A “revealing” look at Jonas Kaufmann pulls all punches

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In Conversation with Jonas Kaufmann. By Thomas Voigt. Weidenfeld & Nicolson; 255 pages; £20. 

WHY the Three Tenors but not the Three Sopranos? Why is Caruso seen as pioneering the gramophone record and not Nellie Melba, who instead gave her name to a dish of peaches and cream? Why are tenors regarded almost mystically as a class apart? Opening his book with questions like these, Thomas Voigt, a journalist, film-maker and voice coach, seeks to explain the cult of Jonas Kaufmann, before asking what makes him tick.

Born and brought up in Munich, this German tenor hasmade a smooth ascent. Inducted into the mysteries of Wagner by his music-loving grandfather, he gravitated to music via school choir and work as a teenage extra in staged operettas. Operatic bit parts and training with first-class tutors in music college led to a grindingly tough spell in the state theatre of Saarbrücken, where he was called on to sing all…Continue reading

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