“You don’t hear anything from here!” In the hushed atmosphere that is attractive to classical music concerts, apostropher the performers full representation is quite rare. And when it comes to one of the greatest singers of the time, the case inevitably turns to the controversy. The tenor star Jonas Kaufmann gave on Saturday in Hamburg Das Lied von der Erde Gustav Mahler, with the Sinfonieorchester Basel, under the direction of Jochen Rieder. This symphony for voice and orchestra, alternates between major movements epic and pianissimi.

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For the music lover, this is a happiness. For the solo, or the soloist, since Jonas Kaufmann chooses to sing alone the whole cycle -it was a piece of bravery. For the acoustics of a room, Das Lied von der Erde test is a formidable one. In this case, the Elbe Philharmonic hall, which was inaugurated just two years, has not given satisfaction in all his public last weekend. Designed in the vineyards, that is to say, with seats for the audience placed all around the stage, including behind the orchestra, the room has the defects of its qualities: all spectators are close by, even if some of them are in the back of musicians. Necessarily frustrating when it comes to parts with singing. The Elbphilharmonie, about 500 of the 2100 seats that are in back of the stage.

At the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, nearly one-quarter of the seats installed in the back of the soloists that occur there. CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS/AFP

Is it for this that a part of the audience felt obliged to express loudly their dissatisfaction, between the air – which is already a lack of taste – but also during the concert. “You don’t hear anything from here”, have launched some, according to the minutes prepared by the Hamburger Abendblatt . The story could have stopped with the memory of a concert ruined. The regional newspaper, however, has questioned the singer on the perception that he had of that evening and the witness of the tenor of bavaria, known for his generosity on stage, has not made everyone happy.


If Jonas Kaufmann provides understand the frustration of a section of the public, he considers, however, that the most restless are probably not fans or curious music but rather “tourists”, probably more intrigued by the novelty of the room by the gig. And it does not forgive the behaviour most rude. He recalled that the concentration of artists is very sensitive to everything that happens in the room.

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The tenor also wondered about the acoustics of the hall designed by the swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, with the acoustics of the renowned Yasuhisa Toyota. The sound will not depend on where you sit “but as the choice of the materials,” he explains, stressing that he himself had been “very disturbed” at the beginning by the room. “I wonder sincerely if at the time of conception, they would not have only thought of the concerts with a large orchestra and not to the entire diversity of our trades,” he adds, leaving room for doubt about his desire to return in the “großer Saal” of the vienna Philharmonic.

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The complex was designed by swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, was inaugurated in January, 2017. ANDBZ/ANDBZ/ABACA

when Asked by the site Olyrix, the direction of the Elbe Philharmonic hall recognizes of course that the squares of the back-scene, for the most economic, are “disadvantageous to the spectators of a singer or vocalist solo, which is close to the conductor.”. The spokesperson of the institution minimizes however, this inconvenience, by emphasizing that “some 700 concerts that took place in the great hall of the Elbphilharmonie since its inauguration, the acoustics and the arrangement of the chairs not have been a problem for three or four concerts.”

The controversy that wipes the Elbe Philharmonic hall today is the last date for a building that has caused much ink to flow in Germany. The project, which was to be inaugurated in 2010, has taken seven years of delay. Especially with the amount of work exceeded the 865 million euros, whereas the initial budget of 2003, which did certainly not account for all of the equipment, was $ 77 million.