A profile of the star tenor about to make his debut with Opera Australia in August.

The first visit to Australia by the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann is one of the most anticipated events in this yearʼs performing arts calendar. Widely regarded as the finest tenor in the world today, Kaufmann, at 44, is in his prime.

Many operatic tenors have enjoyed highly successful careers based largely on the brilliance of their vocal technique alone. The ability of these singers to inhabit a character and act a role is sometimes quite limited. For Kaufmann, who has the typical curiosity and creative instinct of a born actor, it is the most natural thing in the world. He believes passionately that opera is, above all, a theatrical art in which the drama is conveyed by a singer-actor.

The journey to the heart and soul of a character fascinates him and gives his vocal and dramatic performances a resounding authenticity and emotional impact . As he says: “If you donʼt act based on the feelings you have it will never be real and it will never touch the audience.” No director could ever ask this artist to “go deeper!” Richard Eyre, the former Director of the National Theatre in London,...