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Jonas Kaufmann

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

March 9

Jonas Kaufmann: ‘I have been singing with the handbrakes on’

Norman Lebrecht - Slipped discThe German tenor has spoken with refreshing candour to Britta Schultejans of the German press agency about his comeback struggle and his hopes for the future. He sings Andrea Chenier in Munich this weekend. Excerpt: Q: Do you find you have become more cautious since your illness-related break? Are you back? A: In the first performances, I sang perhaps a little with the handbrake applied – or with more prudence, less spontaneously and less full-throated. But that’s over, and in a piece like this there is no chance to hold back. This is so wild and vocally so challenging. This can not be controlled, thank God. Q: In June you will make your debut in London as “Otello”. Is that in the back of your mind? A: I know that this is coming, but not more. I don’t plan to hold back on the “Otello”. There is plenty of time in between. Q: Are you a bit nervous? A: Maybe. I was a bit nervous at the “Lohengrin” in Paris because it was the first performance after so long. Since I already had the fear in the back of my mind, whether I could get through the evening or if I would have problems again. I felt I used to be more energised. This is a positive tension, self-evidently. But that soon went away, once I realized it went well. Had I tried it a couple of times and failed, I’d probably have been much, much more nervous. Frage: Merken Sie, dass Sie nach Ihrer krankheitsbedingten Pause etwas vorsichtiger geworden sind? Nehmen Sie sich zurück? Antwort: Bei den ersten Auftritten, die ich danach wieder absolviert habe, habe ich vielleicht schon ein bisschen mit angezogener Handbremse gesungen – oder mit mehr Klugheit, weniger spontan und weniger aus dem Vollen schöpfend. Das hat sich aber schon wieder gegeben, und gerade bei einem Stück wie diesem hat man gar keine Chance, sich zurückzuhalten. Das ist so wild und stimmlich so fordernd. Das kann man – Gott sei Dank – nicht berechnender machen. Frage: Im Juni geben Sie in London Ihr Debüt als “Otello”. Spielt das in Ihrem Hinterkopf schon eine Rolle? Antwort: Ich weiß, dass das diese Spielzeit noch kommt, aber mehr auch nicht. Ich habe bisher nicht vor, auf den “Otello” zu sparen, auf keinen Fall. Es ist noch genug Zeit dazwischen. Frage: Sind Sie da denn ein bisschen nervöser? Antwort: Vielleicht. Ich war ein bisschen nervöser beim “Lohengrin” in Paris, weil es der erste Auftritt nach so langer Zeit war. Da hatte ich schon die Angst im Hinterkopf, ob ich den Abend durchziehen kann oder ob man wieder Probleme bekommt. Das habe ich schon gespürt, dass ich vorher etwas energiegeladener war. Das ist eine positive Anspannung, die ich sonst kaum noch kenne, weil man das inzwischen ja so selbstverständlich nimmt. Das ist aber dann schnell weggegangen, weil ich gemerkt habe, dass ich nahtlos anknüpfen kann. Wenn ich es ein paar Mal versucht hätte und gescheitert wäre, wäre ich wahrscheinlich viel, viel nervöser gewesen.

On An Overgrown Path

March 20

Music the Internet is hiding from you

Recent compelling rail trip listening included the new CD La Voix de la Passion (Voice of Passion) from the young Syrian singer and oud player Waed Bouhassoun. In 2015 I wrote about her previous album L'Âme du luth (Love of the oud) and on this new disc she juxtaposes settings of Nabataean poetry from southern Syria and Arab poetry from the cultural Indian summer of Al-Andalusia - sample via this link. In his 2011 book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You Eli Pariser explained the dangers of the little-understood filter bubbles created by the personalisation algorithms used by Facebook, Google and other major Internet players. These algorithms maximise web traffic by personalising - in other words skewing - content to pander to the known likes of individual web users. In very simple terms this means that clicking on or 'liking' Facebook statuses about Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla means your news feed will be skewed to Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla-related content, and mentioning Jonas Kaufmann in your Gmail messages will push Jonas Kaufmann-related results to the top of your Google searches . But it also means that as very few readers will have googled Syrian oud music or 'liked' statuses mentioning Waed Bouhassoun, this post about a very fine musician - female to boot - will receive minimal exposure on social media. And this is just one example: because the work of many other deserving musicians from the Western and other traditions is also hidden by the ubiquitous bubble filters. Moreover selective filtering is not confined to the Internet giants. Eli Pariser describes how "In the filter bubble, there's less room for the chance encounters that bring insight and learning" and how "Creativity is often sparked by the collision of ideas from different disciplines and cultures". On both sides of the Atlantic there is currently much righteous indignation about restrictions on the movement of populace across borders that helps spark these vital collisions of ideas. Yet we all (yes, this post is bidding for 30 seconds of social media fame) aid and abet a technology that covertly and very profitably suppresses this vital collision of ideas. The $3 million cost of Donald Trump's weekend Mar-a-Lago getaways and uninformed guesses at the cost of Brexit are the lifeblood of social media; but the filter bubble-driven annual profits of Facebook - $10.2 billion - and Google - $6.8 billion - hardly merit a mention. We live in very strange times. No review samples used in this post. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.






Classical music and opera by Classissima



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