Category Archives: Bass-Baritones

WILHELM RODE, Bass-Baritone * 17 February 1887, Hanover, Germany + 02 September 1959, Munich, Germany;


He studied with Rudolf Moest in Hanover, and made his debut in 1909 at the Stadttheater of Erfurt as theHeerrufer in “Lohengrin”. In 1917 he sang in the premiere of “Eros and Psyche” by the Polish composer Lubomir Rózycki. in Breslau. He sang at the Stadttheater in Bremerhaven, the Wernesau Opera House, the Stuttgart Opera House, the Munich State Opera, and at the Vienna State Opera. He made the Deutsches Opernhaus Berlin his artistic home, succeeding Max von Schillings as the general director in 1933. He sang in the world premieres of Kurt Weill’s “Bürgschaft” , and .Schreker’s “Der Schmied von Gent” Wotan at Covent Garden in 1928. Pizarro and Mozart’s Count in Salzburg. Amonasro, Rigoletto, Simon Boccanegra, Escamillo, the four villains in Hoffmann, Scarpia, Sebastiono in “Tiefland”, and Jokanaan. in addition to his Wagner repertoire. As Munich’s Wagner baritone ( Hans Sach, Wotan, Amfortas, and the Dutchman), he never sang at Bayreuth. Rode’s career is considered a “characteristic example of favoritism in the Third Reich.”

Artist Biography by Charles Rhodes


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Posted by on February 18, 2018 in Bass-Baritones


AUGUST KINDERMANN, Bass-Baritone * 06 February 1817, Potsdam, Germany + 06 March 1891, Munich, Germany;

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August Kindermann (6 February 1817 – 6 March 1891) was a German bass-baritone singer and regisseur, particularly noted for his performances in the operas of Richard Wagner.

He was born in Potsdam. He began his career singing in the chorus of the Berlin State Opera in 1836 and made his solo debut there in 1837 in a small role in Spontini’s Agnes von Hohenstaufen. He went on to sing bass and baritone roles with Leipzig Opera from 1839 to 1846. While at Leipzig, he became a friend of Albert Lortzing and sang in the premieres of two of his operas: the title role in Hans Sachs [1] (1840) and Count von Eberbach in Der Wildschütz (1842). He also sang Gazna in the premiere of Robert Schumann’s secular oratorio Das Paradies und die Peri (1843). In 1846, Kinderman moved to the Bavarian State Opera in Munich where he was a Kammersänger and stage director who enjoyed great popularity. In 1855, he directed the company’s production of Wagner’s Tannhäuser as well as singing the role of Wolfram. During his time in Munich he sang the role of Wotan in the premieres of both Das Rheingold (1869) and Die Walküre (1870) as well as Titurel in the premiere of Parsifal (1882). In addition to the Wagner premieres, Kindermann also sang Count Eckart in the premiere of Josef Rheinberger’s opera Die sieben Raben  (1869).

August Kinderman’s daughters, Franziska Kindermann, Hedwig Reicher-Kindermann, and Marie Kindermann also became opera singers. He died in Munich in 1891.

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Posted by on February 7, 2018 in Bass-Baritones


GUSTAVE HUBERDEAU, Bass-Baritone * 10 May 1874, Paris, France + 31 May 1945, Brain-sur-l’Authion, France

Gustave Huberdeau (10 May 1874 – 31 May 1945) was a French operatic bass-baritone who had a prolific career in Europe and the United States during the first quarter of the twentieth century. He sang a wide repertoire encompassing material from French composers like Gounod and Massenet to the Italian grand operas of Verdi, the verismo operas of Mascagni, and the German operas of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. He sang in numerous premieres during his 30-year career, including the original production of Puccini’s La rondine in 1917. Although possessing a rich and warm voice, Huberdeau had a talent for comedic portrayals which made him a favorite casting choice in secondary comedic roles as well as leading roles. After retiring from opera in 1927, Huberdeau remained active as a performer in stage plays and in French cinema throughout the 1930s.

Opera career
Huberdeau was born in Paris, studied at the Paris Conservatoire and then made his professional opera début at the Opéra-Comique in 1898. He sang in smaller roles with that theater over the next ten years, which included a number of secondary roles in premières such as Charpentier’s Louise (1900), Camille Erlanger’s Le Juif polonais, Massenet’s Grisélidis (1901), Reynaldo Hahn’s La Carmélite (1902), Henri Rabaud’s La fille de Roland (1904), and Guillaume in André Messager’s Fortunio (1907). In 1908 he joined the roster of Oscar Hammerstein I’s Manhattan Opera Company in New York City where he periodically sang leading roles over the next three years. He notably portrayed the Devil in the American première of Grisélidis and sang Orestes in the American première of Elektra (1910). However, Hammerstein employed Huberdeau more frequently in productions with the Philadelphia Opera Company with which he was highly active between 1909 and 1910.

In 1911 Huberdeau became a member of the Chicago Grand Opera Company, remaining with that company until it closed in 1914. He appeared in several notable productions with the company including the American premiere of Wilhelm Kienzl’s Der Kuhreigen and the world premiere of Victor Herbert’s Natoma. In 1914 he debuted at England’s Royal Opera as a visiting artist, where he sang Méphistophélès from Gounod’s Faust. That same year he returned to France and served in the First World War in the French army.

After being honorably discharged in 1917, Huberdeau joined the Chicago Opera Association where he sang leading roles until 1920. He notably sang in the world premiere of Sylvio Lazzari’s Le Sautériot (1918), the American premiere of Henry Février’s Gismonda, and the world premiere of Reginald De Koven’s Rip Van Winkle (1920). In 1917 Huberdeau sang the role of Rambaldo Fernandez in the original production of Puccini’s La rondine with Opéra de Monte-Carlo. In 1919–1920 he sang with the Beecham Opera in London where he appeared as Méphistophélès, Le Comte des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon, Ramfis in Verdi’s Aida, and Colline in La Bohème. He also periodically returned to Covent Garden appearing as Arkel and the Father in the British première of Pietro Mascagni’s Iris (1919) among other roles.

In 1921 Huberdeau returned to France where he continued to sing throughout the 1920s in such cities as Paris, Nice, Monte Carlo, Vichy, and Brussels. He sang a wide repertory, which included everything from lead roles to character roles to mute roles. In 1922 he sang in the world premiere of Massenet’s Amadis. In 1924 he left France for one year to perform in a number of productions in Amsterdam which included Zuniga in Bizet’s Carmen and Golaud in the Dutch premiere of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. In 1927, Huberdeau sang his last season in Monte Carlo, which included a portrayal of Hunding in Wagner’s Die Walküre.

Film and stage career
After his opera career ended, Huberdeau continued to perform as an actor on the stage in spoken plays and in French films. His first film role was in the 1931 movie Ronny. His other film appearances include Boule de gomme (1931), Le Million (1931), Mistigri (1931), La Dame de chez Maxim’s (1932), Prisonnier de mon coeur (1932), Georges et Georgette (1933), Les Nuits moscovites (1934), Tarass Boulba (1936), and À Venise, une nuit (1937). With the outbreak of World War II, Huberdeau’s acting career ended. He died in Paris in 1945.

Huberdeau was among the first generation of musicians to be recorded. He recorded only a few arias around 1910 on Edison cylinder. His recordings show a sturdy voice that is somewhat dry in quality given the limited technology of day.

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Posted by on February 3, 2018 in Bass-Baritones


GEORG HANN, Bass-Baritone * 30 January 1897, Vienna, Austria + 09 December 1950, Munich, Germany;

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Georg Hann (January 30, 1897 – December 9, 1950) was an Austrian operatic bass-baritone, particularly associated with the comic (singspiel) German repertory.

Born in Vienna, he studied at the Music Academy there with Theodor Lierhammer. He joined the Munich State Opera in 1927, and remained with this theatre until his death. He also appeared regularly at the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival, quickly establishing himself as a leading buffo interpreter, notably in roles such as Leporello, Falstaff, Kecal, Ochs, La Roche (role he created in 1942), etc.

He made guest appearances at the Berlin State Opera, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Paris Opéra, the Royal Opera House in London, La Scala in Milan.

He did not limit himself to comic roles but also sang Sarastro, Pizzaro, Gunther, Amfortas, Daland and tackled a few Italian roles as well notably Wurm, Alfio, Tonio, as well as Mefistophele in Gounod’s Faust.

Hann died in Munich aged only 53.

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Posted by on December 28, 2017 in Bass-Baritones


RICHARD MAYR, Bass-Baritone * 18 November 1877, Salzburg Stadt, Salzburg, Austria + 01 December 1935, Vienna;

Opera Singer. He was an Austrian operatic bass-baritone singer particularly admired for his theatrical performances. He made his professional opera debut to critical acclaim at the Bayreuth Festival in 1902, which led to him being engaged as a principal singer at the Vienna Hofoper for three decades. From 1911 to 1913 and in 1924, he sang at the Royal Opera in London and for three consecutive seasons at the Metropolitan Opera New York City, in the 1930s. He was also a mainstay at the Salzburg Festival, appearing every year there from 1921, until his retirement from the stage in 1934.

Courtesy: Find A Grave

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Richard Mayr 1902

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Richard Mayr 1904


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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in Bass-Baritones


KIM BORG, Bass-Baritone * 07 August 1919, Helsinki, Finland + 28 April 2000, Fredensborg Municipality, Denmark

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The Finnish bass-baritone Kim Borg, who has died aged 80, was a well- regarded singer in opera and song from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s, with a wide repertory but a natural preference for the music of Scandinavia and Russia. He was a specialist in the songs of his fellow Finns Sibelius and Kilpinen, many of which he recorded. He appeared in many opera roles internationally, his gifts as an actor much to the fore.
Britain saw him on stage all too seldom. He appeared at Glyndebourne in 1956 as an imposing, if slightly too rough-hewn, Don Giovanni. He returned to the festival as, more appropriately, Don Pizarro, in Fidelio in 1959.

At about this time, Sir John Barbirolli took a liking to Borg’s voice, and afterwards frequently asked him to sing the roles of the Priest and the Angel of the Agony in The Dream Of Gerontius. When Barbirolli recorded the work in 1964, a version some consider the best of all, Borg was chosen for those bass-baritone roles. His self-evident sincerity of interpretation overcame the drawback of rather a thick accent.

He appeared for the first time in recital in London in 1959, when his interpretations, and wholehearted powers of expression, were greatly admired. This was also the year of his debut as Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, where he appeared for the following three seasons.

Borg was born into a musical family in Helsinki, and was first taught at home by his mother; she told him to sing from the chest, not the throat. Notwithstanding this support, he chose to study chemistry rather than music.

With the war between Finland and the Soviet Union breaking out in 1939, he was recruited to the Finnish army and served as a photographer in his platoon (photography then being his hobby). In 1945, he turned to music and studied composition at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and voice with teachers in Copenhagen, where he was later to make his home. He gave his debut recitals in those two cities in 1947.

Borg’s opera debut followed in 1952, not in his home city – where his talents were, at first, under-appreciated – but in Aarhus, in Denmark, as Colline in La Bohème. This led to his breakthrough, when he was invited to take the short, but plum, bass role of Prince Gremin in Yevgeny Onegin at the Royal Opera, Copenhagen, where he was immediately engaged on a regular basis.

It was at this point that Borg’s international career took wing. He was engaged to sing the oily monk Rangoni to Christoff’s Boris Godunov in Issay Dobrowen’s ground-breaking recording of Mussorgsky’s opera for EMI in 1952. Soon, Deutsche Grammophon was on his trail, and he made a number of recordings of opera, oratorio and song for the company during the following 10 years.

Borg was much admired in Germany and, from 1965 to 1968, was a member of the Hamburg State Opera. But he was always welcome in his native Scandinavia, and from 1960 was a member of the Stockholm Opera, where his Scarpia was much praised in 1963. In 1971, he sang Fafner and Hagen in the company’s performances of Wagner’s Ring. A year earlier, he sang Osmin at the Drottningholm festival, another histrionic triumph.

He appeared in concerts at the Salzburg festival from 1956, singing Mozart, and in 1965-66 sang Pimen in Karajan’s staging of Boris Godunov. His Mussorgskian credentials were also confirmed by a fine recording of Songs and Dances of Death.

In 1972 he became professor of singing at the music academy in Copenhagen, though he had equivocal views on the art of teaching singers. He was also much in demand as an adjudicator at singing competitions. A wise and intelligent man and singer, he appreciated that musicianship was as important as voice in his art. His career confirmed that.

He married Ebon Karin Ingeborg Ringblom in 1950; they had two children.

• Kim Borg, bass-baritone, born August 7 1919; died April 28 2000

Courtesy: The Guardian

Kim Borg photo taken on 1965

Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

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Posted by on November 29, 2017 in Bass-Baritones


OLEG BRYJAK, Bass-Baritone * 27 October 1960, Jezkazgan, Kazakhstan + 24 March 2015, Prads-Haute-Bléone, France;

Oleg Bryjak.jpg

Oleg Bryjak (Ukrainian: Олег Брижак, 27 October 1960 – 24 March 2015) was a Kazakhstani-German bass-baritone opera singer. Born in Jezkazgan, Kazakh SSR, into an ethnic Ukrainian family, he moved to Germany in 1991 to join the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe. From 1996 until his death, he was a soloist with the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf.

Bryjak had been a protodeacon in an Ukrainian Orthodox church in Krefeld.

Bryjak died on 24 March 2015 along with his colleague Maria Radner when Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed in Prads-Haute-Bléone, France, during their return from performances of Richard Wagner’s Siegfried at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.

Notable recordings

Leoš Janáček: Káťa Kabanová – Karita Mattila (Katia), Bryjak (Dikoj), Chorus and Orquesta del Teatro Real; Jiří Bělohlávek (conductor), Robert Carsen (director). Recorded at Teatro Real, Madrid, December 2008. Fra Musica (Harmonia Mundi) FRA003 (DVD).

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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in Bass-Baritones

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