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Jonas Kaufmann withdraws from Les Troyens

Tenor withdraws due to illness and Bryan Hymel takes over role of Enée.

By Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products)

26 May 2012 at 2.26pm | 37 Comments

The Royal Opera's Les Troyens © ROH 2012

It is with deep regret that The Royal Opera announces that Jonas Kaufmann has to withdraw from singing the role of Enée in the new production of Berlioz’ Les Troyens.

Jonas Kaufmann has been indisposed since late April with a protracted infection and has had to cancel performances at The Metropolitan Opera, New York as well as concerts in Europe.

Kasper Holten, Director of Opera said: “Both we and Jonas were intensely hoping he would be getting better and would be able to join the production. However, after new consultations with his doctor, it is clear that he still needs some further weeks of pause in order to fully recover and that he will not be ready in time to join the production.“

Jonas Kaufmann added: "I am deeply sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment caused to my audience, and to The Royal Opera House. I hope my decision will be respected as an act of responsibility towards myself and the audience. I am particularly sad to not be able to participate in the new production of Les Troyens, a project I have been looking forward to for many years".

Kasper Holten continued, “It is never easy for a singer to make the difficult decision to cancel. However, sometimes it is inevitable. The Royal Opera is doing everything we can to avoid cast changes, and we are terribly sorry to disappoint our loyal audiences, who have experienced a number of very unfortunate high profile cast changes this season.

“Knowing that Jonas Kaufmann has been ill since late April, The Royal Opera has recently secured Bryan Hymel who had already joined rehearsals last week, he will now take over the performances at Covent Garden. Bryan has sung the role of Enée at De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam recently, and he appeared as the Prince in Rusalka at Covent Garden earlier this season. We are grateful to Bryan for stepping in, and we are very happy that such a gifted artist has been free to undertake this demanding task with such short notice.”

All ticket holders will be contacted early next week about the cast change.

Added 1 June: The BBC have confirmed that Jonas Kaufmann has had to withdraw from the Proms performance of Les Troyens and Bryan Hymel will sing the role of Enée.

By Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products)

26 May 2012 at 2.26pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Bryan Hymel, cast change, David Mcvicar, Enée, Jonas Kaufmann, Les Troyens, Production

This article has 37 comments

  1. Get well soon, Jonas

  2. Dear Mr. Kaufmann,
    I have been concerned since you withdrew from Die Walkure on April 28. Since it has been a month and you did not really sing the Champion’s League anthem in Munich, I thought it must be more serious than your usual cold or sinus trouble. Please please concentrate on getting well, and do not rush back to sing. I am sure you will be singing beautifully in a few months.
    All the best wishes,

  3. elise mullender responded on 27 May 2012 at 9:42am Reply

    de tout coeur, prenez bien soin de vous Jonas. On vous attendra.

  4. Lilian Noval responded on 27 May 2012 at 11:11am Reply

    Get Well soon Jonas :-)

    • I am earger to go and see Lady of the lake with joyce didonato and juan diego florez I hope it is coming to my theater

  5. --- responded on 27 May 2012 at 1:07pm Reply

    Will Mr. Kaufmann be singing at the Proms' concert performance of Les Troyens in July?

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 27 May 2012 at 2:03pm

      Bryan Hymel is stepping in to sing Enee in all Covent Garden performances of Les Troyens. Although it is unlikely that Jonas will appear at the Prom performance he has not yet formally withdrawn. We will keep you updated.

    • Kasper Holten responded on 3 June 2012 at 8:11pm

      It is now confirmed that Jonas Kaufmann will not be able to appear in Les Troyens at the Proms either. Bryan Hymel will replace him, as he does for the performances at Covent Garden.

  6. Gundi Ohnheiser responded on 27 May 2012 at 2:25pm Reply

    Alles Gute, Herr Kaufmann !
    Werden Sie schnell wieder gesund.
    Außerdem wünsche ich Ihnen vernünftige und
    geduldige Fans, die Verständnis für Ihre Absagen

  7. BEHNEL Aude responded on 27 May 2012 at 4:24pm Reply

    Cher Jonas Kaufmann,
    Vous en avez fait beaucoup trop récemment. Reposez-vous, prenez soin de vous, et revenez-nous quand vous serez prêt. Tous les mélomanes vous soutiennent et vous envoient leurs pensées les plus chaleureuses. Aude

  8. gidel responded on 27 May 2012 at 6:25pm Reply

    Cher Jonas, tous mes voeux de rétablissement. J'étais inquiète depuis le 15 avril à Bruxelles. Vous avez été si généreux dans vos bis! Merci de vous donner tant à votre public mais ménagez-vous. J'irai tout de même entendre les Troyens puisque j'ai une place et j'espère que vous serez rétabli pour Salzbourg dans Ariane mais soignez-vous et revenez-nous en pleine forme.
    Une "fan" de Paris.

  9. David responded on 27 May 2012 at 7:08pm Reply

    What a shame for everyone. Will the cast changes never end? Let's pray that Harteros doesn't pull a hat-trick.

  10. Get well soon,Jonas !!!
    We love and admire you :-))

  11. Christina responded on 28 May 2012 at 1:10am Reply

    Nice words of apology from Jonas! He is obviously not well with singing problems - so hope it is nothing serious. I do wish him all the very best. Take it easy Jonas and rest from your busy schedule.

  12. Petzi responded on 28 May 2012 at 6:18pm Reply

    Oh dear, what a pity! I was so happy to have succeeded in getting a ticket for Les Troyens in July and now I am really starting to get worried about Mr Kaufmann's health. I fully agree with CS and Elise, though.
    Dear Jonas, please do take it easy and take all the time you need to fully recover! We will all be happy to have you back on stage then as every night at the opera or concert hall when you sing is such a joy and such a truly enriching, touching experience.
    Looking forward to more such moments, all the best and get well soon!
    Petzi from Munich

  13. piemontois responded on 28 May 2012 at 8:21pm Reply

    pour ceux qui manifestent avec un peu d'humeur leur désapointement que jonas ait du annuler beaucoup de representations,notamment celle des TROYENS qui était très attendue,essayez de penser à lui,avant de penser à vous et d'imaginer quelle peut être sa déception.non seulement il est malade ,non seulement il doit renoncer à chanter,ce qui doit être souffrance pour lui,mais encore il est critiqué,il doit s'excuser,pour avoir fait acte de présence lors de la coupe de Foot du 19 mai ,;faites lui confiance,il sait ce qu'il peut faire et quant,et essayez de comprendre quel métier difficile est le sien ,surtout comme il le fait ,en se donnant complètement.j'espère le revoir le plus vite possible,mais en pleine forme .et lui seul sait quand çe sera possible,alors patience ,parceque nous l'aimons

  14. Gudrun responded on 29 May 2012 at 1:30am Reply

    Dear Mr. Kaufmann,
    please take good care of your health, it is the most important for you.
    You are so very special and you can move the world even without singing !!!
    Stay patient and recover fully.
    Best wishes and Love

  15. Elise Mullender responded on 29 May 2012 at 6:44am Reply

    Lu la réponse de Petzi. Ce doit être affreux pour Jonas d'être obligé de se retirer de plusieurs productions et surtout des Troyens qu'il prépare depuis longtemps.Mais c'est sa santé qui est le plus important, dès qu'il retrouvera le bonheur de chanter, nous serons de tout coeur avec lui.Prenez le temps qu'il faut Jonas, vos amis vous attendent.

  16. Loze responded on 29 May 2012 at 9:55am Reply

    Cher Mr Kaufmann,
    Soignez-vous bien pour nous revenir très bientô je vous attends impatiemment dans Roméo que vous n'avez pas encore abordé, je crois et dans quoi vous devez être SUBLIME .
    A bientôt
    Pierre Loze de Bordeaux

  17. Yes, Kasper. Don't mess it up with Harteros again! You cannot treat these people like cattle. If she doesn't want to do three weeks continuous rehearsal then find a plan that will work. We don't want another substandard substitute. Harteros on three days rehearsal is better than most singers on 3 weeks. Give us opera lovers a break!

    • Kasper Holten responded on 30 May 2012 at 5:16pm

      Dear Attila.

      I certainly do not think ROH treats any of our artists like cattle, and we do take the opera lovers very seriously. You are in the end why we are here. I don't think it would be appropriate for me to discuss specific artists in public, but we appreciate Anja Harteros very much, and are very happy that she will be appearing in Otello, as we fully expect her to do. On the other matter you mention, rehearsals and preparation are of course an important ingredient to making a serious artistic work of any kind.

      Best wishes, Kasper

  18. Elise Mullender responded on 29 May 2012 at 5:14pm Reply

    excusez-moi, je n'ai jamais parlé de drogues illicites!! j'ai dit que ce devait être très difficile pour Jonas d'annuler des productions qu'il avait préparées depuis longtemps; veuillez rectifier svpl.merci d'avance

  19. Ida Gester-Komac responded on 30 May 2012 at 2:10am Reply

    Cher Jonas,
    Vous êtes si généreux!Tous. vos spectacles parfaits,passionnés ont épuisé votre capital-santé.
    Prenez le temps de vous reposer,de vous retrouver.
    Tous les amoureux de l'Opéra sont de tout coeur avec vous!
    Je vous envoie mes prières et toutes mes
    pensées positives les plus chaleureuses.
    Je vous embrasse affectueusement.
    Ida de Argenteau-Belgique.

  20. Viran Gertrud responded on 30 May 2012 at 10:00am Reply

    Dear Jonas,
    what a pity for you - and us -, not to realize one of your great projects - "Les Troyens". But first of all we hope from all our hearts that you will fully recover. Take the time you need and we promise to be patient enough!
    Your friends from Southern Germany

  21. Joan responded on 30 May 2012 at 12:02pm Reply

    Oh dear, I am so disappointed. I was so looking forward to seeing Jonas sing. However, I agree with everyone here who has said he must take good care. Get well soon, Jonas, but don't rush it. Your health is more important; your fans can wait. Good wishes from France. Joan

  22. Elise Fauré responded on 30 May 2012 at 5:04pm Reply

    Cher Monsieur Jonas Kaufmann,
    Prenez le temps de vous rétablir, afin que nous puissions longtemps vous entendre et vous voir et admirer votre grand talent.Vous êtes le meilleur.

  23. Lieber Jonas,
    Nous vous souhaitons de tout notre coeur une meilleure santé , a vous qui vous donnez totalement á chaque soirée. Comment ne pas être navré de ne pas vous entendre dans Énée , après nous avoir cruellement manqué dans Siegmund au Met le 7 mai . Vous aviez été si gentil avec moi lors de notre conversation ä New-York l'an dernier... Aussi guérissez vite et que notre enchantement musical reprenne.
    Jean-Philippe , a french fan from New-York .

  24. Hariclea responded on 31 May 2012 at 2:44pm Reply

    @Attila.. we don't know specifics, but let it be said that i don't think Carmen Giannatassio was substandard in any way and I enjoyed Boheme very much; and one reason why this run was successful in drawing in even people who have seen way too many Bohemes in their lifetime like me, was the good level of singing throughout and the harmony in the team which came across on stage. This was a good show because it was well rehearsed and well put together and it became better then the sum of it’s parts, as was the case with Rigoletto, with some of Traviatas etc. It’s what tends to make revivals at this House pretty good and better than many at other houses, because they do a bit more rehearsing and take it seriously every time, bother to adapt it to the new casts and give cast, orchestra and conductor to work at it together. I would be upset and seriously angry if I ever heard such musical chaos on stage as I have experienced for example in recent years at the Wien Staatsoper where revivals never seem to get even 1 orchestra rehearsals. No star can carry the show on their own if the piece if falling to bits around them, the overall standard is what makes a great show and that is what this House is good at. That is also why we get good conductors to work here too I think, because the House gives them the chance to work and develop their view of the work with the cast and that is important. I do think it would be nice if we could offer singers who are around for rehearsals for longer periods of time the opportunity to appear in other shows if they wish and maybe that would be something to consider (more for this House and for this audience if they are willing to give at the end of the day ;-)))), but I don’t think dispensing with most rehearsal time would be good for the audience. I’ll be looking forward to Mrs Harteros Desdemona as everyone else, but I don’t see the use or outcome of bashing the House for decisions singers have to take for whatever reason they need to take them. For our continued enjoyment of wonderful opera experiences everyone in the House, singers, cast, orchestra, conductors, directors etc need to raise the bar, it wouldn’t benefit anyone if the bar was lowered.

  25. Sue responded on 1 June 2012 at 3:09pm Reply

    The house employs these singers, so it must take some responsibility for cancellations. I love Harteros, but if she cancels again, all future contracts should be terminated - it is simply unfair to audiences who pay to see an advertised performer and then see a replacement. Kaufmann is not a serial canceller but I do hope he's employed for a revival at least.

    • Kasper Holten responded on 3 June 2012 at 8:09pm

      @Sue: Jonas is indeed already booked for Verdi's Don Carlo next season, and we look forward to having him back and wish him a speedy recovery.

  26. Françoise Daskalakis responded on 1 June 2012 at 9:42pm Reply

    Cher Monsieur Jonas Kaufmann,
    La France vous aime. Vous êtes un rayonnement pour l'art lyrique. Rétablissez-vous au sein de votre famille, afin que nous puissions à nouveau vous entendre et vous voir.
    Vous êtes pour nous le Prince de l'Opéra.

  27. Jeff responded on 3 June 2012 at 9:01am Reply

    Hey listen Kaufmann may be out but you people are SO lucky he was replaced with Bryan Hymel who is an unbelievable talent on the scene. I'd consider myself lucky to hear Kaufmann, but I'd also consider myself lucky to hear Hymel who will no doubt be singing 20-30 years from now... you can say you remembered when! He's a fabulous voice with a top that is rarely heard in his voice type.

  28. Roberto responded on 10 June 2012 at 10:25am Reply

    If audiences didn't expect perfection, singers wouldn't cancel as often. Critics are very quick to shoot down a singer that doesn't sound as good as the cd. This is an impossibility. Jonas has only got one pair of vocal folds and should take care of them. The same for any other singer .

  29. catherine Gidel responded on 10 June 2012 at 6:38pm Reply

    Cher Jonas, il semble que d'après les dernières nouvelles vous alliez mieux. quel bonheur! sachez que nous pensons beaucoup à vous dans ces moments difficiles e que j'ai formulé mes voeux les plus chers pour que vous sortiez de cette mauvaise période. vous êtes si généreux dans vos prestations et vous vous donnez tellement vous êtes si gentil! . j'espère vous retrouver à SALZBOURG en pleine forme! je serai à LONDRES mais avec un pincement au coeur. Nous vous aimons et vous soutenons. Courage! et Merci pour tout le bonheur que vous nous donnez. Catherine, une fan parisienne voyageuse.

  30. Sue Tweats responded on 28 June 2012 at 5:14pm Reply

    So sorry to learn of Jonas Kaufmann's illness. Hope he is soon on the mend. Take care of that glorious voice.

  31. Rosamund Dallow-Smith responded on 22 July 2012 at 6:42am Reply

    Herr Kaufmann,I am a recent addition to your admirers- after seeing your Lecouvreur-Faust-Tosca-Walkure film appearances. I realised that another great artist has joined my list of immortals- Caruso, Schipa, Tagliavini,Tauber-please consider one fact only, your health and welfare are the basis of your life and career. The great vocal, artistic and musical gifts must be cherished and protected. Lo Strumento, as the Neapolitan giant called his voice-to be cared for like a Stradivarius.
    I wish you everything good, take care.Rosamund Dallow,Sydney,Australia

  32. Erda responded on 31 July 2012 at 2:07am Reply

    Dear mr Kaufmann, I went to NY (from Antwerpen in Belgium) to hear you sing in Walkure. Was very disappointed to hear you were ill. Please take good care off your Voice And your general health. THE world Would be à sadder place without your Voice in it to bring us the beauty we so desperately need in these Sad times.
    All the best. Simon

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