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Jonas Kaufmann Bio (560 words, April 2024)

Hailed as “the world’s greatest tenor” by The Telegraph, Jonas Kaufmann has performed over 70 roles in the world’s leading opera houses. The New York Times has described him as having “clarion top notes, the blend of virility and tenderness in his singing,” and praised his “refined musicianship.” Not only a great vocal technician, his performances are also praised for their dramatic impact, “He embodies each role with such an investment that he makes the viewer think that this is the last time he will perform this work.” (Telerama). One of today’s greatest interpreters of Lieder repertoire, Kaufmann is also in very high demand in concert. His performances and recording have earned him multiple honors and awards including eleven ECHO/OPUS Klassik awards, “Singer of the Year” from multiple classical music magazines including Opernwelt, Diapason and Musical America. He has been knighted as a Chevalier de l’Ordre de l’Art et des Lettres, and has been named a member of the Bayerischer Maximiliansorden. In 2022 he was appointed Austrian Kammersänger, in 2024 he received the Ordre de la Légion d’honneur.

Last season, Kaufmann has appeared at the Bavarian State Opera (Peter Grimes and La Fanciulla del West), the Vienna State Opera (Andrea Chenier and Aida), Zurich Opera (Tosca), La Scala Milan (Andrea Chenier), Teatro San Carlo in Naples (Die Walküre) and the Royal Opera House in London (Werther), among others. He also made his long-awaited role debut as Tannhäuser at the Salzburg Easter Festival. To mark the festival’s centenary, Kaufmann gave a concert in the Arena di Verona, together with Sonya Yoncheva and Ludovic Tézier.

At the beginning of the new season he presented a special project with Helmut Deutsch and director Claus Guth at the Park Avenue Armory in New York: Doppelgänger, a staged interpretation of Schubert’s Schwanengesang. Following a series of Otello and a new production of Turandot at the Vienna State Opera Kaufmann performed the first act of Die Walküre in the End-of-the-year concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic and Kirill Petrenko, a series of concerts (The Sound of Movies) in Baden-Baden, Prague, Naples and Munich. After new productions of La Gioconda at the Salzburg Easter Festival and at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples he will appear in performances of Aida and Tosca at the Bavarian State Opera, Andrea Chenier at the Royal Opera House and in concert performances of Act 2 of Tristan and Isolde in Gstaad and Baden-Baden.

A voice which excels in a large variety of repertoire, Kaufmann has received recognition for his performance of French, German and Italian roles, as well as his performance in recital. Standout roles include Don José, Werther, Don Carlo, Otello, Andrea Chenier, Maurizio, Lohengrin, Parsifal and Florestan, which he has performed at houses such as Teatro alla Scala, Covent Garden, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Metropolitan Opera, Opernhaus Zürich, Opéra national de Paris, and the Wiener Staatsoper. He has released multiple recordings, also encompassing diverse repertoire, including operatic repertoire, Lieder, operetta, and more.

A native of Munich, Germany, Jonas Kaufmann completed his vocal studies there at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München, in addition to which he attended master classes with Hans Hotter, James King and Josef Metternich. During his first  years on stage at the State Theatre in Saarbrücken he continued his training with Michael Rhodes in Trier.