Jonas Kaufmann is quite frankly the most famous tenor in the world. Ever since his breakout, audiences have followed Kaufmann’s career transition from the lyric repertoire to the most dramatic pieces in the tenor fach. And this week Kaufmann adds what most consider the Mount Everest of all tenor roles, “Otello.”
It is considered the most difficult role by tenors and one that few have conquered. Famously Franco Corelli opted out of the role and Carlo Bergonzi waited until 75 to perform it in concert. Luciano Pavarotti also sang it but was never able to successfully gain praise for it. It is also a role that Plácido Domingo famously sang but always limited the number of performances he did per season.
This week Kaufmann finally takes on his first Otello after having been offered the role numerous times. The tenor takes on yet another new role at Royal Opera House where he debuted Des Greiux in “Manon Lescaut,” Don Jose in “Carmen” and the title role of Andrea Chenier. And Kaufmann himself said he feels very comfortable doing it at this house in a recent interview. “I waited very long and I finally realized, ‘If I don’t do it now, when then?.’ It has to be done under the best possible circumstances. The Royal Opera House has always been a place where I’ve felt very at home and the acoustic is good – it’s not too big but still has a glory.”
The role of Otello is a perfect fit for Kaufmann who is a stage animal and who is not only recognized for his voice but also for his acting chops. The tenor also feels like this is the perfect Verdi role and it is one where he will be able to let out all of his emotional weight and captivating voice.
For those not present at the Royal Opera House, it will be screened in cinemas. As for when Kaufmann is scheduled to perform the role again, that is still under wraps. Let’s hope soon!