Jonas Kaufmann is the star of international opera houses who has won acclaim for his voice and interpretation of leading roles.
Critics hailed the German tenor's performance in Carmen, at London's Covent Garden saying it was, "the darkest, most passionate Don José in decades."
The 40-year-old, whose professional career began in 1994, believes his voice is the key to his work and performances.
"This voice is for me the most beautiful instrument in the world because there is nothing in-between, it goes directly out of your body, directly out of your feelings, out to the world," he said.
Today he's capable of perfecting his own voice. It wasn't always the case. When he began, bad advice and inappropriate teaching almost ruined his career.
"I came to the point after my first year and the first contract that I completely lost my voice, I wasn't able to sing anything anymore, even the lightest, the 'easiest' thing. The sensation of being on stage, and realising with every line you're singing that the voice is going down and you probably won't be able to even talk within the next ten minutes, it's extremely frightening."People expect very typical sounds from a young German singer. I sang less and less and less because everybody said oh, be quiet, softly, softly, don't touch your voice, don't do too much, and I ended up having no voice at all. Finally I met a teacher who said to me just open your mouth, just let it out, and sing with your own full voice," he recalled.
"What I put into my singing are my real feelings. You reach a point of total joy, of complete heroism, of complete destruction, and as you are doing that for the audience, you're looking into yourself, you see your soul, and that is something that can frighten because that means all those things, all those thoughts, all those feelings are inside."
"When I'm leaving the stage, thank God, I'm myself, so I can switch that off and I can become a Jonas Kaufmann again," he explained.
A Jonas Kaufmann who is appreciated throughout the opera world with an established international reputation.
Michel Plasson, Benoît Jacquot – Jonas Kaufmann (Werther), Sophie Koch (Charlotte)
Südwestdeutsche Kammerphilharmonie Konstanz
Lucerne Festival 2003