Jonas Kaufmann Interview
Presented by Tom Service. This edition of Music Matters is given to an extended interview with Jonas Kaufmann, acclaimed by the New York Times as "currently the most in-demand, versatile and exciting tenor in opera". Tom meets Kaufmann in London, as he starts rehearsals for Jonathan Kent's new staging of Puccini's Manon Lescaut at Covent Garden.
This edition of Music Matters is given to an extended interview with Jonas Kaufmann, recently acclaimed by the New York Times as "currently the most in-demand, versatile and exciting tenor in opera". Tom met Kaufmann in London, after a day’s rehearsals for Jonathan Kent's new production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut at the Royal Opera House.
Born in Munich in 1969 into a musical family, Kaufmann’s early memories include his grandfather playing Wagner at the piano, and listening with his older sister to his father’s LP collection of symphonic works by Mahler, Bruckner and Shostakovich. It was his childhood experiences in choirs though which started a love of singing, and after a spell studying mathematics at university he switched to vocal studies at the Music Academy in Munich. Unsure of his chances of success at the top level (the stages of La Scala and The Met seemed “as remote as the moon”), and struggling to come to terms with his voice, Kaufmann’s first big break came in the role of Jaquino in Beethoven’s Fidelio at La Scala in 1998. Since then he has conquered stages all over the world, and gathered legions of fans eager to catch his performances in the operas of Mozart, Giordano, Puccini, Bizet, Verdi and Wagner.
Since his last interview on Music Matters (2010), Kaufmann has released albums dedicated to two of the most prominent composers in his current operatic career, Verdi and Wagner, as well as a recent recording of Schubert’s song-cycle Winterreise with pianist Helmut Deutsch, his former professor at the Munich Academy – music with which he recently transfixed an audience at Covent Garden. Kaufmann also talks openly about his early experiences in music, and explains the technique which gives his voice its recognisable depth and burnished quality. He discusses his future plans for the big roles in the operas of Verdi and Wagner and he and Tom debate the essential purpose of opera - how great operas connect with audiences, and the role of new productions in keeping the art form alive.
|Interviewed Guest||Jonas Kaufmann|