Tenor Jonas Kaufmann recounts his fight against his lung infection


By Le Figaro

Published ,
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Jonas Kaufmann performed on December 2 in Hamburg, on the sidelines of the draw for the European Football Cup. ODD ANDERSEN / AFP

The opera star suffered from a multidrug-resistant infection. The antibiotic treatment worked, but not without disabling side effects.

A jubilee that did not go as planned. Having to celebrate thirty years of career this year, the German tenor Jonas Kauffmann was forced to increase the number of cancellations, in particular his participation in the Paris concert on July 14 as well as in theOthello given at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. The cause is an infection with multi-resistant germs.

The 54-year-old singer gave reuring news this weekend about his state of health and recovery. in Austrian daily life Die Presseas he returns to the stage at the Vienna 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 confides. And to add: “I went from one doctor to another and each had a different opinion: reflux, food intolerance, allergies, runny nose syndrome. No treatment worked. Neither rest nor a long stay by the sea“.

I was in full doubt. I asked myself, ‘Am I doing something wrong? Is it due to a change in technique?’“, remembers Jonas Kaufmann. Until finally, a strain of multi-resistant bacteria was identified that reacted to only two antibiotics. “I then had to take high doses for four weeks and the side effects were terrible. I still have a few today”he admits, “I noticed an improvement from the third day. But I could only stop taking the medicine once all the bacteria was 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 as calm.

Read alsoTenor Jonas Kaufmann warns of suicide risk among artists

If I was at the very beginning of my career, I would have had to start from scratch.”

And note: “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, this would have been impossible. We would have had to start from scratch.”.

Asked by Le Figaro in September, Jonas Kaufman wanted to be confident: “I have often faced more or less serious problems and I remain completely confident in my ability to recover. Things would probably be different if I had had to undergo one or more vocal cord surgeries. It’s complicated, psychologically, to know that the immensity of an opera, and of your career for which you have sacrificed so much, rests solely on these two tiny things that serve as your vocal cords. But after thirty years, I still have absolute confidence in my instrument“.



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