Top tenor Kaufmann says ready for Otello, no Siegfried yet

Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:52am EST
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - Jonas Kaufmann, regarded as the world's best tenor, says he is ready to reward fans waiting for him to sing Verdi's highly demanding "Otello" by making his debut in the role at London's Royal Opera House in 2017.

The opera world has been waiting expectantly for the 45-year-old German to sing more of the epic roles.

Ahead of his appearance at Covent Garden in the title role of Giordano's "Andrea Chenier" next week, he told Reuters he is ready for Verdi's jealous Moor, but not for Wagner's naive hero Siegfried -- another role his fans are eager for him to take.

"It's true, we're planning to do an 'Otello' together," Kaufmann said in a telephone interview after the Royal Opera House's music director Antonio Pappano confirmed Kaufmann would sing the role during the 2017 season.

"On one hand you feel right to do it ... on the other hand it is not only a technical issue, it is also a lot of experience and how you pace yourself to keep the stamina through such a demanding part," Kaufmann said.

He said he is wary of being typecast as a tenor who sings Otello, or Wagner's Tristan or Siegfried -- all of which place huge demands on the voice.

"Once you've announced it, literally every theater wants you to do it, and of course it is nice and flattering but I always want to keep my repertoire as wide as possible."

So when might he sing Siegfried? "It's not going to come soon after Otello, no, no, certainly not," Kaufmann said.   Continued...

German tenor Jonas Kaufmann (R) performs as Lohengrin and German soprano Annette Dasch performs as Elsa von Brabant during their rehearsal of the opera ''Lohengrin'' by Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, southern Germany in this July 17, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/Files