When Jonas Kaufmann made a triumphal return to the opera stage in January after a long lay off with throat troubles, it was as Lohengrin on the massive Bastille stage of the Paris Opera. The huge production – which first debuted at La Scala in 2012 – featured enormous sets and choruses but, perhaps more notably, in yet another marker of how far the staging of opera has moved from the days of the ‘singing sofa’, the world’s greatest tenor sang one of the most haunting moments in the opera, Mein lieber schwan, lying in a foetal position, facing the back of the stage – and it worked. When Kaufmann returns to the Sydney Opera House to perform Parsifal in August – and for what could be the last time we see him here – the dynamics will be very different. We will not just have moved from Richard Wagner’s middle period to his final opera, or from the story of Lohengrin to the story of his father Parsifal, but to a concert performance of an epic five-hour opera. Jonas Kaufmann in Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Photo © Ken Howard The man frequently described as the greatest tenor
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