Jonas Kaufmann

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Jonas Kaufmann
Jonas Kaufmann La Scala 2015.jpg
Kaufmann, La Scala, 2015
Born(1969-07-10)10 July 1969
Munich, West Germany
OccupationOpera singer (tenor)
Years active1994–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 in Germany and abroad, most notably at 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

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 in Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss, at the Salzburg Festival of 2012 Salzburger Festspiele 2012 - Ariadne auf Naxos.jpg
Emily Magee as Ariadne and Kaufmann as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss, at the Salzburg Festival of 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 Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic.

He performed in at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 2006/7 in the role of Don José in Bizet's Carmen to critical acclaim. He made his debut as Alfredo in Verdi's La traviata at the Metropolitan Opera alongside Angela Gheorghiu in 2006 to great critical acclaim [9] and also sang the role in 2007 and 2008 at the Met and the Royal Opera House in 2008. In May 2008, Kaufmann made his role debut as Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca in Covent Garden, again to critical acclaim. [10]

In 2008/9, he performed in Massenet's Manon in Chicago opposite Natalie Dessay and in the title role of a new production of Wagner's 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 Puccini's Madama Butterfly for EMI.

In January 2010, he assumed the title role in 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 Wagner's Die Walküre , scheduled to be presented in its entirety during the 2011/12 season. [11] In September 2011, he underwent surgery to remove a lymph node from his chest. [12] [13] [14] In December, he was back, performing the title role in Gounod's Faust . [11]

On February 15, 2013, Kaufmann made his first appearance in the title role of Wagner's Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera. His performance received rave reviews from critics. [15] In July of that year he was named a Kammersänger of the Bavarian State Opera by the Bavarian Ministry of Arts. In December he sang the role of Don Alvaro in Verdi's La forza del destino with the company. [16]

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. [17] That November he sang the same role in another production of Manon Lescaut at the Bavarian State Opera. [18]

On September 12, 2015, Kaufmann became the first German to perform the British seafaring anthem "Rule, Britannia!" at The Proms' Last Night. [19]

On February 23, 2016, the documentary Jonas Kaufmann: An Evening with Puccini was released in select theaters in the United States. The film centered around Kaufmann's 2015 performance at La Scala Milan and featured rare archive footage. [20] [ needs update ]

In 2018, Kaufmann made his debut as Tristan in concert performances of the second act of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. [21]

Personal life

Kaufmann has been married twice. His first marriage to mezzo-soprano Margarete Joswig produced three children, and ended in divorce. [22] [23] His second marriage is to the opera director Christiane Lutz. [24] The couple married in late 2018, [25] [26] and have a child, born in March 2019. [27]



YearAlbumCreditsPeak positions
2001Der VampyrJonas Kaufmann / Franz Hawlata / Regina Klepper / Anke Hoffmann / Markus Marquardt / Thomas Dewald / Yoo-Chang Nah / WDR Rundfunkchor Köln, WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln & Helmuth Froschauer        
2006Strauss LiederJonas Kaufmann / Piano Helmut Deutsch       
2008Romantic AriasJonas Kaufmann / Prague Philharmonic Orchestra / Marco Armiliato31  148   
2008Puccini: Madama Butterfly Angela Gheorghiu / Jonas Kaufmann / Enkeleida Shkosa / Fabio Capitanucci / Orchestra e Coro dell' Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Roma / Antonio Pappano       
2009SehnsuchtJonas Kaufmann / Mahler Chamber Orchestra / Claudio Abbado 48  119   
2010Schubert – Die schöne Müllerin Jonas Kaufmann   133   
Verismo AriasJonas Kaufmann51  68   
2011Die Superstars der Klassik – Singen die schönsten Opernarien Erwin Schrott / Anna Netrebko / Jonas Kaufmann341     
2012 Königskinder – Engelbert HumperdinckJonas Kaufmann / Isabel Rey        
2013WagnerKaufmann / Runnicles / Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin43309976   
Verdi Requiem Anja Harteros / Elīna Garanča / Jonas Kaufmann / René Pape / Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala / Daniel Barenboim 3751     
Best ofJonas Kaufmann  148    
Jonas KaufmannJonas Kaufmann 59 145   
The Verdi AlbumJonas Kaufmann167120535855100
2014 Winterreise Jonas Kaufmann, Helmut Deutsch 382211187173 
Du bist die Welt für michJonas Kaufmann, Julia Kleiter (soprano), Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, conductor: Jochen Rieder119 84 55 
2015The Age of PucciniJonas Kaufmann 56     
Nessun Dorma – The Puccini AlbumJonas Kaufmann10816123 2622
Aida Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Ludovic Tézier, Erwin Schrott, Antonio Pappano & Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia5574     
2016Dolce VitaJonas Kaufmann77
2017Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde Jonas Kaufmann264313612278
L'OpéraJonas Kaufmann261310256
2018Eine italienische Nacht – Live aus der Waldbühne BerlinJonas Kaufmann2936
2019Wien [40] Jonas Kaufmann, Vienna Philharmonic and Ádám Fischer 102131130
34 2 [43]
"–" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.



As Paul with Marlis Petersen as Marietta in Die tote Stadt, Bavarian State Opera 2019 Marlis Petersen and Jonas Kaufmann, Bayerische Staatsoper Munchen, 2019.jpeg
As Paul with Marlis Petersen as Marietta in Die tote Stadt , Bavarian State Opera 2019

Kaufmann's repertoire includes the following:



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Further reading