(Alina war so nett, vielen Dank!)
Presenter: and we have with us the tenor, Des
Grieux, Mr Jonas Kaufmann
(very upbeat and energetic) Heeeello!
Presenter: I understand you
have had a good show tonight!
I have to say, we are very happy, the audience was very warm and welcomed
us, like it should be on a Saturday night ( tongue in cheek ;-)) giggles,
laughs...No, no, we had fun! Absolutely!
Presenter: I must say I
think this cast is so perfectly balanced, from
top to bottom , beautiful conducting in the pit, and the level of French!
Emmanuel, you could speak about that, the French is very very high level.
Emmanuel Villaume: yes we
worked very very hard on the French and it is not because we know that all
people in Chicago speak French fluently (tongue in cheek!), but (presenter
adds: I think most of them giggles) ... even if you don't speak the
language you understand when it is right and when it's wrong, you know. It
gives a flavour that is going to make it sound totally authentic. So we
had a French coach for this and I worked on it, I must say everybody was a
very good sport about it, because sometimes it is a little bit annoying.
Christopher Feigum: why are
you looking at me? We are on the radio? (Giggles and loud laughs from
EV: but it is important,
every French in the audience should understand every word of it.
Presenter: Jonas, this is
the first time you have sung this role? Isn't it?
JK: Yeah (with emphasis),
Presenter: You are enjoying
it, aren't you?
JK: (with enthusiasm) oh
yess!! Absolutely! I have to say, I love most of the French repertory,
just because they have such a variety in vocal challenges, let's out it
that way, in each part. It is not like, let's say, if you have a Verdi, it
is the same type of tenor from the very beginning to the end. But in the
French repertoire it always changes, they always demand for at least 2 or
3 different vocal types. And that gives you really a chance to... show
off... and try to give all the...
(interrupting) Sooo thaaats what you're doing, you’re showing off!!
JK: (buoyant laughter!)
(Everyone giggles) welll, I think that's what we're all paid for, thank
God! (More deep laughter!)
Presenter: once Laurence
Olivier was asked why he became an actor and he went very close to
someone's face and said: look at me, look at me, look at me! (More
laughter) I suppose that's what drives all of you here
CF: that's why singers are
so conceited .mimimimimi... (More laughter)
Presenter: This is such a
wonderful musical, dramatic production too, I mean the music and the drama
is so closely interconnected, that's what I think makes it so powerful. Of
course, Mr Kaufmann, you have to do a lot of rolling down the stage in
this production, (giggles) which might be kind of fun!
JK: yeah, I mean, it iiiiis,
especially with that kind of partner. Natalie Dessay is an absolute dream
comes true. She is the perfect match for this 16 year old girl. Well, I am
even having fun carrying her around all day long, all evening. (Giggles)
That says something! (He giggles)
Presenter: it is
remarkable, as we were talking earlier when it all works, there is nothing
really quite like it. And it all does work in this production. We have 4
more performances left, so I hope that those of you who haven't seen it
will get a ticket. Go online, buy…. (Ticket hotline or whatever) I
wonder for each of you, is there a moment in this opera which is special
to you, wonderful, that you feel strong about, particularly? That is
inspiring, some moment in this opera that you love particularly? Mr
JK: ohhh, welll...
hm, I think there are several, I mean, there is not only one. There are
some, of course, most of us would say it is St Sulpice, this scene 3-2, in
the church, when Manon is trying to convince, and actually she does
succeed in holding him back from becoming a priest and being locked away
from her and other women for the rest of his life. And she does that
pretty well, and I have to say, it's, yeah, it comes very natural,
(giggles) his decision (he laughs again).
Presenter: how about from
EV: There is lot of variety
in the piece, and it shifts from one atmosphere, from one mood to the
other. But, of course, St Sulpice is amazing. I must say the end of the 2
act, when you know you have two of the best arias of the French repertoire
coming up: the petit table with Manon, who is alone and knows she is
somehow betraying her lover. And she is saying good bye to that little,
small table where they were just very simply being next to each other and
there is a moment that is incredibly simple and intense there. And when
you arrive there you have that aria and then you have the next aria, which
is the dream of Des Grieux. Sung absolutely stunningly by Jonas, who is
the person in the world you can now sing that the best! Very simply! And
when you know you have those two arias you just get very happy. You can
feel the orchestra as well: ahh here is the moment that's coming. ( JK
giggles) I love the moment when the daddy comes, also in the gambling
scene, and there is a big concertato, a big ensemble, where everybody is
singing and it's kind of very grand and passionate. And musically, purely
musically this is a nice moment, but this is the kind of piece that is so
well written, and so rich that every performance there is a little corner,
a little bridge musically that you say: oh, there, here there is an
interesting idea, maybe we can develop that and you discover new things
that are absolutely stunning. So the piece is strong enough to let you
decide to give a little more importance to one moment than another and it
can be different according every night depending on the way you feel. But
each act builds magnificently till the end.
Presenter: Raymond Aceto, I
think I know what your favourite moment is in the opera.
RA: well, when you are done
(JK giggles), when you are done! (General laughter) Mon ami... actually it
is my favourite, but surprisingly enough it is not a musical moment. My
favourite moment is after I sing my aria and Jonas and I have a really
dramatic dialogue, in which I basically after trying to convince him in
the aria to marry the right girl, do us all proud, like you are supposed
to - he say no, I say there is no way you can change your mind, he says no
and I write him off, I disown him pretty much. But it is one of my
favourites because of the dramatic of it, as singers always musical
singing comes first, but this is a moment where it is nothing but
dialogue, beautifully underscored, but it is a great acting moment. It
just gives us, gives me a chance to do something that is not vocal, not
musical. We don't get a lot of those as singers.
Presenter: How about for
CF: I have 2: my act 2,
ironically, I love the piece in act 2. I think the way it was composed
lends itself to, it grabs you attention, from the very beginning when the
baton goes down, to the end and it pulls you through and I love act 2 for
that. And I love act 4 for the same reason. It grabs your attention right
at the beginning and pulls you through to the very very end. He was a mad
master in composing this way, as many of the greats were. But in this
piece in particular, those 2 are my favourite moments.
Presenter: How about
Jake Gardner: I think mine
is when Natalie sings the Gavotte and, as it is staged in this production,
she directs it all towards me and I am having a very proud moment as
Bretigny (JK giggles) and I really enjoy connecting with her during that
EV: I actually tonight I
did one thing, which is what sometimes you do. When the audience applauds,
sometimes as a conductor you applaud also (JK: mhmm) a singer on stage. I
was applauding in the direction of Natalie and she was looking the other
direction, not towards the audience. And you were there and you took the
applause for you, so (everyone is laughing). It was as if you had done it
JK: he diiid, he diiidd!
EV: he did! (JK is
Presenter: sometimes people
react to what is going on on stage and the reaction means as much as the
action and the singing. And when you get a performance like this when
everybody is so committed to the theatrical elements of it, and everybody
on stage... this is a production so beautifully directed that everybody,
the chorus, the ballet, the actors...there is a sense of everybody being
in the moment at all times, and this is what makes it such a thrilling,
dramatic as well as musical experience.
RA: you are right; there is
an improvisation, every performance, within certain boundaries.
JK: I mean that is how it
should be, actually. That is really the dream come true of having the
basics, let's say the fundamental blocks, everybody knows where he enters
and where he exists and the rest is play. Everyone tries to slip into his
character and the rest is something that naturally develops while we are
Presenter: or sometimes it
happens because something goes amiss. Now the other night, at the end of
the St Sulpice scene, Natalie is supposed to run...
JK: ohhh, yeah...
Presenter: and she
JK: veeery, veeeery funny!
Presenter: and she
JK: her heel got stuck in
something, I don't know, under her skirts, and she was kneeling on the
floor and instead of blocking me from going away, I realised: she's not
following me! What's going on? So I turn around and I see her eyes almost
popping out ( giggles) : pleeease help mee!( He laughs) So I really said (
continues laughing) that was really mercy that time, that held me back and
not something else. (Laughs)
JG: Actually watching I
thought, OMG! She's broken her leg or something! She can't get up (JK
still laughing). So I rushed back stage and was very happy to find out it
was only the heel and the skirt.
JK: yeah! (Amused, with a
smile in his voice) We got nailed in that spot until the curtain came down
Presenter: That's what
makes it so exciting!
Presenter: when you can
take that moment and turn it into something that still works dramatically.
And I think everyone in this cast is capable of doing that and that is
what makes it exciting to watch. Briefly what's next for each of you?
JK: After this I am going
directly to Paris, I'm going to do in Garnier Opera there a new production
of Fidelio and Florestan. So this is pretty much the next 2 months, apart
from having many concerts and recitals and things like that (giggles)
squeezed in between. (He laughs)
EV: I have a Carmen in Los
Angeles, with a very good Escamillo (everybody is laughing)
RA: and I also have a
Carmen in LA with an amaaazing conductor... (Everyone laughing)
Thanks from the presenter for
being there and the magnificent performances of Manon and THE END!