jonas kaufman article

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jonas kaufman article

Post by lennygoran » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:42 am

A friend sent me this article fwiw. Len

How Jonas Kaufmann suffers for his art

The world’s greatest tenor has revealed the secrets and sacrifices of success: do not meet fans in winter, always carry a first aid kit, forget about a family life.

Jonas Kaufmann has opened up for the first time about the breakdown of his marriage and demands placed upon the world’s greatest singers.

Kaufmann, 48, who is regularly compared to Plácido Domingo and frequently assumes the top male roles at the world’s greatest opera houses, separated from the mother of his three children, Margarete Joswig in 2014.

In a new book, the operatic tenor said that living apart from his family while his career developed had been painful and difficult to reconcile. “It’s just that I can’t be both on the road and a father,” he said in a biography out this week.

“Margarete was effectively a single parent for 15 years . . . the itinerant life of an opera singer isn’t particularly conducive to a family life.”

Kaufmann first performed at Covent Garden in 2004 as Ruggero in Puccini’s La rondine and made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York two years later. Since then he has been in demand all over the world.

The singer, previously described as “a sex symbol in the service of opera”, told his biographer, Thomas Voigt, of the demands on singers to keep their bodies and voices in the best condition possible. He prepares for performances with exercises, yoga and deep relaxation and will drink up to five litres of salted water.

Opera is widely recognised as one of the most demanding as well as stimulating art forms. Kaufmann said he did between 60 and 80 performances a season, adding that “if your voice cracks on a note you can be sure that two hours later that particular passage will be posted on YouTube”. He has been criticised for pulling out of shows at short notice through illness.

Voigt, a long-term collaborator and friend of the singer, writes in his authorised biography, to be published by Orion Books, that the rise of selfies presented singers with a problem. “The fact that selfies have now largely replaced autographs has reduced the distance between artist and fan to a minimum: heads have to be pressed close together for photographs that can be posted on Facebook.

“Against this background Jonas Kaufmann avoids getting too close to fans during the winter months: the risk of catching a virus and cancel forthcoming performances is simply too great.”

Kaufman said he dressed to “protect myself against the cold and draughts” but it was impossible through contact with his own family and “shaking hundreds of hands” after performances to “protect yourself from every germ”.

“The voice is a very fragile instrument; once it has been damaged this may spell the end of a singer’s career,” he said in the book and spelt out the dangers of onstage artificial smoke.

He said he always carried a first aid kit, including an inhaler and a humidifier, and rarely drunk alcohol apart from the occasional glass of beer or wine, and a “good gin and tonic”.

The singer said that while sacrifices were worth it, his home life had paid the price for his international career.

“This often got me down while I was away, and I can still remember how much it pained me each time I returned home and my children’s first question was: ‘When do you have to leave again?’ But what can you do?”
Artistic temperament

● Jessye Norman, it was said by her fellow soprano Deborah Voigt, asked for the air ahead of her to be spritzed to remove dust as she walked on stage. Norman said the story was “not a fact”.

● Luciano Pavarotti liked to sing and to eat. He would have a mountain of pasta before and often after a performance. “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever we are doing and devote our attention to eating,” he once said.

● Voigt, rejected for roles because of her size, had her stomach stapled.

● Enrico Caruso was superstitious, consulting an astrologer before crossing an ocean and never starting a journey on Tuesday or Friday.

● Angela Gheorghiu, the Romanian soprano, thinks sex before a performance can relax the voice. Sex with the tenor Roberto Alagna, then her husband, “calms me down and makes me feel less under pressure” she once said.

● Kathleen Battle once phoned her management team in New York from her limousine to tell them to call her chauffeur and get him to turn down the car’s air conditioning.

● Nellie Melba, who gave her name to peach melba and melba toast, insisted during a performance of Romeo and Juliet in 1931 that it be brought to a premature end because her voice had gone.

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