Jonas Kaufmann

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Jonas Kaufmann
Jonas Kaufmann 9 May 2008 London.jpg
Kaufmann outside London's Royal Opera House after the dress rehearsal for Tosca, 2008
Born (1969-07-10) 10 July 1969 (age 46)
Munich, Germany
Occupation Opera singer (tenor)
Years active 1992–present

Jonas Kaufmann (born 10 July 1969) is a German operatic tenor. He is best known for his performances in spinto roles such as Don José in Carmen, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur, and the title role in Don Carlos. He has also sung leading tenor roles in the operas of Richard Wagner with success in Germany and abroad, most notably the Metropolitan Opera in New York.[1] He is also an accomplished Lieder singer.[2][3] In 2014 The New York Times described Kaufmann as "a box-office draw, and... the most important, versatile tenor of his generation."[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Kaufmann was born in Munich. His father worked for an insurance company, and his mother was a kindergarten teacher. He had one older sister. He started studying piano when he was eight, and he sang in his elementary school choir. Although he studied for mathematics entrance exams, in the summer of 1989 he began his vocal training at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich. While studying, he sang some small roles at the Bavarian State Opera. He graduated from school in 1994 achieving distinctions both in opera and concert performances.[5]

In 1995, after a vocal crisis, Kaufmann received help from American baritone Michael Rhodes who taught him a "new way of singing" and how to become "more relaxed in my voice and in myself."[6] In Kaufmann's book Meinen die wirklich mich? he said, "To find a Michael Rhodes that can really help you and bring you to success is really a great stroke of luck."[7]


Emily Magee as Ariadne and Kaufmann as Bacchus, Salzburg Festival 2012

He began his professional career at Staatstheater Saarbrücken in 1994[8] and was soon invited to make debuts in German theaters such as the Stuttgart Opera and Hamburg State Opera, as well as international debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opéra National de Paris, and La Scala. He made his Salzburg Festival debut in 1999 in a new production of Busoni's Doktor Faust and returned there in 2003 as Belmonte in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail and for concerts of the Beethoven's Ninth with the Berlin Philharmonic.

He performed in Covent Garden in 2006/7 in the role of Don José in Bizet's Carmen to critical acclaim, and also sang Alfredo in Giuseppe Verdi's La traviata at the Metropolitan Opera and in Covent Garden in 2008. In May 2008, Kaufmann made his role debut as Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca in Covent Garden, again to critical acclaim.[9]

In 2008/9, he performed Manon in Chicago opposite Natalie Dessay and in the title role of a new production of Lohengrin at the Bavarian State Opera. He also sang Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival opening night performance of the 2010 season; the production was staged by Hans Neuenfels and conducted by Andris Nelsons.

His debut recording with Decca, Romantic Arias, was released in January 2008. He has also recorded a Schubert song cycle on the same label and the role of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for EMI.

In January 2010, he assumed the title role in Jules Massenet's Werther at the Opéra Bastille; the performance was recorded and released on DVD in November 2010.

In April 2011, he returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Siegmund in director Robert Lepage's new production of Richard Wagner's Die Walküre the second part of his much larger work Der Ring des Nibelungen, scheduled to be presented in its entirety during the 2011/12 season.[10] In September 2011, he underwent surgery to remove a lymph node from his chest.[11][12][13] In December, he was back, performing the title role in Gounod's Faust.[10]

On February 15, 2013, Kaufmann made his first appearance in the title role of Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera. His performance received rave reviews from critics.[14] In July of that year he was named a Kammersänger of the Bavarian State Opera by the Bavarian Ministry of Arts and in December sang the role of Don Alavaro in Verdi's La forza del destino with the company.[15]

In February 2014 Kaufmann sang the title role in Massenet's Werther at the Metropolitan Opera. He followed this by touring with the Schubert Winterreise song cycle with Helmut Deutsch.[2] In June 2014 he made his debut in the role of Des Grieux in Puccini's Manon Lescaut at the Royal Opera House in London.[16] That November he sang the same role in another production of Manon Lescaut at the Bavarian State Opera.[17]

On September 12, 2015, Kaufmann became the first German National to perform the British seafaring anthem Rule Britannia at the BBC Proms' Last Night.

Personal life[edit]

Kaufmann was married to mezzo-soprano Margarete Joswig (de). They separated in April 2014. They have three children.[18][19]



Year Album Credits Peak positions
2006 Strauss Lieder Jonas Kaufmann / Piano Helmut Deutsch  –  –  –  –  –  –  –
2008 Romantic Arias Jonas Kaufmann / Prague Philharmonic Orchestra / Marco Armiliato 31  –  – 148  –  –  –
2009 Sehnsucht Jonas Kaufmann / Mahler Chamber Orchestra / Claudio Abbado 48  –  – 119  –  –  –
2010 Schubert – Die schöne Müllerin Jonas Kaufmann  –  –  – 133  –  –  –
Verismo Arias Jonas Kaufmann 51  –  – 68  –  –  –
2011 Die Superstars der Klassik – Singen die schönsten Opernarien Erwin Schrott / Anna Netrebko / Jonas Kaufmann 34 1  –  –  –  –  –
2012 Königskinder – Engelbert Humperdinck Jonas Kaufmann / Isabel Rey  –  –  –  –  –  –  –
2013 Wagner Kaufmann / Runnicles / Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin 43 30 99 76  –  –  –
Verdi Requiem Anja Harteros / Elina Garanča / Jonas Kaufmann / René Pape / Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala / Daniel Barenboim 37 51  –  –  –  –  –
Best of Jonas Kaufmann  –  – 148  –  –  –  –
Jonas Kaufmann Jonas Kaufmann  – 59  – 145  –  –  –
The Verdi Album Jonas Kaufmann 16 7 120 53 58 55 100
2014 Winterreise Jonas Kaufmann, Helmut Deutsch 38 22 111 87 1 73  –
Du bist die Welt für mich Jonas Kaufmann, Julia Kleiter (de) (soprano), Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, conductor: Jochen Rieder 11 9  – 84  – 55  –
2015 The Age of Puccini Jonas Kaufmann  – 56  –  –  –  –  –
Nessun Dorma – The Puccini Album Jonas Kaufmann 10 8 161 23  – 26 22
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.



As Don José with Magdalena Kožená as Carmen, Salzburg Festival 2012

Kaufmann's repertoire includes the following:



  1. ^ Profile in The Times (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Tommasini, Anthony (21 February 2014). "A Tenor Finds Energy for Intense, Lyrical Pain". New York Times. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  3. ^ Christiansen, Rupert (19 December 2014). "Opera Review of 2014: the start of opera becoming the domain of the elite?". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  4. ^ Woolfe, Zachary. "For a Sage Tenor, It’s All in the Timing". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "About me". Kaufmann website. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Micklethwait, Brian (14 February 2008). "The teacher who saved Jonas Kaufmann’s voice". Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  7. ^ Voigt, Thomas (2010). Jonas Kaufmann "Meinen die wirklich mich?": Henschel Verlag GmbH & Co.KG. ISBN 978-3-89487-669-2. p. 52
  8. ^ Biography on Decca website
  9. ^ Hilary Finch, The Times, Tosca at Covent Garden, 14 May 2008
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Metropolitan Opera Archives. Kaufmann, Jonas (Tenor) (performance record)
  11. ^ News: Surgery successful on Kaufmann's official website,
  12. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (August 29, 2011). "The Tenor Jonas Kaufmann Keeps Plans Despite Surgery". The New York Times
  13. ^ Dear Friends – Open letter from Jonas Kaufmann published on the website of Fuji Television. "Lymph nodes" is written in the Japanese version.
  14. ^ Tommasini, Anthony. "Dark Nights of the Soul in the Kingdom of the Holy Grail". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  15. ^ Apthorp, Shirley (29 December 2013). "La forza del destino, Bavarian State Opera, Nationaltheater, Munich – review". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 December 2014
  16. ^ Clements, Andrew (18 June 2014). "Manon Lescaut review – Kaufmann's singing is exceptional". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  17. ^ Neuhoff, Bernhard (16 November 2014). "Triumph für Jonas Kaufmann, "Manon Lescaut" an der Bayerischen Staatsoper". Bayerischer Rundfunk. Retrieved 26 December 2014 (German).
  18. ^ Jinman, Richard (1 August 2014). "Tenor Jonas Kaufmann seeking passion, not perfection". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  19. ^ Braunmüller, Robert (15 April 2014). "Jonas Kaufmann hat sich von seiner Frau Margarete Joswig getrennt". Abendzeitung (in German) (Munich). 
  20. ^ "Jonas Kaufmann discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  21. ^ "Jonas Kaufmann discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Cummings, Robert. Jonas Kaufmann. AllMusic. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  23. ^ a b c d e f Gurewitsch, Matthew (21 February 2007). "Opera Critics Sing Jonas Kaufmann's Praises". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  24. ^ Serrou, Bruno (22 June 2003) "Une Damnation au poil selon Olivier Py". Res Musica. Retrieved 12 November 2012 (French).
  25. ^ Christiansen, Rupert (19 November 2010). "Adriana Lecouvreur, Royal Opera House, London, review". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  26. ^ a b c d e Opernhaus Zürich. Ensemble: Jonas Kaufmann. Retrieved 11 November 2012 (German)
  27. ^ a b Allison, John (7 April 2015). "Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, Salzburg Easter Festival, review: 'thrilling'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  28. ^ a b c d Gurewitsch, Matthew (15 May 2009). "Tenor at the Top Is Determined to Stay There". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  29. ^ Freeman-Attwood, Jonathan (April 2003). "Review: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria". Gramophone Magazine, p. 91
  30. ^ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (19 September 2000). "Marcellina befreit Fidelio und Florestan, Eine Dresdner Sternschnuppe macht Beethoven Konkurrenz: Ferdinando Paers hochkarätige "Leonora" in Winterthur ", p. 59 (German)
  31. ^ Gramophone Magazine (October 2003) "Review: Nina, o sia La pazza per amore", p. 94
  32. ^ a b c Tanner, Michael (13 November 2010). "Spellbound". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  33. ^ a b Jahn, George (6 August 2012). "Strauss' 'Ariadne,' Puccini's 'Boheme' both please". San Francisco Chronicle (via Associated Press). Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  34. ^ Manon Lescaut, June/July 2014 production details, Royal Opera House
  35. ^ Leukel, Jürgen (17 November 1998). "Gut geöltes Räderwerk: Der Barbier von Sevilla wieder im Großen Haus". Stuttgarter Zeitung (German)
  36. ^ Saarlaendisches Kultur-Journal (June 1995). "Und er sticht nicht!". Retrieved 12 November 2012 (German).
  37. ^ Berliner Zeitung (10 November 1997). "König Roger". Retrieved 12 November 2012 (German).
  38. ^ Stevens, David (9 May 2001). "'Mignon,' Out of Cold Storage". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  39. ^ Halter, Bernard (31 March 2005) "Du très beau linge pour Sir John!". Res Musica. Retrieved 11 November 2012 (French).
  40. ^ Laska, Andreas (25 October 2005). "Triomphe pour Verdi et ses brigands avec Jonas Kaufmann". Res Musica. Retrieved 11 November 2012 (French).
  41. ^ Täuschel, Annika (28 June 2013). "Il Trovatore" bei den Münchner Opernfestspielen". Bayerischer Rundfunk. Retrieved 3 July 2013 (German).
  42. ^ Inverne, James (September 2008). "Leading light Jonas Kaufmann". Gramophone Magazine, p. 37
  43. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (4 August 2010). "Avant-Garde Director Gathers Rats Into a Wagnerian Maze". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  44. ^ "Jonas Kaufmann wins best male opera singer award", BBC News Entertainment & Arts, 23 April 2013. Accessed 23 April 2013

External links[edit]