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Jonas Kaufmann
A Picture Journey

For two decades, Jonas Kaufmann, referred to as the “King of Tenors,” has captivated his audience in an astonishing variety of roles and works. On July 10 last year he turned 50. On this occasion the great book “Jonas Kaufmann. A Picture Journey” was published.

The present volume of photographs documents the highlights in the career of this exceptional singer in the form of a “Picture Journey,” keeping track of the milestones in his life: scenes from opera productions, concert performances, and recitals, plus pictures shot during rehearsals, events, and studio recordings, most of them showing previously unpublished material.

© 2019 Matthias Aschauer Vienna 2

Vienna 2019 © Matthias Aschauer

“The pictures are arranged very generously, so that one can really look at every detail attentively or just marvel at the creativity of so many stagings. Art director Michael Balgavy has done a great job and it can be said that this illustrated book offers every music lover a unique access to the magical world of opera and the intimate art of song. It's wonderful to follow the path of a simple music student on his way to the top tier of world orchestras.” (Musicbiz)

Vienna 2019 © Matthias Aschauer

Vienna 2019 © Matthias Aschauer

The book presentation took place on October 15, 2019 in the Brahms-Saal of the Musikverein Vienna, where Jonas Kaufmann talked about his life, the book and his newly released Vienna album in an interview conducted by ORF presenter Barbara Rett.

Publisher Silvia Jaklitsch with editor Christine Cerletti and art director Michael Balgavy, Vienna 2019 © Christoph Liebentritt

Brahms-Saal, Musikverein Vienna 2019 © Christoph Liebentritt

The book was also presented on ORF III (15.12.2019) and Rai News (17.10.2019).

“The book virtually seduces the reader to listen and look again.“ (HNA) “The authors Christine Cerletti and Thomas Voigt invite you on a picture journey into the world of the opera star which is extremely diverse, not least because Kaufmann casually switches between German, Italian and French repertoire–and in between he likes to put on his tails to succeed as a lieder singer. The world of the opera star is extremely diverse, not least because Kaufmann casually switches between German, Italian and French repertoire–and in between he likes to put on his tails to succeed as a lieder singer. In all these activities the 50-year-old always makes Bella Figura.“ (Münchner Abendzeitung) 

Pagliacci Osterfestspiele, Salzburg 2015 © UNITEL, Sony Classical, Christine Cerletti

Wigmore Hall, London 2015 © Minjas Zugik

Equally successful in the German, Italian, and French repertoires, he molds his characters with an emotional devotion and credibility that moves the hearts of millions of theater- and movie-goers around the globe. The result, an admiration equal to “worship” (Münchner Abendzeitung). 

Munich 2011 © Lena Wunderlich

The text contributions in the book are by Nikolaus Bachler, director of the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Christine Cerletti, music pedagogue, artist and patroness, Jonas Kaufmann himself and Thomas Voigt, author and filmmaker. What is appreciated about Jonas Kaufmann, for example, is his ability to satisfy people's longing for the true to nurture heroes, his voice, his mutability. In the following a few brief comments:

Nikolaus Bachler

“For as long as humankind has had a cultural memory, above all, however, since antiquity, we have also followed the history of heroes, fascinated by their deeds, their nature, and their world. They are incarnations of such virtues as bravery, openness, daring, and extraordinariness, of an inner radiance and glow that promise others protection and strength. The classical hero has become rare nowadays. Modern virtues are neutrality, conformity, and being easy to handle.” 

Christine Cerletti

“I would never have thought it possible that a tenor’s voice could electrify me that profoundly. I was completely taken with its baritonal, bronze, and sensual tone alone, let alone the singer’s eminent musicality and enormous expressiveness. This was not a narrator describing the figure of the wanderer in winter—this was the lonesome wanderer struggling with his fate.”

Thomas Voigt

“I also had this feeling of ‘each time all or nothing and each time different’ when I was leafing through this picture book. I am very glad that we were able to realize this project thanks to Christine Cerletti’s support, and I would like to explicitly thank her for this.”

Portrait of Nikolaus Bachler © Bayerische Staatsoper/Markus Jans

Portrait of Thomas Voigt © TomPe

The more than 400 images are complemented and countered by Jonas Kaufmann himself: for the first time he has published his own photographs, sharing visual impressions gained while traveling and in his life off the stage. 

“When you are photographed a lot, you develop a different feeling for the medium of photography: when taking pictures I would like to find something that can only be seen through my eyes. This is how these ‘shaky pictures’ were made, which for me partly represent memories, partly a play with colors or ‘painting,’ but certainly nothing concrete or figurative. When I am photographed I must keep still. When I am the photographer, I prefer my object to move.” (Jonas Kaufmann)

13 Through The Eyes Of Jonas Kaufmann © Jonas Kaufmann Aus  Jonas Kaufmann Eine Bilderreise Vfm K Isbn 9783903269750

Through the Eyes of Jonas Kaufmann © Jonas Kaufmann

This “Picture Journey” will not only be attractive for declared fans of Jonas Kaufmann: thanks to art director Michael Balgavy’s sophisticated and unique mise-en-scène, the pictures will grant each music lover access to the magic world of opera and the intimate art of lieder singing.

“Most moving are the images of the thoughtful, pensive Jonas Kaufmann, who seems lost in the music, but every happy owner of the book will assemble his favourite pictures from the immeasurably rich treasure.” (Ingrid Wanja for Operalounge)

2 Bayerische Staatsoper Munich 2014 © P S Zoeller Jonas Kaufmann Alain Altinoglu Manon Lescaut Aus  Jonas Kaufmann Eine Bilderreise Vfm K Isbn 9783903269750

Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich 2014 © P.S.Zoeller, Jonas Kaufmann, Alain Altinoglu, Manon Lescaut

“Kaufmann admitted that the idea for this ‘journey of images’, as the title suggests, initially elicited ‘no yay’ from him. ‘I thought: We all know the five press photos.’ But in the end he had grown into the 'history book' that 'awakens many memories’.” (Salzburger Nachrichten)

5 Jonas Kaufmann Im Wiener Riesenrad 2019 © Privatarchiv Jk Aus  Jonas Kaufmann Eine Bilderreise Vfm K Isbn 9783903269750

Jonas Kaufmann on Vienna´s Giant Ferris Wheel 2019 © Private Archive Jonas Kaufmann