High Notes On This Day

9 Operas You Didn’t Know Jonas Kaufmann Performed In His Career

These days Jonas Kaufmann is probably the most in-demand tenor in the entire world. His sumptuous technique and polished interpretations have made him one of the most engaging and exciting artists working on the opera stage today.

While many recognize the tenor, born on July 10, 1969, for his spinto and dramatic repertoire (Wagner and later Verdi for example), Kaufmann has run the gamut of the tenor repertoire throughout his ever-growing career.

Here is a look at some of the operas that he is perhaps less identified with, but has still made an impact with over his career in some way or another.


 Kaufmann performed the rare Humperdinck opera in a production from the Zürich Opera that was later released on DVD. Here we see Kaufmann championing a rare opera early in his career


Schubert’s operas don’t really get performed much, much less championed by a top star. Kaufmann performed this opera in his earlier years and it was subsequently released on DVD as well by EMI, a recording that is rather rare these days.

Doctor Faustus

The tenor appeared in this opera for his 1999 debut at the Salzburg Opera.

Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria

The idea of Kaufmann joining forces with legendary conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt is quite unimaginable considering how different their repertoire was in recent years, but a DVD released in 2003 shows us this very thing with the tenor singing the famed Monteverdi opera with the legendary conductor and a cast of giants that includes Vesslina Kasarova. 


We’ve heard Cecilia Bartoli with some of the finest tenors of today, including Juan Diego Flórez and Javier Camarena. But how about with Kaufmann? Well, the two performed Paisiello’s “Nina” together back in the day in a performance that is available on a very rare DVD release.

Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Kaufmann sang the role of the Count Almaviva in 1998 (though listening to him now one must wonder what his coloratura in that opera must have sounded like 20 years ago).


Kaufmann was the tenor during a run of a production from 2001. He infamously lost his voice prior to a performance on April 27 and was forced to act onstage while tenor Benjamin Butterfield sang the role.

King Roger

The superstar tenor took on this opera in 1997, playing the part of Edrisi, the adviser to the King.


A role usually sung by the most lyric of tenors, Kaufmann took on the opera in 2005 as Fenton in a cast that included Ruggero Raimondi in the title role, Michael Volle as Ford, Eva Mei as Alice Ford, all under the direction of Nello Santi.

 Any other rare Kaufmann operas that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!


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10 Responses

  1. How about “Glass Menagerie” based on Tennessee William’s play? One of the very first operas Jonas sang in 1994(?).

  2. Have a look at the unofficial website, You will find ALL his appearances and ALL recodings (CD and DVD).

  3. Jacquino (Fidelio), Flamand (Capriccio), Il Duca (Rigoletto), and Jenik (Bartered Bride).

  4. Johann Joseph Abert’s Ekkehart and Heinrich Marschner’s Der Vampyr; CD’s both on Capriccio. Carl Loewe’s Die drei Wünsche.

  5. On record Jonas have done the titel role in Ekkehard by Abert and Edgar in Der Vampyr by Marschner.

  6. Title role in Idomeneo 2003 Zürich, there is a live recording available

  7. L’enlèvement au Sérail, Idoménée, La Clémence de Titus, ohers and even Norma (he sang a few lines as Flavio) !

  8. JK was also Sir Huon in Weber’s Oberon (2002) and Nerone in Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea (2005)

  9. You wouldn’t think, when seeing his Otello, that he’d have also done Cassio.

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