Kaufmann withdraws from Les Troyens

Singer cancels due to illness

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The tenor Jonas Kaufmann has had to withdraw from his role as EnĂ©e (Aeneas) in the Royal Opera House’s production of Berlioz’s Les Troyens, because of illness.

Kaufmann, who has been suffering from an infection since April, will be replaced by Bryan Hymel, who performed the role with De Nederlandse Opera in Amersterdam last year.

Kaufmann has also had to pull out of several other performances across Europe, including an appearance at Wigmore Hall on 10 June where he was due to sing a programme of music by Liszt, Richard Strauss, Duparc and Mahler. He was taken ill during the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle that ran from the beginning of April.

‘I am deeply sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment caused to my audience, and to the Royal Opera House,’ said Kaufmann. ‘I hope my decision will be respected as an act of responsibility towards myself and the audience.’

The director of opera at the ROH, Kasper Holten, 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.’

Berlioz’s Les Troyens runs at the Royal Opera House from 25 June and will also be performed on 22 July at the Proms with a cast that also includes soprano Eva Maria Westbroek and baritone Fabio Capitanucci. Kaufmann has not formally cancelled his Proms appearance but the Royal Opera House have said it is unlikely that he will perform.

Laura Parkin