Monday, 23 November 2015

The Jonas Kaufmann Lottery

This is the fifth time, that Jonas Kaufmann has cancelled his participation at a performance that I have had tickets for. He is the greatest tenor in the world these days and when he does appear, it is a wonderful experience. But, buying a ticket for an opera, in which he is meant to sing, is like buying a lottery ticket. And, as lotteries go, there is no transparency. 

What’s wrong with that man and his “viral throat infections”?

The only reason, I’ve booked tickets for Carmen was because Kaufmann was to sing Don José. And then the bas**** cancels yet again. Covent Garden does not refund the expensive ticket price, one does not even get the surcharge – that they levy when they have superstars in one of their productions – back.

All they offer – if one does not want to hear the second rate replacement they had arranged – is an exchange within the same season. That is up to mid-March with very little choice.

Neither Kaufmann, nor Covent Garden should be allowed to get away with this shoddy way of treating the public of opera lovers. Sadly, we are a captive audience and are being treated as such.

Shame on Covent Garden Opera Director Kasper Holten.Mr. Holten - the least you can do is give customers a 12 months period to exchange the tickets. 


  1. The greatest tenor - even when such an animal may exist, it is fallible. What do you want? To threaten poor Jonas to sing even when he is damaging his voice by doing so? I do not want to hear a ill tenor voice rasping through Carmen.

  2. Warum kannst Du es nicht lassen, in der Jonas Kaufmann Lotterie zu spielen? Vermutlich geht es Dir nicht anders als all denen, die auf der Suche nach dem Jackpot sind.

    Kaufmann ist so gefragt, dass seine Agenten ihm keine Ruhepause gönnen. Wenn er nicht hin und wieder die Reißleine zieht, riskiert er entweder seine Stimme oder er enttäuscht sein Publikum durch einen seinem Niveau nicht angemessenen stimmlichen Auftritt. Ich habe ihn in solch einer Situation vor einigen Jahren life als Parsifal in der Wiener Staatsoper erlebt und war ebenfalls nicht glücklich.

    Sänger haben es schwerer als Instrumentalisten oder Dirigenten, bei jeder Vorstellung über ein klanglich einwandfreies Instrument zu verfügen.

    Vielleicht sollten wir eine Versicherung schaffen, die bei Ausfällen von Künstlern das Publikum angemessen entschädigt. Doch die beste Versicherung ist, dass sich Künstler nicht übernehmen und uns hoffentlich noch lange erfreuen.

    1. I fully agree. You are right, I also want to enjoy the jackpot. Kaufmann is not the first superstar whose greed makes him undertake more than he should.

      Insurance combined with more sensible scheduling would be the appropriate solution

  3. Covent Garden:
    It was ever thus.
    Many years ago, I bought a ticket for Domingo singinging Otello at Covent Garden. Domingo - a singer not normally prone to viral infections - had to cancel because of laryngitis. The standin, a semi-retired tenor 70 years of age at the time, did what could, which wasn`t much.

    We were not offered any exchange at all. So things seem to be improving.

    As Ira Gershwin put it: "There`s no use complainin` ! "

  4. Years ago, Pavarotti was somewhat indisposed, but was reluctant to cancel a prestigious Performance at La Scala. He (and presumably his money-oriented advisors) decided to have his high C´s dubbed electronically by an earlier recording. Unfortunately for him the audience found out about this and booed him off the stage.

    He later apologised publicly. He should simply have cancelled.