With a rare voice with infinite shades and a dark timbre easy to recognize, the German tenor embodies the ideal romantic hero. Performing in a recital and on stage, his peerless interpretation remains unforgettable. It is the mark of the greatest artists.
Born in Munich, tenor Jonas Kaufmann is now internationally recognised as one of the most important artists of our day. He has made sensational debuts in recent seasons in many of the world's leading opera houses, appearing at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, in La rondine opposite Angela Gheorghiu and in the 2007 new production of Carmen under Antonio Pappano. He has also appeared as Alfredo in La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, La Scala, Milan, and the Opéra Bastille in Paris. Other important milestones in his career were Tamino in Die Zauberflöte at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Vienna State Opera and Metropolitan Opera; as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Salzburg Festival; and as Faust in La Damnation de Faust at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels.
Jonas Kaufmann completed his musical studies in his native Munich, participated in masterclasses with James King, Hans Hotter and Josef Metternich and subsequently perfected his vocal technique with Michael Rhodes. He began his professional career at the Staatstheater Saarbrücken in 1994 and was soon invited to make debuts in important German theatres such as the Stuttgart Opera and Hamburg State Opera. International debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opera and the Teatro alla Scala followed. He made his Salzburg Festival debut in 1999 in a new production of Busoni's Dr. Faust and returned there in 2003 as Belmonte, as well as for concerts of Beethoven's Symphony no. 9 with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Jonas Kaufmann has been closely associated with the Zurich Opera since 2001; he has appeared there in several new productions, including Idomeneo, La clemenza di Tito, Schubert's Fierrabras, Humperdinck's Königskinder, Bizet's Carmen and Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea. Other roles in Zurich have included the Duke in Rigoletto, the title role in Gounod's Faust, Florestan in Fidelio, and the leading tenor parts in Die Zauberflöte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Così fan tutte. In 2006 he sang his first performances of the title role of Wagner's Parsifal in Zurich, followed by his debut in 2007 there as Don Carlos. In 2006 Kaufmann also presented his first Walther von Stolzing in a concert performance of Die Meistersinger at the Edinburgh Festival conducted by David Robertson. He had scored a previous success in Edinburgh as Max in Der Freischütz under Sir Charles Mackerras.
Highlights of the 2007/2008 season included La Traviata opposite Anna Netrebko and his first Cavaradossi in Tosca under Antonio Pappano, both at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Rodolfo in La Bohème at both the Berlin State Opera under Gustavo Dudamel and at the Zurich Opera, where he also was heard in new productions of Humperdinck's Königskinder and Carmen, as well as in La Traviata and Don Carlos. In July 2008 he sang a tremendously acclaimed recital at the Prinzregententheater in Munich.
Jonas Kaufmann began the 2008/2009 season with his debut as Des Grieux in Manon at the Lyric Opera of Chicago opposite Natalie Dessay, followed by his return to Paris as Florestan in the new production of Fidelio for the Opéra National de Paris. In January 2009 he sang the Italian Tenor in the production of Der Rosenkavalier with Renée Fleming under Christian Thielemann in Baden-Baden. He returned to the Zurich Opera in a new production of Tosca staged by Robert Carsen and conducted by Paolo Carignani, as well as some performances of La Traviata. He appeared at the Vienna State Opera in Manon and Tosca and in July 2009 he added to his wide repertory the title role of Lohengrin in a new production by Richard Jones at the Bavarian State Opera, conducted by Kent Nagano. He also appeared there in La Traviata opposite Angela Gheorghiu. This season has included solo operatic concerts in Mannheim, Berlin, Athens and Paris. Kaufmann made his debut in Moscow in December 2008 in a concert opposite Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and also sang in Beethoven's Symphony no. 9 with the Münchner Philharmoniker conducted by Christian Thielemann. He was partnered by renowned pianist Helmut Deutsch in several Lieder recitals in Paris, Zurich, Vienna, Copenhagen, Munich and at the Salzburg Festival.
Jonas Kaufmann has worked with the world's leading conductors and orchestras. Among these engagements were performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker under both Sir Simon Rattle and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, The Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst and the Wiener Philharmoniker under Helmuth Rilling. In the summer of 2007 he sang Beethoven's Symphony no. 9 in Lucerne under Claudio Abbado and subsequently made his Carnegie Hall debut in October 2007 in the same work. In 2008 he also performed with The Cleveland Orchestra in Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with Franz Welser-Möst and in Verdi's Requiem in Zurich under Daniele Gatti.
In the autumn of 2009 Jonas Kaufmann returned to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in Don Carlos under Semyon Bychkov. He was asked to open the 2009/2010 season at the Teatro alla Scala with a new production of Carmen under Daniel Barenboim and sang the Verdi Requiem with La Scala in Milan, Paris and Moscow. In Zurich he performed in Humperdinck's Königskinder and in Munich in Lohengrin under Kent Nagano. In 2010 Kaufmann returns to Munich for the new production of Tosca at the Bavarian State Opera, where he also appears in Carmen with Elina Garanca and Ildebrando d'Arcangelo. He adds the title role in Massenet's Werther to his repertoire for the Opéra National in Paris and returns to the Metropolitan Opera in Tosca and Carmen. In July 2010, Kaufmann will make his Bayreuth Festival debut in a new production of Lohengrin and in November follows his role debut as Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur at Covent Garden.
In January 2008 Jonas Kaufmann's first solo album for Decca, entitled Romantic Arias, became an immediate international bestseller. It was followed in 2009 by an album of German operatic arias and scenes (Sehnsucht) with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado (Diapason d'or 2009) and Schubert's Die Schöne Müllerin with Helmut Deutsch. Kaufmann's performance as Don José in the Royal Opera's production of Carmen has been released on DVD by Decca as well as Strauss's Rosenkavalier with Renée Fleming and the Münchner Philharmoniker under Christian Thielemann. In 2010 an album with Verismo Arias will be released, comprising rarities from Zandonai's dramatic Giulietta e Romeo, Puccini's Le Villi and Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, supported by Italy's leading symphonic orchestra, the Santa Cecilia, under its dynamic music director Antonio Pappano; and on DVD Wagner's Lohengrin from the Bavarian State Opera.
(Information provided by Decca Music Group Limited)