The Independent, 19 January 2008
Interview by Marlijn Folkers
My week: Jonas Kaufmann
The Royal Opera House star on the week he sang opposite a leading lady he had only just met

After a busy week last week, visiting my grandmother for her 100th birthday in Hamburg, I try to focus again for the first night of La Traviata tonight. The show is very successful, despite a cold I have been struggling with since Christmas. Anna Netrebko, who plays Violetta, coughs too, but she has to anyway, because she has to pretend she is dying. I joke that it's nearly a coughing competition, and for us it's very funny, but the audience doesn't seem bothered and the performance still goes perfectly well. It's the first time I perform with Anna and the chemistry on stage really works.


I spend some time with my family, and we have a lovely dinner at L'Atelier du Robuchon. There's no performance tonight and we eat so much we nearly roll home.


My wife gets a call early this morning from our baby-sitter in Germany, who tells us that our two-year-old has quite a fever and my wife decides she needs to go home. I have lunch with friends from the opera world, who are here to perform in other shows. Again there's no performance tonight, so I spend it on the phone to my agents in New York discussing new projects.


The second performance of La Traviata is tonight and I warm up my voice this morning for half an hour. Then I receive an unfortunate call from the theatre; Anna is not well enough to perform tonight and indeed when I speak to her she is nearly inaudible. Another soprano. Ermonela Jaho, is to fly out all the way from New York to perform tonight. She has very little time to prepare and I have never performed with her before. At first, the audience tonight seems a bit disappointed that it's not Anna on stage, but Ermonela gets better and better and during the Third Act she is outstanding. She improvises so well that no one notices the little mistakes. Her performance turns out to be fantastic.


I meet some friends, discuss some business and prepare for other opera roles that I will be doing in the future. Despite the good week I've had, I have to visit the osteopath as well; I made a funny movement yesterday and seem to have hurt a bone in my chest. It hurts to breathe, which isn't nice for a singer.

'La Traviata' is at the Royal Opera House until 14 February (; 0207 304 4000)

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