I just came across news on the web that Jonas Kaufmann has cancelled at least one or two of his appearances as Cavaradossi at La Scala -- some sort of viral infection, apparently. I hate to say this, because Herr K. is not only my favorite tenor but seems to be one of the nicest people around -- but he is turning into the Cancellation King.
Certainly, no one should expect a singer who is ill or injured to perform. Unfortunately, illness and/or injury seem to afflict Herr Kaufmann with alarming frequency. I wonder if he simply isn't taking on too much of a workload, and needs to reduce the number of performances he commits to. Yes, that would mean fewer opportunities for us to hear him sing. But when his health forces him to cancel, the result is the same.
I speak (write?) from the perspective of someone who has often traveled to hear favorite singers perform. I have been extremely fortunate that, in all the past three decades, I've never been faced with a cancellation by the singer I've gone to hear. However, I can well imagine how disheartening it must be for someone who has spent a good bit of money for a ticket (which, at the major international houses, doesn't come cheap), airfare, and a hotel room (likewise, not exactly cheap), and has looked forward to hearing his/her favorite singer for months, only to be greated by a note in the program or an announcement from the stage that Miss/Mr. X won't be appearing that evening.
I will probably try to go to New York this Fall to hear the Jonas sing Faust, or to take in his recital at the Met. But in the back of my mind, I keep wondering about how much of a risk I'm taking that he'll be a no-show. (It wasn't long after I attended his Met debut that he ended up cancelling a recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington.)
Again, I know there are occasions when a cancellation simply cannot be avoided. And from everything I've read on the web, as well as my own experience, Jonas Kaufmann is a thoroughly lovely individual who genuinely cares about his fans. But I do wish he could find a way to take better care of his health, even if it means that he comes to the U.S. less often. (It has also occurred to me that his accessibility to his fans could be part of the problem. I would hope that anyone who has a cold and still chooses to attend a performance would have the decency and common sense not to try to meet singers afterward, and risk passing the infection on to them.)