A jubilee that didn't go as planned. Scheduled to celebrate thirty years of career this year, German tenor Jonas Kauffmann has been forced to make a number of cancellations, including his participation in the Paris concert on July 14 and the Othello at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. The cause is a multidrug-resistant germ infection.
The 54-year-old singer gave reassuring news about his health and recovery this weekend in the Austrian daily Die Presse, as he makes his return to the stage at the Vienna State Opera with Turandot. "I suffered for a long time without knowing what I really had. I had a bad cough and my lungs were clogged with mucus. If, as a singer, I hadn't had such excessive breathing capacity, I would have been out of breath with every step," he says. He adds: "I went from one doctor to another and everyone had a different opinion about reflux, food intolerance, allergy, runny nose syndrome. None of the treatments worked. Neither rest nor a long stay by the sea."
I was in doubt. I asked myself, 'Am I doing something wrong? Is it due to a change in technique?'" recalls Jonas Kaufmann. Finally, a strain of multidrug-resistant bacteria that reacts to only two antibiotics has been identified. "I then had to take high doses of it for four weeks and the side effects were terrible. I still have a few today," he admits, "I saw an improvement by the third day. But I wasn't able to stop taking the medication until all the bacteria were gone. It was very difficult. If such a setback had happened to me 15 years ago, I don't know if I would have remained so calm."
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«If I was at the very beginning of my career, I would have had to start from scratch."
He noted: "I'm lucky there aren't many tenors like me. It was possible for me to take a long break and still find contracts. If I was at the very beginning of my career, it would have been impossible. We would have had to start from scratch."
Interviewed by Le Figaro in September, Jonas Kaufman was confident: "I have often faced more or less significant problems and I remain fully confident in my ability to recover. Things would probably be different if I had had one or more vocal cord surgeries. It's complicated, psychologically, to know that the immensity of an opera, and of your career to which you have sacrificed so much, rests solely on these two tiny things that take the place of your vocal cords. But after thirty years, I still have absolute confidence in my instrument."