Tenor Jonas Kaufmann takes on Tristan, opera’s voice killer

By Associated Press |

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Jonas Kaufmann (Photo: Julian Hargreaves / Sony Classical)

NEW YORK (AP) — Ten years ago, tenor Jonas Kaufmann was hesitant about taking on heavy Wagnerian roles like the hero of “Tristan und Isolde.” At the time, Kaufmann was concerned about being one of the youngest singers to play Tristan and fail. Now, at age 51, Kaufmann is ready to perform a role so challenging, it’s known as a voice killer. The sought-after tenor will perform as Tristan in five upcoming shows at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera. Kaufmann tells The Associated Press he will sing the role uncut, including a segment in which the mortally wounded Tristan signs for almost 40 minutes without pause. Kaufmann credits a voice teacher showed him how to “own his voice.”

Mike Silverman for the Associated Press