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Jonas Kaufmann (born 10 July 1969) is a German operatic tenor. He is best known for his performances in spinto roles such as Don José in Carmen, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur, and the title role in Don Carlos. He has also sung leading tenor roles in the operas of Richard Wagner in Germany and abroad, most notably at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He is also an accomplished Lieder singer. In 2014 The New York Times described Kaufmann as "a box-office draw, and... the most important, versatile tenor of his generation."
Kaufmann was born in Munich. His father worked for an insurance company, and his mother was a kindergarten teacher. He had one older sister. He started studying piano when he was eight, and he sang in his elementary school choir. Although he studied for mathematics entrance exams, in the summer of 1989 he began his vocal training at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich. While studying, he sang some small roles at the Bavarian State Opera. He graduated from school in 1994 achieving distinctions both in opera and concert performances.
In 1995, after a vocal crisis, Kaufmann received help from American baritone Michael Rhodes who taught him a "new way of singing" and how to become "more relaxed in my voice and in myself." In Kaufmann's book Meinen die wirklich mich? he said, "To find a Michael Rhodes that can really help you and bring you to success is really a great stroke of luck."