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Just in: Sick Jonas Kaufmann cancels Vienna Parsifal

It’s one of the sacred fixtures of the Vienna calendar – Parsifal on the Thursday before Good Friday – but Jonas couldn’t make it. He will, however, sing next week. He told media that he was keen to repeat his Met triumph, and to work again with Franz Welser-Möst, his former boss in the Zurich Opera.

Standing in for Kaufmann was the British tenor, Christopher Ventris. Go, Chris.


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  1. Best of luck to Christopher Ventris. Kaufmann is a tough act to follow, but there can never be too many great Parsifals imo…

  2. pianoronald says:

    You are a day late, Norman! Chris Ventris sang Parsifal last night with tremendous success! Jonas just cancelled the Sunday performance – Christian Elsner will substitute – also an excellent singer.

  3. pianoronald says:

    There is only one more performance of Parsifal after Easter Sunday – on Thursday, April 4. Hopefully Jonas will be able to sing then.

    • I hope so too. Is there any chance they might stream one of them? I sent the Vienna Opera an email. That would be awesome, as the performances are sold out and they could reach a world-wide audience.

  4. Marshall says:

    Maybe if they hadn’t made Kaufman-for no profoundly insightful purpose that I perceived-sing most of the Met Parsifal with his shirt off, he might not have become ill.

  5. David Boxwell says:

    The truth is he’s just a size or two too small for the role in a big house (at least he was at the Met earlier this month).

    • I thought his Met screening was extraordinary. A revelation. The colours and range he brought to the role was simply extraordinary. His voice didn’t strike me as underpowered at all. In fact. Quite the opposite. I heard nuances and details in the role I could only have imagined.

    • Carol Anderson says:

      David, I went to two live performances of Parsifal at the Met . Jonas Kaufmann’s voice was tremendous. Delicate & tender at the right moments, powerful and darkly gorgeous in other scenes. His acting was also extraordinary. I was seated in the dress circle and the the balcony. His voice reached throughout that sphere, his portrayal touched the audience.

    • Jonas was superb at the MET. I saw the performance on March 5. You don’t know what you are talking about if you think a singer has to be big and loud to be good.

  6. Actually it’s no surprising after such stagings in Met and La Scala and such amount of work.

  7. Wien, Wien, und du allein says:

    Christopher Ventris showed the Germans and Austrians how it’s done. It was an amazing performance. I hope he can replace JK again next Thursday. I know this is sacrilegious, but I thought he totally rocked, in his kind British style.

  8. Wien, Wien, und du allein says:


    In the title role, the tenor Christopher Ventris was a late replacement for an ill Jonas Kaufmann. Mr. Ventris’s voice is the less distinctive of the two, but as Parsifal at the Met in February, Mr. Kaufmann paced himself cautiously and acted blankly, despite seductive baritonal colors. Mr. Ventris, sounding focused and lightly golden, sang more comfortably and found a character more overwhelmed than simply dull.

    • Don’t we have to wonder what an opera critic is really like, when they make a statement such as JK “paced himself cautiously and acted blankly”? I wonder how many of them have tried to sing along with Parsifal for the better part of six hours? Who wouldn’t ‘pace themself?’ As far as ‘acting blankly’, has it occurred to this critic that acting like a fool is part of the early character of Parsifal?

  9. Graf Nugent says:

    Christopher Ventris was Parsifal in Stefan Herheim’s Bayreuth production for a couple of seasons and very good he was, too.

    • Wien, Wien, und du allein says:

      Tonight it was Christian Elsner as a very solid, velvety voiced Parsifal – and Franz Welser-Möst had to stop conducting after he slipped a disc during the first act. Pianist James Pearson took over and was the hero of the evening. Way to go, Wiener Staatsoper. It’s definitely never boring here. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next Thursday.

  10. patrice-merville@wanadoo.f says:

    I heard Mr Ventris singing Parsifal in Paris and I can tell you he is a marcel louis one.Not the same voice as Kaufman but very poetic.He Is really the “chaste fol” imaginée by Wagner.

    • I look forward to hearing Mr Ventris sing Parsifal some day. But for now, I feel that I have waited a long time for this Met production, and it was worth the wait. All the main characters came to life, and the staging was generally sufficiently minimalistic to keep our focus on the music rather than a clutter of costumes and backdrops.

      I don’t know what Wagner would have thought of this Met production, but it does seem to me that it touches a wide audience with a universal tone

  11. Fabio Fabrici says:


    Franz Welser-Möst didn’t feel well on Sunday. James Pearson – solo repetitor at Vienna State Opera – jumped in instantaneously, conducted Parsifal to the end and saved the night. Vienna is amazing. Those who attended said it was a fantastic evening.

  12. ! “Generalmusikdirektor Franz Welser-Möst zog sich gestern (Ostersonntag, 31. März 2013) im ersten Aufzug von „Parsifal“ durch eine Bewegung einen Hexenschuss zu, der durch die intensiven Schmerzen in der ersten Pause zu einem Kreislaufkollaps führte. Er wurde daraufhin ins AKH gebracht, dort notversorgt und in der Nacht noch entlassen. GMD Welser-Möst wird sich nun in physiotherapeutische Behandlung begeben.

    Die gestrige Vorstellung von „Parsifal“ wurde dankenswerterweise vom Korrepetitor des Hauses James Pearson zu Ende dirigiert. Auch für die morgige Vorstellung von “Wozzeck” wird GMD Franz Welser-Möst leider ausfallen. ” !!!

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