Excerpts from articles
Opera News: The best of the year
We offer our favorites of the CDs and DVDs we reviewed in 2008.
January 2009
THE BEST FROM THE BEST: A baker's dozen of must-have recital discs from 2008 were
Isabel Bayrakdarian's evocative Gomidas Songs (Nonesuch); Arie di Bravura from the dazzling Diana Damrau (Virgin); Elena Cecchi Fedi's album of Porpora cantatas (Hyperion); Juan Diego Flórez's elegant Arias for Rubini (Decca); Un Frisson Français, Susan Graham's affectionate French song survey (Onyx); Jorma Hynninen's bracing Merikanto Songs (Ondine); Jonas Kaufmann's aptly titled Romantic Arias (Decca); Tales of Opera from Simon Keenlyside (Sony); the luscious Souvenirs from Anna Netrebko (DG); René Pape's ambitious Gods, Kings and Demons (DG); Krassimira Stoyanova's impressively comprehensive I Palpiti d'Amor (Orfeo); Rolando Villazón's exuberant Cielo e Mar (DG); and a haunting collection of songs from Theresienstadt by Anne Sofie von Otter and Christian Gerhaher (DG).
The January 2009 Choice CD Blog - Our Favorites from 2008
WCLV clasical FM, January 16, 2009
... Romantic Arias — Jonas Kaufmann, tenor; Prague Philharmonic/Marco Armiliato (LondonDecca 10837): This disc brings to mind the Great Blizzard of March 2008. Jonas Kaufmann visited Cleveland for Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Cleveland Orchestra, but the Saturday night concert was canceled due to the weather. Forty or so ticket holders missed word of the cancellation and braved the wrath of a Cleveland snow storm to arrive at a mostly dark Severance Hall. Tenor Kaufman and baritone Christopher Maltman apparently felt such devotion merited a reward. So, they treated the hardy souls to an impromptu recital!
Opera News, February 2009, Interview with Marco Armiliato
Molto Armiliato
His affinity for German repertoire is on display in Romantic Arias, the Decca recital disc with tenor Jonas Kaufmann. The orchestral portion of Max's aria from Der Freischütz is persuasively idiomatic and exhilarating. At the beginning of Faust's Invocation à la Nature from Berlioz's Damnation, the composer notes that the conductor must mark all nine beats of the 9/8 time signature in order to achieve precisely the nuanced fluctuations in tempo specified in the score. The final vocal phrase, in which Faust despairs over the happiness that eludes him, is marked un poco ritardando; Armiliato calibrates the ritardando sublimely, abetting Kaufmann's moving characterization of Faust. "Jonas Kaufmann is a very, very intelligent singer," he says. Upcoming releases for Armiliato include a Decca album of verismo arias sung by Renée Fleming and a Sony disc of Neapolitan songs with Salvatore Licitra.
The Independent, 6 March 2009
Jessica Duchen
Angela Gheorghiu: 'Difficult? No, I seek perfection'
The discs, on EMI, bring Gheorghiu together with a very special new recording partner: the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann, one of opera's most exciting emerging stars. She proudly claims the credit for "discovering" him. "We were planning this recording around four years ago and we thought we would have Roberto [Alagna], but then he left EMI," she explains. "And in the same period, I needed a tenor for La Traviata at the Met. My manager gave me a tape of Cecilia Bartoli singing with Jonas and said, 'He is singing in Zurich, but nobody knows him – just listen and trust your instinct.' I listened, and I said, 'OK, he is my Alfredo.' Afterwards I suggested to EMI we should have Jonas for Butterfly. It's like Roberto, and Tony Pappano: when somebody has an unusual talent I never make a mistake. I have a gift for discovering, and I was right!"
IMZ Newsletter #02/2009
IMZ at MIDEM 2009
As special guests, several well-known artists followed our invitation to be present at their screenings. Accompanied by representatives of the polish government, composer Krystof Penderecki attended the first presentation of the exceptional concert film of his work The Seven Gates of Jerusalem, a fact that attracted much interest, as well as Clasart’s celebration of the new Jonas Kaufmann portrait and the Zurich Carmen production with the named and Vesselina Kasarova as it was topped by Mr Kaufmann’s presence, who himself saw the material for the first time…

Jonas Kaufmann with Katja Raths/Clasart and Alexander Pereira/Opernhaus Zurich at MIDEM 2009 © Kazuaki Sasai
As for forthcoming new productions; 2010 is a promising start with a new Lohengrin (directed by Hans Neuenfels and conducted by Andris Nelsons (the City of Birmingham's Symphony Orchestra's new Music Director from September 2008. Ed) with Jonas Kaufmann, Annette Dasch and Evelyn Herlitzius). In 2011 there will be a new Tannhäuser directed by Sebastian Baumgarten and conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock. In 2012 a new Der fliegende Holländer conducted by Christian Thielemann with Adrianne Pieczonka, followed in 2013 by a new Ring (all that is known about this is that Thielemann will not conduct it) and after nothing new for 2014, in 2015 there will be a new Tristan und Isolde, directed by Katharina Wagner and conducted by Christian Thielemann.
Frenchman takes helm of Paris Opera house
Mar 23, 2009, PARIS (AFP)
— Globe-trotting Frenchman Nicolas Joel on Monday unveiled a star-studded 2009-2010 season for the Paris Opera, the first of his new six-year mandate at one of the world's great opera houses.... Starring in the 20 works scheduled for the season are some of the world's leading singers: Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon, Jonas Kaufmann, Marcelo Alvarez, Juan Diego Florez and Joyce DiDonato....
Philippe Jaroussky speaks to BBC Music Magazine about the discs he has been listening to this month:
BBC Music Magazine, April 2009
"I'm so jealous of mezzo Joyce Di Donato. She has the range I'd like to have! On Furore she can be delicate but also very tragic and dramatic. Her articulation is so precise, her intonation is perfect, the way she projects her voice...everything is amazing."

"Jonas Kaufmann has everything. He is a tenor who can sing very different repertoire with the same integrity and quality. He never shows off, keeps things simple, and his voice is so powerful yet charming."
Abu Dhabi counts cultural blessings at music, arts festival - Feature
02 Apr 2009, DPA
And from March 21 until Thursday, the Emirates Palace Hotel presented a star-studded lineup at the 6th Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival.
Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu and German tenor Jonas Kaufmann thrilled the audience at the opera gala opening concert with arias from "Nabucco," "La Traviata" and "Madame Butterfly," earning several encores. The hotel concert hall's acoustics, which are less than optimal, detracted only minimally from the general enthusiasm.
No. 1 UK Classical Chart position for EMI Classics recording of 'Madama Butterfly' starring Angela Gheorghiu
EMI, Pressrelease
EMI Classics is delighted to announce that on Sunday 8th March, its brand new complete studio recording of the Puccini opera Madama Butterfly starring Angela Gheorghiu in the title role, went straight to No. 1 in the UK Classical Chart.
How Sweet The Sound: An Interview With Joan Baez
Huffington Post, October 14, 2009
Joan Baez: Mostly what I listen to when I turn on my little iPod is opera.
MR: Which operas?
JB: I listen to different voices, like Jonas Kaufmann. I just sort of discovered him. And my favorite is Swedish, Jussi Bjorling. Most people don't know about him, but to me, he's the greatest tenor that ever lived.
Opera: highlights of 2009 - The best moments in opera during 2009
The Telegraph, 14 Dec 2009
By Rupert Christiansen
.... Best tenor Jonas Kaufmann in the Royal Opera’s Don Carlo...
Best albums of 2009
Herald Sun, Australien, December 20, 2009
OUR reviewers name their top 10 albums for 2009.
6. Jonas Kaufmann, Jonas Kaufmann (Decca/Universal). Germany's pre-eminent tenor sings Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and Wagner _ brilliantly.
Review of the Year 2009: Opera
MusicalCriticism.com, 23 December 2009
... Jonas Kaufmann's Don Carlo at Covent Garden lifted an otherwise disappointing revival of Nick Hytner's dreary production, leadenly conducted by Semyon Bychkov ...
2009 Year in Review:Aught-nine oughta hears - Free Press music reviewers cue up their favourite albums from the past year
Winnipeg Free Press, 29/12/2009
James Manishen:....2. Jonas Kaufmann, Angela Gheorghiu, Antonio Pappano, Puccini: Madama Butterfly (EMI)
Puccini's unforgettably teary opus is flawlessly cast and paced as if recreated afresh....
Best of the year's classical recordings
Bay Area Reporter, 31 December 2009
Tenor Jonas Kaufmann similarly went from incredibly fine to undeniably great in 2009, when his peak achievement on disc was his Pinkerton in EMI's Madama Butterfly. That studio recording was one of the year's finest in any category, with an equally exemplary Butterfly from Angela Gheorghiu and superlative conducting from Antonio Pappano, whose year on disc also included a blazing Verdi Requiem and a distinguished Schubert Schwanengesang with tenor Ian Bostridge (also EMI).
Best of the year - We offer our favorites of the CDs and DVDs we reviewed in 2009.
Opera News, January 2010
SCREEN STARS: The best opera DVDs of 2009......Francesca Zambello’s lavish Covent Garden Carmen, with Anna Caterina Antonacci and Jonas Kaufmann at full sizzle (Decca)....
Mark Forrest's highlight of the decade...
Classic FM - A Decade in Pictures
"Interviewing German tenor Jonas Kaufmann and then seeing him and Simon Keenleyside in Don Carlo at the Royal Opera House. Unusually for an opera the story isn't completely mad and the music is Verdi's best. The pianist Marielle Labeque was sitting next to me as her husband Semyon Bychkov was the show's conductor. She was talking me through the production and issuing warnings: 'you'll be weeping after this next act.' Unmissable."
Auszug aus einem Interview mit Simon Keenlyside
Musicweb International
Don Carlo

"I like this slightly longer version [Don Carlo: Modena, 1886] of the Italian very much if you’ve got a tenor strong enough to do it, and honestly the audience are in for a fabulous treat with Jonas because – we know him from Tosca, and we know his reputation, but in this piece he is without compare. He is absolutely fantastic in it. He has elasticity, he has ample volume, he has the character and I’m really looking forward to watching the audience have the privilege of hearing him. A strong way of putting it, but its true.” I point out that Kaufman has also entered the consciousness of the country via his opera albums (which have attained a similar popularity to Keenlyside’s ‘Tales of Opera’). “It is remarkable to have a star who is worth his weight in gold. He’s the real deal. He’s a good actor, he’s a fabulous singer, a good colleague”.
Auszug aus einem Artikel über Simon Keenlyside
Opera News, March 2010
Our interview in September 2009 finds him bustling around a sleek pied-à-terre in London, offering a selection of teas and a fresh box of cookies. Twelve hours ago, he was carried off the stage of the Royal Opera at the end of a sweeping, grand performance as Rodrigo in Verdi's Don Carlo. On the morning after, he is bubbling over with praise for his colleagues Jonas Kaufmann, who sang a strikingly comprehensive Don Carlo, and Ferruccio Furlanetto......
Mozart's mature operas
Sunday Times, February 28, 2010
Zurich’s previous Idomeneo was Jonas Kaufmann — a member of the company since 1991* — and I was lucky enough to catch him there as the king’s son in Humperdinck’s wonderful but wickedly neglected Königskinder (Royal Children). It is hard to imagine this role more thrillingly or poetically sung than by Kaufmann in his current form. What a pity that the Metropolitan Opera — or Covent Garden, for that matter — isn’t mounting a production for him in 2010, the centenary of the opera’s world premiere in New York.   *2000/2001
On the horizon
The New Yorker, March 15, 2010
The Luc Bondy “Tosca”—the most reviled Met production in recent memory—returns next month with the kind of cast that lets the audience ignore the décor: Karita Mattila, Jonas Kaufmann, and Bryn Terfel. James Levine conduct
Antonio Pappano raises the roof
March 14, 2010
Pappano’s summer “festivals” at Covent Garden are invariably the most star-spangled of the season, and next year’s is no exception, with Gheorghiu and Karita Mattila sharing Tosca, and Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel returning as Mario and Scarpia....
... In addition to Albery’s Tännhauser, there are two more newly staged rarities, conducted by Mark Elder: Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride (to be directed by Paul Curran, the Scots-born director of Norway’s National Opera) and Cilea’s verismo warhorse Adriana Lecouv­reur, with the mouthwatering cast of Gheorghiu, Kaufmann and the Russian mezzo Olga Borodina....
Q&A with Dmitri Hvorostovsky
WhatsOnStage, 16 May 2010
What colleagues do you most like to work with?
Renee Fleming. I adore her. She’s been a wonderful colleague for many years. I love Jonas Kaufmann. He’s one of the best tenors now. Roberto Alagna too. And Sondra Rodvonovsky. We toured recently and did Il trovatore four times together last year.
theartsdesk Q&A: Sir Charles Mackerras
22 October 2009
Is this one of the reasons why you don’t conduct on the Continent because a lot of the worst excesses of this style of theatrical direction, of Regietheater productions, come from Germany and France?
Yes, I’ve tried to avoid it and of course slowly but surely they realise that I don’t want to do it, so they don’t ask me. To be quite honest, I now prefer concert performances of operas. I like semi-staged operas and, at the Edinburgh Festival, I am hoping to do – it will probably be my farewell – a big concert performance of Idomeneo. I’ve done a lot of concert performances at the Edinburgh Festival: Fidelio, Leonora, Der Freischütz, which Jonas Kaufmann was so wonderful in - it was his UK debut, I think - and also I did all the famous Mozart operas.
Limelight Magazine Australien: Today's 12 Greatest Singers
Cover Story: Straight to the heart
For our annual opera issue, an expert panel, including Limelight editor Francis Merson, ABC Classic FM presenter Damien Beaumont and soprano Emma Matthews, chose the 12 greatest opera singers performing today and their most outstanding recordings.

(I don't have the magazine, but Dr. B. published the names on her Blog):
Renee Fleming
Natalie Dessay
Anna Netrebko
Elina Garanca
Cecilia Bartoli
Joyce DiDonato
Juan Diego Florez
Jonas Kaufmann
Placido Domingo
Simon Keenlyside
Rene Pape
Bryn Terfel

Opera News, July 2010: On the beat
In late April, I went to the Met's current cast of Carmen (mostly drawn by the opportunity to hear the astonishing JONAS KAUFMANN as Don José). During Act II, however, I wasn't quite prepared for the dance sequence in Lillas Pastia's tavern. What had seemed simple and spirited when the production opened had been transformed into something that looked more like a New Haven tryout of West Side Story, complete with cartwheels from the evening's Carmen, KATE ALDRICH. The ballet during the prelude and entr'actes remained, adding little and distracting us from the music.
When I got home, I looked online and found an interview with the choreographer, CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON, in The Faster Times. Wheeldon gave the party line about how revitalizing the audience with updated productions was "the only way to go." He added, "This Carmen is very sexy, it's no-holds-barred." I appreciate Wheeldon's point that the singers and dancers should be more fully integrated in opera performances. But I'm afraid he's fallen prey to an idea that is creeping through opera productions like a virus — the notion that incessant movement is the equivalent of dramatic and sexual tension. Stillness can be a wonderfully powerful quality on the opera stage; it can accomplish so much more than all that laid-on, hyped-up busyness.

(ich habe diesen Ausschnitt hier weniger wegen der Aussage, dass Jonas "astonishing" war, das wissen wir ohnehin, sondern wegen der Einstellung des Schreibers zu dem Ballett in der New Yorker Carmen. Ich fand das Ballett während der Zwischenakt-Musik zwar nicht extrem störend, aber es war überflüssig wie nur etwas überflüssig sein kann, und die sportliche Einlage von Kate Aldrich fügte auch nicht viel Sinnvolles zu der Inszenierung hinzu. Ich würde gerne wissen was der Schreiber von der Mailänder Carmen halten würde :-)). Bei dem letzten Satz fällt mir sofort der Werther in Paris ein. - Marion)
Gramophone Magazine, August 2010
Interview with Abbado
Few – if any – conductors today are held in such esteem as the acclaimed maestro Claudio Abbado, so a chance to discuss what lies behind his music-making is both a fascinating read and the fulfilment of one of our editor’s ambitions.

Abbado famously almost never gives interviews. But, in a fascinating exclusive, Gramophone spent time with him at his home in Bologna, for which we invited many of his musical friends and colleagues to propose questions – including Maurizio Pollini, Jonas Kaufmann, Yuja Wang, Thomas Quasthoff, Gil Shaham, Barbara Bonney and many others.

Jonas' question
What particular reason are there for your love of „Lohengrin“? Why do you think it is often described as Wagner’s “Italian” opera? And why does one so seldom hear from singers what Wagner says he was looking for – “German” expression coupled with bel canto style?

Abbado's answer:

With the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, we did a recording with Jonas Kaufmann of opera arias by Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and Wagner. I think he’s a great singer and I like him very much. “Lohengrin” is a great opera and more lyric, say, than “Tristan”, but I don’t like to make classifications of opera. As to the question about seldom hearing what Wagner was looking for, the answer is that there are not too many good singers like Jonas Kaufmann.
The Irish Times, July 17, 2010
New score at Bayreuth as opera upstages warring Wagners
For the first time in many years the on-stage action – a Lohengrin premiere and the Bayreuth premiere of star tenor Jonas Kaufmann – has attracted more attention than the off-stage intrigues of the composer’s warring descendants. Not that the antics of Germany’s uncrowned royal family are any less entertaining than usual, but more on that later.
Opera News, August 2010
Maestro Richard Bonynge, long a devotee of Jules Massenet, explains his passion for the neglected oeuvre of the Gallic master to SYLVIA L'ÉCUYER. 
Lyric Impulse
ON: What are some of your fondest memories of conducting Massenet?

RB: Oh, there are so many wonderful things! I did Werther at the Met quite a lot, and I would have liked to do it more often. I did it with Crespin and Kraus, wonderful singers. In fact, I was just watching the other day, on the television, a production from the Bastille in Paris with Jonas Kaufmann. Wonderful singing! I hope he will do some more, rather than go into heavier German repertoire, where I think lots of people will want to push him.

  www.jkaufmann.info back top