© Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Siegfried 2019


Some more digital links - Kaufmann, Valentin Schwarz and Ludovic Tezier
Featuring Jonas Kaufmann and Ludiovic Tezier appealing for aid to singers and an interview with Valentin Schwarz , director of this year's new Ring in Bayreuth
The first two items are in German, for those that can manage it and a rough translation into English of Ludovic Tezier's open letter in French is at the end.

CORONA, CORONA“ sung by Jonas Kaufmann – to appeal for the charity„Sängerhilfe.de“ (aid for singers)




Here is a link to the charity's website: 



How does Valentin Schwarz work? Can he work at all this festival summer? Will we be spared anything?

Valentin Schwarz – pictured at a rehearsal in Dresden. Photo: Youtube

Bayreuth is not yet lost! However, it does not look promising. But perhaps a miracle will happen.
From whom can this come? Here I see nobody!

3 SAT watched Valentin Schwarz at work rehearsing Offenbach in Dresden 

Have a look - from 18 minutes into the programme


French baritone Ludovic Tézier (seen above with Renate Wagner, photo: Barbara Zeininger) addressed the Forum Opéra editorial team of French publication Forum Opera with the following message, in response to the current situation in which artists have found themselves for several weeks.  Here is the text (translated from the French)

Dear colleagues, friends, enemies and lovers of culture and opera,
Since the outbreak of the crisis that has hit our country and the rest of the world, many players in our way of life - now so disrupted - have been impacted head-on by the health restriction measures - which are clearly necessary. In this unfathomable maelstrom, our profession is being swept away and is desperately seeking a lifeline. Without listening to the authorities in place, of which no one will be surprised that we are not currently the focus, our "little circle of craftsmen" will be annihilated, without appeal; I am thinking in particular of the weakest, the youngest, whose survival has always depended on the next stamp. Our existences, contrary to the widespread image of lightness that sticks to us, are restless racers after the next contract and demand planning of the future that few, outside the brotherhood, suspect. It is worth pointing out,  that everyone understands that such an abrupt closure, unaccompanied by financial measures, is for many a deadly stab in the back. Of course, I do not place myself in this extreme situation, although everyone, albeit in very different degrees of severity, is affected.
On this basis, the approach taken by the lyric artists in the context of a joint letter is quite justifiable; and if certain blunders, which the state of shock of the moment can easily explain, may have given rise to gnashing of teeth, the bottom line of the problem is well and truly set: the survival of our profession; not in the next few days, the next few weeks, but in the next six months, or even...
Who, singer or not, because it's beyond our family, can without much diffculty live on his savings for six months and more?
I am personally shocked, though unfortunately hardly surprised, that the "ideal opera family" is proving, in the current debacle, to be an "illusory family". In effect, I ask this question: how is it that all the lyric theatres on earth - caught in the mirror of certain artistic moons in recent years - still do not understand, faced with a primary reality like this pandemic, that its own survival, the very justification of its existence, rests on lyric artists and their voices?
How can it not be that this group of theatres stand shoulder to shoulder with its artists and represent with all its weight the profession - this famous family with a decidedly variable geometry - to the authorities, the only ones capable of safeguarding it? And this safeguarding must concern all the precarious personnel, without whom no show can be produced.
Disunity is the mother of threats. The financial disengagement of opera institutions, linked to the cancellation of current contracts, as well as the suspension of future ones, does not help, to say the least, to get out of the rut, the crevasse, those who make up the very life and interest of these scenes. Moreover, the Minister of Culture, Mr. F. Riester, himself very recently encouraged these institutions to move in the direction of paying fees to artists, which, unfortunately, is not the music that theatres are playing in concert at this time of day. As I deeply hope, all the other hard-hit trades will be assisted and kept alive, foremost among them all the health-related professions, so many of whom are my friends and who see every day the unspeakable unfolding before their eyes, even though they are seasoned, in the service of all.
Lyric theatres have been suffering for years from a chronic decline in subsidies; this is not so much the result of a disaffection of the audience that fills our halls every night, but rather the result of an old disinterest in budgetary policies, so sadly accountable that they have come to bellow on a key pillar of our society: health. We see the result in this hour of grim truth.
Just as it is not, in my opinion, the time to demand anything other than aid and justice, however legitimate those demands may ultimately be, it seems to me more than inappropriate to be tempted to save money at the expense of people whom nothing, absolutely nothing, covers in such a case. Except to consider that they are nothing, or at best interchangeable.

As I said a short while ago to one of our great medical professors, who paid me a nice compliment, "we artists, unlike you, don't save lives! "To which he replied, "You help us save them through the dream you bring us.
Anything that participates positively in society, amends and improves it. This is our role, not so modest after all: to communicate the beautiful, to elevate. As such we are not marginal.

Finally, in order to reduce the oppressive nature of the necessary confinement, The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, in his last speech, encouraged our fellow citizens to rediscover simple values, to reconnect with culture; at the same time, these same theatres, which seem, in unison, to be turning their backs on their artists, are broadcasting a number of magnificent recordings free of charge on their website to appease the incarcerated populations a little. What better proof that we are not incidental if we are called to the bedside of anguish? And what an honour it is to distract a few hours during our sisters and brothers facing adversity! Theatres, do not mistreat those who are the blood of your veins, the artists, those for whom the public fills your halls, sometimes coming from far away; do not neglect those who justify the subsidies that feed you.
May I conclude by saying that I don't know today what my name is "worth" - probably not much in the storm? So it is as an operatic artist who, in the thirty years that I have been working for our opera houses, has gone through the ups and downs of a career, that I express myself. Everyone who knows me knows that, like my friends on stage, I give my best in each of my roles; like them, I leave my energy, my love, often my own... when I am far from home, a lot of my life, a piece of my soul. That's the job! And like all of you, I love this job.
Is culture that important in our lives? What about opera? Of course I'm convinced of that; everyone can answer the question with their own conscience and their own idea of what life should be like. But the women and men who are brought to the stage before you - who with fear of precariousness in their stomachs, who with swollen vocal chords, in absolute uncertainty when they deliver their wounded voices to the public, who after a separation, the death of a loved one - these women and men bring us not only their art, so demanding in terms of work and sacrifice, but their unique personality: they bring colour to our disenchanted societies. I wish each of them, like myself, the great good fortune to be with them.
We must save the profession, we must save those who bring light to the stage, otherwise the lanterns will slowly fade away.

In the name of all this, and of my colleagues whom I love and admire, I ask you to understand and appreciate the reasons for this cry of alarm, which must not become a swan song... for all of us, for generations to come.

Mozart, without the experienced throat that serves him or the musician who enlightens him, would definitely die a death, and the lyrical theatres that do not support their best defenders, the artists, would complete the nailing of his coffin... just as they dig their own graves. I apologize in advance to so many, who are suffering cruelly at the moment, for having to use this morbid metaphor. But the mutual incomprehension must stop, so that, in solidarity, we can save ourselves together.
I embrace you, and I wholeheartedly wish you discipline and courage.