Jonas Kaufmann has not sung since September when he sang the programme from his glorious new cd, Dolce Vita, at Teatro San Carlo in Naples. He was forced to cancel his imminent appearances due to voice problems… then a few more dates… then a few more, even cancelling his appearance at the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony.
Well, the good news is that his annus horribilis is over and with 2017 he’s back. He’s in Paris, rehearsing for a revival of the production of Lohengrin he appeared in when it opened the season at La Scala in Milan in 2012. It starts on 18 January.
It’s been hard. I love singing and I’ve never had such a long time away from it. It wasn’t easy, but I didn’t have a choice. I tried to be patient, follow my doctor’s advice, and ignore the gossip that was going around about my health.
In 2011 he announced that he needed to cancel commitments in order “to have an operation to remove a node in my thoracic area”. It was a non-malignant tumour, but his recent absence got all the tongues wagging again.
Kaufmann told Giuseppina Manin of the Corriere della Sera what had happened.
My voice was out of action because of bruising on my vocal chords. A disaster for someone who must push them to their limits every night.
Christa Ludwig, apparently had had the same problem and told him, “You mustn’t be hasty; don’t return until the bruising has been completely reabsorbed.”
For days now I’ve been at work at the Opéra Bastille, happy as a kid in a candy store. The doctor was clear that I could resume work, but steadily… one step at a time.
Kaufmann’s beautifully interpreted album of Italian songs – which passes from Neapolitan songs to Lucio Dalla – is a love letter to a country that is particularly fond of
I have very special ties to Italy. As a child, I spent many summers on the Adriatic coast. I discovered how music and singing are a fundamental part of Italian life. I was six-years-old when I saw Madama Butterfly in Munich and understood the magic of opera. If you love Puccini and Verdi, you can’t not love the great Italian songs, capable of stimulating emotions just like an opera aria.
After the Second World War in Germany, as in other countries, compositions changed. Composers were searching for a new beginning and the result was creations that were very intellectual, but ignored the most important component: passion. Italians, however, modernised the musical language without sacrificing melody. They love singing, therefore instinctively search for something singable.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.