The Austrian bass, Ludwig Weber, initially planned to pursue a career as an elementary school teacher, but he also studied painting with Alfred Roller at the Wiener Kunstgewerbeschule. He discovered his vocal promise when he sang in the choir of the Wiener Oratorien-Vereinigung and decided to pursue an opera career. In 1919 he began studies in Vienna with Alfred Borrotau, a well respected teacher.
In 1920 Ludwig Weber made his professional debut as Fiorello in The Barber of Seville at the Vienna Volksoper, where he sang for a few years in smaller roles. Possessing one of the largest dark-and-cavernous-type bass voices of the 20th century, Weber was in equally high demand for villainous roles and noble characters. In the mid 1920’s was singing in mid size to leading roles with smaller companies throughout Germany. From 1925 to 1927 he was the first bass singer at the Stadttheater of Wuppertal; from 1927 to 1932 he was engaged at the opera house of Düsseldorf. In 1930, he appeared as a guest has performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris in Wagner’s operas conducted by Franz von Hoesslin as Hunding and Fafner as Der Ring des Nibelungen. In 1932-1933, he sang at the Opera House of Cologne. After a successful appearance at the Munich Wagner Festival of 1931 he became in 1933 a member of the Staatsoper of Munich, where he remained until 1945, where he participated, among other things, in 1934 in the premiere of the opera Lucedia by Vittorio Giannini and on July 14, 1938 in the premiere of opera ” Der Friedenstag by Richard Strauss.
During his period in Munich, Ludwig Weber began to receive invitations to sing abroad. In 1936 he joined the Royal Opera Covent Garden in London, where he sang numerous roles for several years (London (1936-1939, 1947 and 1950-1951, including roles as Boris Godunov, Pogner, Gurnemanz, Hunding, Hagen, Daland, King Mark, Osmin, Rocco, and Commendatore. He appeared as a guest at Milan’s La Scala (1938-1939, 1942, 1948, 1950), at the Grand Opéra Paris (1948-1950, 1953), at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires; he had great successes in Amsterdam and Brussels; and he also worked appeared at the Maggio Musicale in Florence.
In 1945 Ludwig Weber became a member of the Wiener Staatsoper, where he sang a wide repertoire for the next two decades. In the opening performance of the rebuilt Wiener Staatsoper, on May 11, 1955, he sang Rocco in Fidelio. Huge success he had at the Salzburg Festival. Here he sang in 1939 and 1946 the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, in 1941 Sarastro, in 1945 Osmin, in 1946-1947 Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro, in addition to many concerts (Verdi’s Requiem in 1947) and in the premiere of Dantons Tod by G. von Einem on August 6, 1947. In the years 1951-1956, 1958 and 1960-1963 he was part of the Bayreuth Festival Ensemble, where he is remembered since as one of great Wagnerian bass singers. In Bayreuth, he sang e.g. Daland (1955-1956) in Fliegenden Holländer, Hagen (1951) and Fasolt (1951-1955, 1958) in Der Ring des Nibelungen, Gurnemanz (1951-1956, 1961) and Titurel (1961, 1963) in Parsifal, Pogner (1952-1953) and Kothner (1960-1961) in Meistersinger, König Heinrich in Lohengrin (1954), and in 1953-1954, the bass solo in the 9th Symphony by L.v. Beethoven.
Ludwig Weber had a powerful, yet musically well educated voice. As a bass singer he became particularly associated with the Wagner roles. In roles as Daland in Fliegenden Holländer, Hagen and Gurnemanz, but also as Rocco in Fidelio he was unmatched in his generation. The title role in Boris Godunov was one of his favourites, and excerpts (sung in German) survive from a performance broadcast on radio. He sang the role in multiple houses including Covent Garden in 1950. He was also famous as Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, as Kezal in The Bartered Bride, as Kaspar in Freischütz, as Barak in Frau ohne Schatten and as Wozzeck. He was also a celebrated oratorios and Lieder singer.
Since 1961 Ludwig Weber was Professor at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and honorary member of the Wiener Staatsoper. Ludwig Weber retired from the stage in 1965.
Ludwig Weber participate in numerous recordings on labels as Pathé (1930), Philips, Columbia (Zauberflöte), Vox (Fliegender Holländer, Rosenkavalier), Acanta (Aida), und Decca (Rosenkavalier, Salome, Fliegender Holländer, Parsifal). Live recordings have been released on Discocorp Don Giovanni from 1955 and on the same label Daphne by R. Strauss (conducted by Erich Kleiber at the Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, 1948); on Murray Hill Fafner in Siegfried (Scala, Milan, 1950); on Cetra Opera Live Fliegender Holländer and Tristan (Bayreuth 1955 and 1952); on Melodram Fasolt in Rheingold (Bayreuth, 1952) and Fidelio (Vienna, 1955); on Foyer (Rheingold, Bayreuth, 1953) and on Fonit-Cetra (Walküre, Scala, 1950).