Jonas Kaufmann was 50 on 10 July this year. To celebrate, the esteemed Vienna-based publishing house Verlag für moderne Kunst has produced – in collaboration with Kaufmann – a glorious picture book with more than 400 photos, (including one photo by Gramilano, of Kaufmann on bended knee), and many are published for the first time.
99 photographers from four continents have captured the tenor both on and off stage, documenting a remarkable career, including an early performance in Milan, at the Piccolo Teatro. Kaufmann arrived in the winter of 1997 to rehearse Ferrando in the great Giorgio Strehler's production of Così fan tutte.
Whenever you are on stage, don't act‚ ‘as if‘! This is about genuine feelings… [it was] my very first opera production in Milan. He required absolute, unconditional commitment and passion from us; and this has literally burned itself into my mind.
Strehler died on Christmas day that year, and his longterm assistant finished the production which opened on 26 January 1998 to open the Piccolo Theatre's new purpose-built theatre. It was a date chosen by Strehler as the first performance of Così fan tutte was given on 26 January 1790, in Vienna.
The Kaufmann birthday book is called ‘A Picture Journey' and divided into sections such as Mozart, Verismo and French Repertoire for his opera career, with chapters on Recitals and Concerts, as well as Rehearsing, Recording, Filming, and a section entitled ‘Celebs, Charity and Soccer'. The book's last chapter is, naturally, called Applause.
As well as illuminating the various sections with comments by Kaufmann, the authors – Christine Cerletti and Thomas Voigt – have also included some of Kaufmann's own photography, published for the first time.
When you are photographed a lot, you develop a different feeling for the medium of photography: when taking pictures I would like to find something that can only be seen through my eyes.
Of course, the book is out just in time for Christmas, and at €49 for 448 beautifully designed pages, it seems like the ideal present for the tenor's legions of fans.
EDITOR Stiftung Colla Parte, Basel
TEXTS Nikolaus Bachler, Christine Cerletti, Thomas Voigt, Jonas Kaufmann
DETAILS English/German, hardcover, 28 × 22 cm, 448 pages
Verlag für moderne Kunst
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.