Greatest Opera Singers

Greatest Opera Singers

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Josef Gostic (Tenor) (Stara loka, Slovenia March 5, 1900 – Belgrad, Serbia December 25, 1963)


                                                                            Parsifal


First he studied at the Conservatory of Ljubljana, then completed his education in Vienna. In 1929 he made his debut at the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. In 1937 he became the first tenor of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, where he and appeared until the end of his career. Guest appearances brought him successes in Berlin and Dresden, in Prague and Belgrade, later also in Paris (1953) and London. Since 1943 he often appeared as a guest at the Volksoper in Wien, since 1944 also at the Staatsoper in Wien. Since 1958 he was a regular member of this opera house. On 14. 8. 1952 at the Salzburg Festival he sang the role of Midas in the premiere of Richard Strauss’s opera ‘’Die Liebe der Danaë’’. In 1955 he sang at the London Stoll Theater in the English premiere of the opera ‘’Ero s onoga svijeta’’ by J. Gotovac under the direction of the composer. In 1958 he was a guest at the London Covent Opera. Most of his repertoire included heroic roles. He continued his career until the sixties.

Chronology of some appearances

1929 Ljubljana Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre
1937 Zagreb Croatian National Theatre
1943 Wien Volksoper
1944 Wien Staatsoper
1952 Salzburg Festival
1955 London Stoll Theater
1958 London Covent Garden

Voldemars Ancarovs-Kadikis (Tenor) (Odessa, Ukraine 26. 03. 1902 – Germany, Hannover ? 31. 01. 1982)




He was a soloist of the Latvian National Opera, Riga. In 1935 he sang in operetta at the Theater an der Wien. In 1940’s he appeared at the opera houses of Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Hannover, Aachen and Oldenburg.  In addition he his voice was heard on broadcasting stations in Germany.

Chronology of some appearances

1930’s Riga Latvian National Opera
1935 Theater an der Wien
1940’s Hamburg, Munich, Berlin
1940’s Hannover, Aachen, Oldenburg
1940’s Germany Radio broadcasting stations

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Ivan Levar (Baritone) (Rakek, Slovenia 8. 09. 1888 – Ljubljana, Slovenia 28. 11. 1950)




First he studied singing under Unger in Vienna, then from 1909 to 1912 completed his education at the Academy of Music and Theater in Vienna. In the 1912-1913 season he was engaged as the first baritone by the Opera Theater  in Moravian Ostrava. From 1913 to 1914 he appeared at the Aachen City Theater. His repertoire included part from operas of Wagner, Verdi and Mozart. He made guest appearances in Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Lübeck, Graz, Prague and Breslav. In the 1914-1918 seasons he was a member of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. Here he participated in opera premieres of G. Puccini’s ‘’La Fanciulla del West’’ and R. Strauss’s ‘’Salome’’. In 1918 he joined to the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Ljubljana and worked here up to 1924. His repertoire included Figaro, Rigoletto, Scarpia in ‘’Tosca’’, Tonia in ‘’Pagliacci’’, Athanaël  in ‘’Thais’’ and many other parts. Since 1924 he started to appear as an actor and his star role was Jago in Shakespeare’s ‘’Otello’’.

Chronology of some appearances

1912-1913 Moravian Ostrava Opera Theater
1913-1914 Aachen City Theater
1914-1918 Zagreb Croatian National Theatre
1918-1924  Ljubljana Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Marcel Génio (Tenor) (Paris, France 5. 7.1899 – Paris, France 5. 21 1980)




He studied singing at the Conservatoire de Paris under legendary opera singers André Gresse and Thomas Salignac and obtained there a few singing prizes and medals. He made his debut at the Opéra-Comique in ’’le Bon roi Dagobert’’ by Marcel Samuel-Rousseau (1927). His repertoire included Sciarrone in ‘’Tosca’’, Schmidt in ‘’Werther’’, Beppe in ‘’Pagliacci’’, Yamadori in ‘’Madama Butterfly’’, Nathanael/Spalanzani in ‘’les Contes d’Hoffmann’’, Hadji  in ‘’Lakmé‘’, Poet in ‘’Louise’’ etc.

Chronology of some appearances

1927 Paris Opéra-Comique le Bon roi Dagobert (Marcel Samuel-Rousseau) (Debut)
1928 Paris Opéra-Comique Sarati le Terrible (Francis Bousquet) (Premiere)
1928 Paris Opéra-Comique Riquet à la houppe (Georges Hüe) (Premiere)
1929 Paris Opéra-Comique la Femme et le pantin ou Conchita (Zandonai) (Premiere)
1930 Paris Opéra-Comique d'Angélique Jacques Ibert (Premiere)
1930 Paris Opéra-Comique Le Fou de la Dame (Marcel Delannoy) (Premiere)
1931 Paris Opéra-Comique Cantégril (Roger-Ducasse) (Premiere)
1932 Paris Opéra-Comique Eros vainqueur (Pierre de Bréville) (Premiere)
1932 Paris Opéra-Comique Vieux garçons (Louis Urgel) (Premiere)
1933 Paris Opéra-Comique Tarass Boulba (Marcel Samuel-Rousseau) (Premiere)
1933 Paris Opéra-Comique Frasquita (Franz Lehar)
1935 Mon Ami Pierrot (le Perroquet) (Samuel Barlow) (Premiere)
1935 Paris Opéra-Comique Gargantua (Antoine Mariotte) (Premiere)

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Silvano Benedetti (Tenor) (Rome 1900 – Rome 1962)









Born Silvano Proietti, son of sculptor Vincenzo Proietti (1876-1945) and Agata Monti (1873-1948), he was baptised at S. Giovanni Laterano and changed his family name into Benedetti in 1928. The reason is still not clear.

There is evidence of public performances already since 1924 in Rome – under the name Silvano Monti (using the surname of his mother, Agata Monti) or even Silvio Monti. In an very early review from “Piccolo Giornale d’Italia”, he appears as “tenore Proietti”.

He took lessons with the famous teacher Giovanni Villa (from Rome). Between 1928-1930 (at least) he participates to the courses of Gemma Bellincioni at the “Teatro Sperimentale Internazionale della Giovane Lirica” in Rome. At some point he had also an interaction with Maestro Giulio Moreschi, tenor, the adoptive son of castrato Alessandro Moreschi.

He sang mainly romantic opera: roles (or excerpts) from Rigoletto (Duca), Luisa Miller, Boheme (Rodolfo), Lodoletta (Mascagni), Masnadieri (Verdi), Lucia di Lammermoor, Faust, Fedora, Gioconda, Traviata (Alfredo), Turandot (Calaf), Aida (Radames), L’Africana, Fanciulla del West.

His career was interrupted in the middle of the 1930s, when it was at its most promising point, due to a sudden neurological loss of hearing – which, seemingly, happened  on stage during a performance of Lucia di Lammermoor. This dramatic event would mark his life forever.

He was a Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Corona d’Italia. After participating as a volunteer to the First World War as an aviator, he was later an ufficiale of Civil Engineering during the Second World War, especially in Albania. During the escape from Albania, he was a prisoner of the German SS in the Lager of Semlin (Belgrad) – being able to return to Italy at the beginning of 1944 hidden in a wagon of cows. By this time his hearing handicap became worse.

After having to give up the musical career, he worked at the Ministero dei Lavori Pubblici in Rome until his death, a work that he started already during his musical career.

He died tragicly in the night between 27th and 28th March 1962.

His grandson Flavio Ferri-Benedetti (born 1983) is a countertenor.

Newspaper excerpts:

“Il tenore Proietti ha esordito con la sua squillante voce dando molto a sperare nella carriera che gli auguriamo brillantissima” [Piccolo Giornale d’Italia]
“il tenore Silvano Monti, una vera promessa dell’arte lirica.” [Piccolo Giornale d’Italia]
“grande promessa per l’arte” [Tribuna]
“gi® tanto applaudito nella Bohçme...” [Messaggero]

“Il giovane tenore romano S. Benedetti... fin dalle prime note, il Benedetti si impose all’attenzione del pubblico per la sua bella voce maschia, calda, estesissima, educata ad ottima scuola, per l’accento appassionato e il fraseggio impeccabile, per la signorilita del tratto e la spigliatezza dell’azione scenica. I primi consensi si manifestarono alla “gelida manina” cantata con arte mirabile e, contrariamente all’uso invalso, nel tono voluto dalla partitura: gli applausi crebbero poi via via, culminando al duetto con Mimê, al finale del primo atto [...] alla fine del terzo atto e del quarto, il Benedetti, chiamato dagli scroscianti battimani degli spettatori, dove presentarsi alla ribalta per ben cinque volte... Successo quindi schietto e caloroso che rappresenta per questo giovane tenore romano un buon battesimo d’arte e un ottimo auspicio per il suo avvenire, il quale confermera, senza dubbio, dinanzi ai migliori e pi÷ vasti pubblici, quel riconoscimento che alle magnifiche doti vocali e interpretative del Benedetti, ha dato, con vibrante entusiasmo, Ancona.” [TRIBUNA, Boheme, Ancona Teatro delle Muse, 1930]

I would like to thank Flavio Ferri-Benedetti for the information and photos.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Bernd Aldenhoff (Tenor) (Duisburg, Germany 14. 6. 1908 – München, Germany 8. 10. 1959)


                                                                          Tannhäuser


He was one of the best German heldentenors of his time. Originally he was a carpenter. He studied singing under Julius Lenz in Köln and made his debut at the Oper in Köln (1932). His repertoire included  Florestan in ‘’Fidelio’’, Lohengrin, Siegmund in ‘’Walküre’’, Matthias in ‘’Evangelimann’’ of W. Kienzl, Titelrolle in ‘’Der arme Heinrich’’ of H. Pfitzner, Pedro in ‘’Tiefland’’ of E. d'Albert, Bacchus in ‘’Ariadne auf Naxos’’, Herodes in ‘’Salome’’ and Ägisth in ‘’Elektra’’ of R. Strauss, Fabiano in ‘’Der Günstling’’ of R. Wagner-Régeny, Rodolfo in ‘’La Bohème’’, Titelrollen in ‘’ Les contes d'Hoffmann’’ of Offenbach and in ‘’Sly’’ of E. Wolf-Ferrari.

Chronology of appearances

1930-1932 Stuttgart Opernhaus (Chorist)
1932-1933 Köln Oper (Debut)
1934-1935 Darmstadt Theater
1937 Zoppot festival
1935-1938 Erfurt Theater an das
1938-1944 Düsseldorf Opernhaus
1939 Frankfurt a.M. Opernhaus
1943-1952 Dresden Staatsoper
1944 Wien Volksoper
1950 Berlin Komischen Oper
1950 Wien Staatsoper
1951-1952 Bayreuth festival
1952-1957 Frankfurt a.M. Opernhaus
1954 Florence Teatro Comunale
1954-1955 New York  Metropolitan Opera
1955 Paris Grand Opéra
1956 München Staatsoper
1957 Bayreuth festival
1957 London Covent Garden
1957 Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie
1959 Milano La Scala
1959 Lisbon Teatro San Carlo
1959 Zurich Opernhaus
1959 Duisburg Stadttheater

Lorenz Fehenberger (Tenor) (Upper Bavaria, Germany August 24, 1912 - Munich, Germany July 29, 1984)




He studied singing under Elisabeth Wolff in München and made his debut in 1939 at the Stadttheater in Graz in R. Strauss’s ‘’Rosenkavalier’’. In the 1941-1945 seasons he was engaged by the Staatsoper in Dresden and joined in 1946 to the Bayerische Staatsoper in München. On 9. 8. 1949 at the Salzburg festival he sang the role of Haemon in the premiere of the opera ‘’Antigonae’’ by Carl Orff. Here he appeared as soloist in G. Rossini’s ‘’Stabat Mater’’ (1949/1962). He returned for the ‘’Schöpfung’’ of J. Haydn (1951), after two years sang also in ‘’Judas Makkabaeus’’ of G. F. Händel. In 1964 he guested in ‘’Christus am Ölberge’’ of L. van Beethoven, in 1967 in W. A. Mozart's ‘’Requiem’’ and took over in 1949 a small part in performances of ‘’Zauberflöte’’. Guest performances led him to the famous opera theaters of Italy, Austria, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland, also to the Scandinavian lands and South America (Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, 1951). At the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino he sang in 1951 the part of Golo in ‘’Genoveva’’ by R. Schumann (the Italian première of this opera). In the 1951-1952 season he appeared in several parts at the Arena di Verona. In 1953 he appeared at the Covent Garden among other things as Apollo in the première there of the opera ‘’Die Liebe der Danaë’’ of R. Strauss. Still in 1976 he performed at the Staatsoper in München in the premiere of the opera ‘’Die Versuchung’’ of  Josef Tal. In 1977 he appeared for the last time in München in ‘’Rosenkavalier’’. His repertoire included Radames in ‘’Aida’’, José in ‘’Carmen’’, Lohengrin, Duke in ‘’Rigoletto’’, Walther von Stolzing in ‘’Meistersingern’’, Alvaro in ‘’La Forza del Destino’’, Pinkertton in ‘’Madaa Butterfly’’and Cavaradossi in ‘’Tosca’’.

Chronology of some appearances

1939 Graz Stadttheater
1941-1945 Dresden Staatsoper
1946 München Bayerische Staatsoper
1949 Salzburg festival
1951 Buenos Aires Teatro Colón
1951 Firenze Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
1951-1952 Arena di Verona
1953 London Covent Garden
1962 Salzburg festival
1964 Salzburg festival
1967 Salzburg festival
1976-1977 München Staatsoper

Monday, April 2, 2018

Hans Beirer (Tenor) (Wiener Neustadt, Austria June 23, 1911 - Berlin, Germany June 24, 1993)


                                                                              Tristan


First he studied medicine in Vienna, then vocal at the Vienna Music Academy. He was a pupil of Tino Pattiera and Paul Neuhaus. He made his debut in 1936 at the Landestheater in Linz (Danube) as Hans in B. Smetana's ‘’The Bartered Bride’’. In the 1937-1939 seasons worked at the Stadttheater in Basel and St. Gallen, then, until 1941, he appeared as an operetta singer at the Mellini-Theater in Hannover. During the World War II he sang at the Theater of Nollendorfplatz in Berlin in operetta roles (among other things as Danilo in ‘’Lustigen Witwe’’ and Barinkay in ‘’Zigeunerbaron’’). In 1943 he was engaged by the Städtische Oper (Deutsche Oper) in Berlin, where he made his debut as Nando in ‘’Tiefland’’ of E. d'Albert. He remained connected to this opera house throughout his career. In 1948 he appeared there in the world premiere of the opera ‘’Circe’’ by Werner Egk. Since 1958 he was a member of the Staatsoper in Hamburg. From 1962 to 1987 he performed at the Staatsoper  in Vienna (there took place in 1987 his last appearance as Ägisth in ‘’Elektra’’ by R. Strauss). In the 1950-1951 season he appeared at La Scala as Tannhäuser and Parsifal, the next year in ‘’Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’’ (under  W. Furtwängler). He sang at this famous opera house also in 1957 as Tristan and again came back in 1967 for Tannhäuser. At the Teatro San Carlo in Naples he performed in the 1949-1950 season in ‘’Wozzeck’’by A. Berg. The role of Walther von Stolzing he sang at the City Center Opera of New York (1950). In 1955, 1957, 1958, in the 1960-1961 season and also in 1968 he guested at the Grand Opéra in Paris and performed in such a parts like Siegfried, Tannhäuser, Otello, Tristan, Erik, Florestan, Samson Siegmund and Tannhäuser.  At the Teatro Comunale in Bologna he was heard in 1957 as Siegfried, at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Tristan (1963), at the Teatro San Carlo in Lisbon as Samson (1961). He also appeared as a guest in Barcelona, ​​ Lyon (1964/1965), Toulouse (Otello), Brussels (1962-1963) and London (1953). At the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome he guested in 1949 as Parsifal (opposite Maria Callas and Cesare Siepi). Guest performances also took him to the Staatsoper of Munich and Stuttgart, additionally to the Opéra de Marseille and The Royal Danish Opera Housea and also Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa. In the 1958-1962 seasons he performed at the Bayreuth Festival as Parsifal, Tristan (1959) and Tannhäuser (1961). At the Salzburg Festival of 1951 he made guest appearances in ‘’Wozzeck’’ and ‘’Zauberflöte’’. On 23. 5. 1971 he performed at the Staatsoper in Vienna in the world premiere of the opera ‘’Der Besuch der alten Dame’’ by G. von Einem. In 1972 he sang the role of Alfred in ‘’Fledermaus’’ at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. At this house he worked over 40 years and became its honorary member. On his 75th birthday in 1986 he sang in Berlin the role of Herod in ‘’Salome’’ by R. Strauss. He was interested in many things and also worked as writer and painter.

Chronology of some appearances

1936 Linz Landestheater
1937-1939 Basel/ St. Gallen Stadttheater
1939-1941 Hannover Mellini-Theater
1942 Berlin Theater of Nollendorfplatz
1943 Berlin Städtische Oper
1949 Roma Teatro dell'Opera
1950 New York City Center Opera
1950-1952 Milano La Scala
1953 London Covent Garden
1955 Paris Grand Opéra
1957 Paris Grand Opéra
1957 Bologna Teatro Comunale
1958 Paris Grand Opéra
1958-1962 Bayreuth Festival
1960-1961 Paris Grand Opéra
1961 Lisbon Teatro San Carlo
1962-1963 Brussels La Monnaie
1963 Buenos Aires Teatro Colón
1964 Opéra National de Lyon
1965 ​​ Opéra National de Lyon
1968 Paris Grand Opéra
1958 Hamburg Staatsoper
1962-1987 Vienna Staatsoper
1972 Berlin Deutsche Oper
1986 Berlin Deutsche Oper

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Ernst Gruber (Tenor) (Vienna, Austria 20 December 1918 – Berlin, Germany 24 August 1979)


                                                                             Tristan


He studied singing with Karl Rössl-Majdan and Hans Depter in Vienna. In 1947 he made his debut at the Theater in Graz as Max in ‘’Freischütz’’ by Weber. From 1947 to 1948 he performed at theaters in Switzerland and Hungary. In 1949 he was engaged by the conductor Hermann Abendroth at the Nationaltheater in Weimar. Since 1953 he appeared as Heldentenor at the Opernhaus in Leipzig. At the same time he was a soloist of the Staatsoper in Dresden. One of his greatest successes was in Leipzig, where in 1962 he sang the part of Rienzi. Since 1964 he was a member of the ensemble of the Staatsoper in Berlin. Guest performances have taken him to the opera houses of Frankfurt a.M., Budapest,  Amsterdam. He also appeared in Barcelona, Lisbon, Poland, Finland and Romania as well as in the USA. His repertoire included also Radames in ‘’Aida’’ and Otello.

Chronology of some appearances

1947 Graz Theater
1947-1948  Switzerland/Hungary Opera Houses
1949 Weimar Nationaltheater
1953 Leipzig Opernhaus
1953 Dresden Staatsoper
1962 Leipzig Opernhaus
1964 Berlin Staatsoper

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Ion Dumitrescu (Tenor) (Giovanni Dimitresco) (Iaşi, Romania 30 December 1860 - London, England 4 March 1913)




First he studied in Iaşi, then in Bucharest under Giuseppe Cima. In 1885 he made his debut at the National Opera in Bucharest in the title role in G. Verdi's ‘’Ernani’’. After further studies in Milan with famous pedagogue Francesco Lamperti, he sang with great success at the Teatro Filodrammatico in G. Verdi's ‘’Rigoletto’’ and ‘’Trovatore’’. In the 1888-1889 season he undertook an Australian tour as a member of Italian opera company. In 1890 and 1892 he had a huge success at the Covent Garden Opera in London; here his repertoire included Don Ottavio in ‘’Don Giovanni’’, Enzo in ‘’Gioconda’’, Radames in ‘’Aida’’ and José in ‘’Carmen’’. In the 1890-1892 seasons he was a member of the Carl Rosa Opera Company, which made guest tours through England. Later he made guest appearances in Barcelona, Zurich (1901), Warsaw, Kiev, Moscow and St. Petersburg. His interpretation of Vasco in ‘’L'Africaine’’ and Raoul in ‘’Huguenots’’ was considered unsurpassed and compared to Enrico Tamberlik’s interpretation. He retired from the stage in 1912. Probably he committed suicide. Dimitresco never made records.

Chronology of some appearances

1888 Melbourne  Her Majesty's Trovatore (Manrico)
1888 Melbourne  Her Majesty's Carmen (Jose)
1888 Melbourne  Her Majesty's Rigoletto (Duca)
1888  Rio de Janeiro  Teatro Municipal Carmen (Jose)
1889 Sidney  New Opera House Carmen (Jose)
1889 Melbourne  Her Majestic's Ballo in maschera (Riccardo)
1890  Torino  Teatro Balbo Rigoletto (Duca)
1897 Parma  Teatro Regio Cavalleria Rusticana (Turiddu)
1897 Parma  Teatro Regio Pagliacci (Canio)
1897 Santiago del Cile  Teatro Municipal Trovatore (Manrico)
1898 Napoli  Teatro Bellini Traviata (Alfredo)
1898 Rio de Janeiro  Teatro Lirico Ugonotti (Raoul)
1899  Napoli  Teatro Bellini Ballo in maschera (Riccardo)
1899 Roma  Teatro Nazionale Rigoletto (Duca)
1900 Lisbona Teatro San Carlo Robert le diable (Robert)
1901  San Paolo  Teatro Santana Pagliacci (Canio)
1901 San Paolo  Politeama Trovatore (Manrico)
1901 Rio de Janeiro  Teatro Lirico Ugonotti (Raoul)
1902 Napoli Teatro San Carlo Ernani (Ernani)
1903 Trieste Verdi Germania (Federico)
1909 Quito Teatro Sucre Ernani (Ernani)
1910 Lima Teatro  Forero Ernani (Ernani)
1910 Lima Teatro  Forero Mefistofele (Faust)
1911 Genova  Teatro Carlo Felice Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
1911 Lecce  Politeama Greco Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
1911 Carpi  Teatro Comunale Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
1911 Roma  Teatro Nazionale Pagliacci (Canio)
1912 Bologna  Teatro Del Corso Rigoletto (Duca)
1912 Genova Politeama Genovese Tosca (Cavaradossi)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Estalle Bloomfield (Mezzo-soprano)


                                                                          Suzuki


In 1904 she participated in the concert at Minneapolis organized by Walter Damrosch. As a member of Henry W. Savage Opera Company she appeared at the Illinois Theater in Chicago as Suzuki in ‘’Madama Butterfly’’ (1907). She made guest appearances also at the Royal Opera in Dresden.

Chronology of some appearances

1904 Minneapolis Concert
1907 Chicago Illinois Theater
1908? Dresden Royal Opera

Blanche Arral (Soprano) (Liège, Belgium 10 October 1864 – Palisades Park, New Jersey 3 March 1945)




Born Clara Lardinois in Liège, Belgium, she studied under Mathilde Marchesi in Paris. In 1883 she began her career (under her real name) at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. Here she made her debut as Anita in ‘’Le portrait de Cervantes’’ of Dieulafary. She sang there small roles, appeared also in the premiere of J. Massenet’s ‘’Manon’’ (19. 1. 1884). Later she performed in various opera houses in Brussels, Paris and St. Petersburg before moving to the United States. In 1901 she was with a touring company in Indochina, while waiting for the 1902 Exposition of Hanoi to open, performing at Haiphong and the Hanoi Opera House. She joined the Metropolitan Opera for the 1909–1910 season. Unexpectedly in 1935 she gave some concerts on the American broadcasting company on which she herself commented and told numerous anecdotes from her career. Later she lived in New York.

Chronology of some appearances

1883 Paris Opéra-Comique
1909-1910 New York Metropolitan Opera

Melanie Kurt (Soprano) (Vienna January 8, 1880 – New York City March 11, 1941)


                                                                        Brünnhilde


She was born on January 8, 1880 in Vienna. Melanie Kurt first studied to become a pianist in her native City of Vienna before starting to take singing lessons. Later she went to Berlin, where Marie Lehmann, sister of the great soprano Lilli Lehmann, became her teacher. From 1897 to 1900 she only appeared as a pianist, before she gave her début at the civic theatre in Lübeck as 'Elisabeth' in Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser in 1902. From 1903 to 1904 she was engaged at Oper Leipzig, after further studies in Berlin she worked in Braunschweig from 1905 to 1908 before returning to Berlin where she sang at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, then (from 1912 to 1915) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. From her Berlin base Kurt started her international career, giving successful guest performances at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London (since 1910) and during the Salzburg Mozart-Fest in 1910 (which would become the Salzburg Festival later). Later she added La Scala in Milan, the Vienna State Opera, the Saxon State Opera Dresden and the Bavarian State Opera to the list. Her career reached its peak when she joined the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1914 where she succeeded Olive Fremstad as the company's leading Wagner soprano for three years. Her contract ended when the USA joined World War I in 1917 and Wagner operas were banned as being to German. Though the situation was difficult for Kurt she didn't return to Europe at once but stayed in the US until 1919 before returning to Germany. In the following years she sang mainly in Berlin again, in Leipzig, Stuttgart, Dresden, Vienna and at the famous Wagner Festival in Zoppot (1922), then a serious rival to the Bayreuth Festival. Around 1930 the singer retreated gradually from stage and started working as a teacher in Berlin. After 1933 Kurt - who was Jewish - had to emigrate to Vienna. In 1938, when the Nazis took over Austria Kurt left the continent for good and returned to the USA. Until her death in 1941 she lived and taught in New York City.


Chronology of some apperances

1902 Lübeck Civic Theatre
1903-1904 Leipzig Oper
1905-1908 Berlin Staatsoper
1910 London Covent Garden
1912-1915 Berlin Staatsoper
1914 New York Metropolitan Opera

Éva Gauthier (Ottawa, Ontario September 20, 1885 – New York City December 20 or 26, 1958)




She began her education at the age of 13 with Frank Buels in Ottawa and as a young girl sang in 1901 in Ottawa as contralto at St. Patrick's Church in church concerts. In 1901 she was sent to Europe for further studies. There she was a student of Dubulle and Bouhy in Paris, William Shakespeare in London and Anna Schoen-Rene in Berlin. In 1905 she had a great success as concert singer in Paris. In 1906 she accompanied the famous prima donna Emma Albani as assistant artist on her farewell tour through Canada. After additional education under legendary tenor Giuseppe Oxilia in Milan, she made her debut at the Teatro Regio in Parma, now as soprano, singing the part of Micaela in ‘’Carmen’’ (1910). The same year she also appeared at the London Covent Garden. In 1911 she married a Dutchman, with whom she moved to Batavia, Java. In 1916 she separated from him and came to North America. Here she gave very successful concerts. She was a friend of such a composers like Schoenberg, Satie, Ravel, Stravinsky, Honegger and Poulenc and was regarded as an important interpreter of songs of modern composers. In 1917 she appeared in Stravinsky's ‘’Poème Japonais’’ at Aeolian Hall in New York. In 1923 she first time sang George Gershwin’s works during a song recital in New York and was accompanied by the composer at the piano. She also appeared in Europe in the 1920’s. In 1925 she performed in Venice. In 1926 and 1928 she made guest appearances in Berlin. Her career lasted until the years of World War II. Her sister Juliette Gauthier (1888-1972) was a mezzo soprano and like her a successful concert singer.

Chronology of some appearances

1910 Parma Teatro Regio
1910 London Covent Garden

Peter Dawson (Bass-Baritone) (Adelaide, South Australia 31 January 1882 – Sydney, Australia 27 September 1961)




He was known in his youth as an athlete, namely as a boxer. He decided to study singing after winning a gold medal at an amateur competition in Ballarat. He came to England in 1902 and became a student of Sir Charles Santley. Since about 1904 he traveled to England, gave everywhere under the pseudonym Hector Grant Ballad Concerts and participated as an assisting artist on tours of famous singers (such as Emma Albani). In 1909 he completed a very successful Australian tour. During the First World War he appeared in many charity concerts in England as well as in Australia. In 1926 he gave a series of concerts at the Wigmore Hall and at the Aeolian Hall in London. In 1931, together with the pianist Mark Hambourg, he traveled in Australia. He made eight major tours through Australia and New Zealand and several trips through South Africa. He performed in India, Japan and China. He rarely appeared on stage, as in 1907 and 1909 at the London Covent Garden as comprimario in ‘’Meistersingern’’. In 1955 he sang in the English radio and still after his 70th year of life he made records. He was the teacher of soprano Joan Cross. He published an autobiography entitled 'Fifty Years of Song' (London, 1951). He also worked as a composer of songs and ballads, which he edited under the pseudonym P. MacCall.

Chronology of some appearances

1907 London Covent Garden
1909 London Covent Garden

Monday, March 12, 2018

Enrico Rigattieri (Tenor)



                                                                           Canio


He studied singing in Florence under Giovanni Mirabella and made his debut as Duke in ‘’Rigoletto’’. He was only 24 years old. Then he was chosen by Pietro Mascagni for appearances in ‘’Cavalleria Rusticana’’ in Cairo and Alexandria. He made guest appearances also in Berlin, where he and made a few, very rare records for Vox. In Berlin he sang opposite Titta Ruffo. He then sang the role of the Duke of Mantua in "Rigoletto" at the Teatro Dal Verme, in Milan. The late Enrico Caruso was in the audience on that occasion, and was so impressed with Rigattlert's Interpretation of the part of the Duke that he personally complimented him, and presented him with a sword which Caruso himself used in the same opera. They then for six months toured India, where he sang about 20 different roles. He appeared also in Paris, Holland, Vienna, Germany, Russia, and Poland, singing with great success. From there he came to Australia, where ho appeared at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne, and His Majesty's Theatre, Perth, with the Italo-Australlan Grand Opera Company (1920-1930’s).

Chronology of some appearances

1919 Prato  Politeama Tosca (Cavaradossi)
1919 Prato  Politeama Traviata (Alfredo)
1920 Prato Teatro Metastasio Cavalleria Rusticana (Turiddu)
1920-1930’s Australia Western Australian Grand Opera Company/ Adelaide Town Hall

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Zinoviy Babii (Village Pidsadky, Lviv Region, Ukraine 1935 – Minsk, Belarus 1984)





He was one of the best Ukrainian tenors of all time. In 1954 he finished Lviv Music College. He continued his education at the Kiev Conservatory (1954-1957) and from 1957 to 1960 he performed at the Kiev Opera. In the 1960-1963 seasons he appeared at the Lviv Opera. From 1963 to 1978 he was a soloist of the Minsk Opera and gave many concerts with Minsk Philarmonic (1978-1984). his repertoire included Don Jose (‘’Carmen’’), Radames (‘’Aida’’), Canio (‘’Pagliacci’’), Pincerton (‘’Madama Batterfly’’), Cavaradossi (‘’Tosca’’), Manrico (‘’Il Trovatore’’), Rodolfo (‘’La Boheme’’), The Duke (‘’Rigoletto’’), Otello, Hermann (‘’Queen of Spades’’).


Chronology of some appearances

1957-1960 Kiev Opera
1960-1963 Lviv Opera
1963-1978 Minsk Opera

Saturday, March 10, 2018

David Handerson (Tenor)





Chronology of some appearances

1900-1901 Brussels Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie
1906 Ferrara  Teatro Comunale Mefistofele (Faust)
1906 Venezia  Teatro Rossini Mefistofele (Faust)
1906 Rovereto Teatro Sociale Otello (Otello)
1907 Lisbona Teatro San Carlo Otello (Otello)
1907 Lisbona Teatro San Carlo Ugonotti (Raoul)
1907 Valencia Teatro Principal Otello (Otello)
1908 Ancona  Teatro delle Muse Ugonotti (Raoul)
1914 Toronto  Royal Alexandra Trovatore (Manrico)

Guy Fouché (Ténor) (Bordeaux, France 17 June 1921 - Annecy, France 28 May 1998)





He graduated from the Conservatoire de chant de Bordeaux with the first prize of Opéra and Opéra-comique and began his career at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux in 1942 in Georges Bizet's ‘’Les Pêcheurs de perles’’. He also won a second prize at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1943. From 1945 to 1953 he performed at the provincial opera houses (Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Nantes, Rennes and Bordeaux). In 1953 he appeared in Oran. From 1954 to 1956 he was a member of the troupe of the Opéra royal de Wallonie in Liège before being for six seasons the first tenor of La Monnaie in Brussels. Back in Oran he sang the title role of Faust opposite Henri Rivière and Adrien Legros. In 1961 he moved to Toulon, where two years later he retired from the stage.

Chronology of some appearances


1942-1945 Bordeaux Grand Théâtre
1945-1953 Tulouse, Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Nantes, Rennes and Bordeaux
1954-1956 Liège Opéra royal de Wallonie
1956-1962 Brussels Monnaie
1961-1963 Toulon Opera

Friday, March 9, 2018

Eugenia Mantelli (Florence, Italy 1860 – Lisbon, Portugal 3 March 1926)




She studied at the Milan Conservatory and made her debut in 1883 at the Teatro San Carlo in Lisbon as Urbain in G. Meyerbeer’s ‘’Huguenots’’. The same year she made guest appearances in Italy, where first she sang in Treviso as Kaled in J. Massenet’s ‘’Le Roi de Lahore’’. Successful tours followed together with legendary Spanish tenor Julián Gayarre in Germany, Italy and South America. In 1889 she appeared opposite Mattia Battistini in Buenos Aires. In 1894 she sang as a partner of Francesco Tamagno in Moscow. In 1896 she performed at the Covent Garden in London as Brünnhilde in ‘’Walküre’’ (still in French) In the 1894-1900 seasons she was a member of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Here she made her debut in 1894 as Amneris in ‘’Aida’’. Here her repertoire included Azucena in ‘’Trovatore’’, Emilia in ‘’Otello’’, Ortrud in ‘’Lohengrin’’, Maddalena in ‘’Rigoletto’’, Lola in ‘’Cavalleria Rusticana’’, Fides in ‘’Le prophète’’, Leonora in ‘’La Favorita’’, Nancy in ‘’Martha’’, the Queen in ‘’Hamlet’’, the Queen Guinevere in ‘’Elaine’’ of Herman Bemberg (première, 1894) and Dalila in ‘’Samson et Dalila’’. In 1902 she appeared at the Manhattan Opera House in New York in the title role in P. Mascagni’s ‘’Zanetto’’. In the 1902-1903 season she was engaged again by the Metropolitan Opera, in the 1903-1904 season she went on a tour in USA tour with her own opera troupe, in the 1904-1905 season she appeared in New York in operetta performances. Since 1905 she lived in Lisbon. she guested in 1908 at the Teatro Politeama in Genoa as Carmen. In 1910 she appeared on the stage for the last time in Lisbon. She made recordings for Bettini cylinders (1899) and then for USA Zonophone (1905-1907).

Chronology of some appearances

1883 Lisbon Teatro San Carlo Huguenots (Urbain)
1883 Treviso Opera Le Roi de Lahore (Kaled)
1896 London Covent Garden Walküre (Brünnhilde)
1894-1900 New York Metropolitan Opera Aida (Amneris/Debut)
1902 New York Manhattan Opera House Zanetto (Silvia)
1902-1903 New York Metropolitan Opera
1908 Genoa Teatro Politeama Carmen (Carmen)