating you are for the wasted effort and money. But it’s really just bad luck.
      I paid to hear Kaufmann (in operas and recitals) 12 times from 2014 to 2019. And he hasn’t canceled any of those performances. 🙂
      So I just wish him a speedy recovery.

      • Lorna says:

        Lucky you. Still, he is famous for his constant cancelling. And now we hear every day : not the 5th, not the 8th… we are on tenterhooks. Why not saying the truth? He is not coming at all, so be honest and say it once and for all.

        • Julia says:

          Yesterday Ermonela Jaho and Fabio Sartori were also canceled due to covid. Anita Rachvelishvili has withdrawn from “Cavalleria Rusticana” on June 17th… Is the Royal Opera House a hotbed of infection?
          It remains to wish all the sick a quick and complete recovery, and their replacements not to catch the infection.

  • ELISABETH says:

    absolument sidérée de lire certains propos désagréables sur Mr KAUFMANN , c’est un être humain et sa voix est son instrument qu’il protège, grand artiste pour moi