Category Archives: Bass-Baritones

ERIC SAEDÉN, Bass-baritone * 3 September 1924, Vänersborg, Sweden + 3 November 2009, Sweden;

The Swedish bass-baritone, Erik Saedén, went through very thorough musical training. First he studied at the Royal Music Academy and at the Royal Opera School of Stockholm. Among his teachers were Arne Sunnegaardh, Martin Öhman and W. Freund. He received higher cantor and organist degree at the Royal College of Music in 1946, and degree in vocal teaching 1952. Already during his studies he acquired himself a name as conductor, organist and a Lieder singer. In 1944 he became a member of the Engelbrekt church choir in Stockholm.

In 1952 Erik Saedén accepted an engagement at the Royal Opera of Stockholm and remained a member since then until 1981. Among his glorious roles ranked the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Beckmesser in Meistersingern, Wolfram in Tannhäuser, Scarpia in Tosca, Jochanaan in Salome by R. Strauss, Golo in Pelléas et Mélisande, Pimen im Boris Godunov and the title role in Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, which he created in 1957 in Stockholm for Sweden, likewise in 1961 Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress by Igor Stravinsky. His stage repertoire covered 115 roles. He sang in November 1952 at the Stockholm Opera in the premiere of the opera Gilgamesch by Ture Rangström, in October 1956 in Porträttet by Hilding Rosenberg, in May 1959 at the same house in the premiere of the opera Aniara by Karl-Birger Blomdahl the role of Mimaroben, in 1968 in der centenary and premiere of the opera Drottningen av Golconda by Berwald, in 1970 in the premiere of Hus med dubbel ingang by Hilding Rosenberg, in 1978 in Le Grand Macabre by Ligeti, in May 1968 in Drömmen om Thérèse by L.J. Werle (at the opening of the Rotunda Teater in Stockholm), in September 1968 at the Deutschen Oper in Berlin in the premiere of the opera Ulisse by Luigi Dallapiccola.

Erik Saedén had big successes at the Festival in the Baroque Theatre of Schloß Drottningholm, where he could be heard as Orlando in Orlando furioso by George Frideric Handel and as Dulcamara in Elisir d’amore. In 1958 he appeared at the Festival of Bayreuth as Kurwenal in Tristan, as Heerrufer in Lohengrin and as Donner in Rheingold. In 1959 and 1974 he made guest appearances at the Edinburgh Festival, in 1960 and 1981 at the Covent Garden Opera in London, in 1967 in Montreal. In 1989 he could be heard at the Festival of Savonlinna as Vater Henrik in the opera Singoalla by G. de Frumerie.

Erik Saedén was one of the most versatile and trendsetting singers in Sweden with wide and varied repertoire. He was highly estimated also as an oratorio and Lieder singer. In the traditional yearly performancies of J.S. Bach’s Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244) in the Engelbrektskyrkan in Stockholm he normally sang a very moving Christ, but for the recording of this Passion under the baton of Eric Ericson (1963) he sang the arias instead. In February 1993 he sang at the Rotunda Teater in Stockholm in the premiere of the opera Amorina by Lars Runsten.

From 1957 to 1962 Erik Saedén was also Cantor at Oscar Church. In 1965 he became a member of the Stockholm Music Academy, and in 1966 Swedish Hofsänger (court singer by special appointement). From 1957 to 1983 he was singing teacher at the Royal College of Music, Stockholm. In 1974 he received the medal of Litteris et artibus. At the same time he worked as a teacher the Royal Music Academy in Stockholm.

Recordings: Complete rendition of the operetta Die lustige Witwe on Decca; HMV-Records (Sarastro in complete Zauberflöte, Soundtrack of the famous film by Ingmar Bergman), Swedish Society Discofil (Barfotasången by A. Petterson), Caprice (Singoalla by Gunnar de Frumerie), Melodram (Rheingold, Bayreuth 1958); Virgin-Video (Leporello in Don Giovanni), Philips-Video (Nozze di Figaro from Drottningholm).

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Posted by on September 6, 2017 in Bass-Baritones


GÉRARD SERKOYAN, * 14 July 1922, Istanbul + 08 February 2004, La Cadière-d’Azur, France;

Gérard Serkoyan

After studying with Paul Razavet he made his stage debut in 1949 in Nice in a small role in “Boris Godunow”, followed by the Chiffonier in “Louise” and then Colline Sarastro in Lyon in 1950. He joined the Paris Opéra in 1952 singing Sparafucile. In 1957 he had a sensational success as Mephisto in the Gounod’s “Faust”. He also sang Pimen, Daland, Hunding, Ramfis, King Philip, Osmin, Oroveso, and Raimondo. Marcel in “Les Huguenots”, the Cardinal in “La Juive”., and Hector and Narbal in “Les Troyens”. He last appeared at the Palais Garnier in 1972.

Resulta ng larawan para sa Gérard Serkoyan

Gérard Serkoyan and Nicolas (“Cendrillon” J. Massenet, Montecarlo)


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Posted by on July 15, 2017 in Bass-Baritones


TOM KRAUSE, Bass-baritone * 5 July 1934, Helsinki, Finland + 6 December 2013, Hamburg, Germany

Tom Gunnar Krause (July 5, 1934 − December 6, 2013) was a Finnish operatic bass-baritone, particularly associated with Mozart roles.

Early life
Born in Helsinki, Tom Krause studied medicine for three years with the intention of becoming a psychiatrist, while singing and playing the guitar in a jazz band, The Jamcats. His vocal talent led him to leave his medical studies for serious voice studies at the Vienna Music Academy. He studied with Margot Skoda, Sergio Nazor, Rudolf Bautz, and Vera Rózsa.

Krause made his operatic debut in Berlin, as Escamillo, in 1959, and quickly gained a reputation in opera and concert throughout Europe and the United States.

He was fluent in seven languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and Finnish. During a career spanning over 50 roles in the Italian, German, French, English, Finnish, Czech, Russian, and Swedish repertory including the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern, Mr. Krause appeared in leading roles at most of the great opera houses of the world and regularly performed at the festivals of Bayreuth, Salzburg, Edinburgh, Glyndebourne, Savonlinna, and Tanglewood. A frequent guest soloist in concert, the baritone was heard regularly with the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Amsterdam Concertgebow, and others. Mr. Krause regularly shared the stage and recorded with singers as Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Jessye Norman, Kiri Te Kanawa, Joan Sutherland, Birgit Nilsson, Marilyn Horne, Margeret Price, Teresa Berganza, and Nicolai Gedda, as well worked under the baton of Bernstein, Stravinsky, Solti, Von Karajan, Mehta, Ormandy, Shaw, Osawa, Rostropovich, Eschenbach, Conlon, Salonen, Harnoncourt and Giulini, etc. He worked with stage directors such as Ponnelle, Strehler, Faggioni, Sellars, Dresen, Everding, Lieberman, Menotti, and Chereau.

He joined the Hamburg State Opera, where he sang mostly Mozart, Verdi, and Wagner roles, but also such rarities as Rossini’s La pietra del paragone and Handel’s Jephtha. He began making guest appearances in Munich, Amsterdam, and Brussels, and made his debut in Bayreuth, as the Herald in Lohengrin, in 1962.

In 1963, after having performed the Britten War Requiem conducted by the composer, Benjamin Britten chose Tom Krause to sing the American premiere at the Tanglewood Summer Festival with the Boston Symphony. His English debut took place in 1963, at the Glyndebourne Festival as the Count in Capriccio. His 1967 debut, at the Metropolitan Opera as the Count in The Marriage of Figaro, received an ovation.[2] From 1968 on, he appeared regularly at the Salzburg Festival, notably as Don Giovanni and Guglielmo. He took part in the premiere of Krenek’s Der Goldene Brock in 1964, and of Searle’s Hamlet, in 1968, both in Hamburg. In 1970, Krause was chosen by Eugene Ormandy for the American Premiere of the 13th Symphony by Schostakowitsch and in 1971, Samuel Barber composed The Lovers, the oratorio for baritone solo and choir, for Tom Krause.

A renowned recital artist, he gave countless solo recitals throughout the U.S.A., Canada, Europe and Japan. He also appeared in numerous television and feature films. He can be heard in over 100 recordings. His works and recordings awarded him numerous distinctions and prizes during his 55-year career. His recordings of Bach with Munchinger and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra were awarded the Bach prize. His recording of Carmen with Marilyn Horne under Leonard Bernstein received a certificate for the best opera recording of 1973 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. His recording of the complete Sibelius Songs received the Edison Prize, the Deutsche Schallplatten Prize and the Grammaphone Prize, among others. In 1990, the Finnish State awarded Mr. Krause with the Order of the Finnish Lion – the highest award for cultural personalities in Finland. He was also given the title Kammersaenger in Hamburg for his achievements there. In recognition of his artistic contribution to his native Finland, the Helsinki University awarded Mr. Krause the title of Doctor of Music Honoris Causa in 2003.

During the 1980s, Mr. Krause started giving master classes in the U.S.A. and Europe. From 1989 to 1990 he was guest professor at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and from 1994 to 2001, a full professor at the Music Academy in Hamburg. In 2002, he added a full professorship at the Queen Sofia School of Music, Madrid, Spain, where he chaired the vocal department until his death in 2013. Because of his extensive experience in classical music and his interest in passing on his legacy of singing, Mr. Krause was in great demand for master classes around the world and was highly regarded as juror in the most important international singing competitions. He was frequently head of the Jury or Jury Member at the most prestigious International Singing competitions such as Mobil Song Quest, Auckland; the Queen Sonja International Singing Competition, Oslo; the Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition, Helsinki; Queen Elizabeth Singing Competition, Brussels; the ARD Competition, Munich; the Tschaikowski Singing Competition, Moscow; International Competition of the Art of Lied, Stuttgart; the Singer of the World Competition, Cardiff; the Montreal International Singing Competition, Montreal, Canada; the Moniuszko Competition, Warsaw; etc. Mr. Krause regularly gave master classes at the Academy of Vocal Arts and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, PA; CNIPAL, Marseille; Villecroze Academie Musicale, France; Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth, Brussels; Mozarteum Summer Academy, Salzburg; Encuentro Musical, Santander; the Festival Music Academy, Savonlinna; Voksenåsen Summer Music Academy, Oslo; Kusastsu Music Festival, Kusatsu, Japan; etc. He has also gave master classes at the San Francisco Opera, California; the Florida Grand Opera, Miami, Florida; Schleswig-Holstein Festival; the Fifth International Congress of Voice Teachers, Helsinki; Kunitachi School of Music, Tokyo; the Nagoya School of Music, Nagoya; Poland; Portugal, etc.

He was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity. He died after a short illness in December 2013, aged 79.

Image result for Tom Krause

Image result for Tom Krause

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Posted by on July 6, 2017 in Bass-Baritones


PAUL CABANEL, Bass-baritone * 29 June 1891, Orán + 05 November 1958, Paris;

Paul Cabanel was born in Oran. After studies of law he trained as a singer at the local conservatory and at the Conservatoire National de Paris. During military service he was severely wounded at the Verdun battle in 1916 and was not able to continue his studies until 1919. He made his debut as Hérode in Massenet’s Hérodiade at Kairo where he also appeared in Manon, Faust and Thaïs. Until 1932 he sang at various provincial opera houses also making some guest appearances in Belgium and Switzerland. He was engaged at the opera of Bordeaux during seven seasons as well as at the opera of Vichy. It was not until 1932 (!) that he made his debut at the Opéra-Comique as Scarpia where his singing was immediately warmly received. The following year he succeeded at the Grand Opéra as Méphistophélès in Berlioz’ La Damnation de Faust which became his most famous role. Cabanel became an admired member at both opera houses. His further repertory included Leporello, the High Priest in Samson et Dalila, Escamillo, Tonio, Figaro, Nikalantha, Basile, Colline, the four villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Papageno, Frère Laurent and Arkel in Pelléas et Mélisande including a number of Wagnerian roles. He appeared as Mephistophélès in Gounod’s Faust more than 1000 times! The artist was engaged at the operas of Rio de Janeiro, the Teatro Colón, the Teatro Liceo Barcelona and at Amsterdam. He was particularly admired at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels where he sang Boris at the end of his career in 1954. From 1942 to 1958 he was a sought-after singing coach at the Conservatoire National de Paris.

Charles Cambon, Paul Cabanel and Hélène Bouvier, rehearsing “Samson et Dalila”

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Posted by on June 30, 2017 in Bass-Baritones


ALOIS PERNERSTORFER, Bass-baritone * 03 June 1912, Vienna, Austria + 12 May 1978, Vienna, Austria;

The Austrian bass, Alois Pernerstorfer, began his training in 1933 at the Vienna College of Music with Theo Lierhammer and with Josef Krips.

Alois Pernerstorfer made his debut in 1936 at the State Theatre of Graz as Biterolf in Tannhäuser. After three-year activity in Graz he came in 1939 to the Vienna Volksoper. In 1945 he joined the Vienna State Opera, whose member he remained from then. In 1947-1948 was temporarily engaged at the City theatre (Opera House) of Zurich, and afterwards appeared there often as a guest. In Zurich he participated in 1947 in the premiere of the opera Der unsterbliche Kranke by Hans Haug. The artist sang at the Festivals of Edinburgh and Glyndebourne (1951 as Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro and as Leporello in Don Giovanni) and almost annually at the Salzburg Festival. There he sang in 1948, 1953 as well as 1956-1958 the Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro, 1957 Orest in Elektra by R. Strauss, 1958 in Vanessa by Samuel Barber, 1959 in Schweigsamen Frau by R. Strauss, 1962-1963 Arkas in Iphigenie in Aulis by Gluck, 1959-1960 in Zauberflöte, 1960 and 1963 in Rosenkavalier, 1964 in Verdi’s Macbeth and in August 1953 in the premiere of the opera Der Prozess by G. von Einem. In addition he appeared in many concerts in the Festival (for the first time already 1937). He appeared in Salzburg in the premiere of Mozart’s La finta semplice. Under the direction of Bernhard Paumgartner followed then appearances with this youth opera of Mozart in the European music centres (Paris, London, Brussels, Germany, Scandinavia). Appearances brought him also to the Milan’s La Scala (1950, Alberich in Der Ring des Nibelungen under Wilhelm Furtwängler), to the Teatro Liceo of Barcelona, to the Grand Opéra Paris and to the Opera (Théâtre de la Monnaie) of Brussels. In the period of 1951-1952 he was member of the Metropolitan Opera New York.

Alois Pernerstorfer also appeared successfully as a concert singer. He was married with the soprano Henny Herze (1906-1993), who had a successful career at the Vienna Volksoper, particularly as operetta singer.

Recordings: Nixa (Don Giovanni), MMS, Philips (La finta semplice by Mozart), Columbia, Bruno Walter Society (Alberich in complete Der Ring des Nibelungen from Milan’s La Scala, 1950). On the label Cetra appeared a complete recordings of Elektra from Salzburg Festival 1957 with him as an Orest, and of Wagner’s Tannhäuser.

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Posted by on June 4, 2017 in Bass-Baritones


GEORGE LONDON, Bass-baritone * 30 May 1920, Canada + 24 March 1985, New York City, New York, United States;

George London (May 30, 1920 – March 24, 1985), born George Burnstein, was a Canadian concert and operatic bass-baritone.

George London was born to a Russian Jewish family in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and grew up in Los Angeles, California, United States.

In the summer of 1945 Antal Doráti invited his longtime friend, the Hungarian bass Mihály Székely, to sing at the first concert of the newly reorganized Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Because of travel difficulties Székely was unable to arrive in time, so Doráti called upon young George London as a substitute.

After performing widely with tenor Mario Lanza and soprano Frances Yeend as part of the Bel Canto Trio in 1947–48, London was engaged by the Vienna State Opera, where he scored his first major success in 1949.

In 1950 he sang the role of Pater Profundis in Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, conducted by Leopold Stokowski.

He was among the most famous exponents of his five signature roles: Don Giovanni, Boris Godunov, Wotan, Scarpia and Amfortas. He never recorded any role in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, although recital performances of Hans Sachs’ monologues exist on record.

In 1951 he sang at Bayreuth as Amfortas in Parsifal, and reappeared frequently in the 1950s and early 1960s as Amfortas and in the title role of The Flying Dutchman. He made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1951 as Amonasro in Aida, and sang over 270 performances, both baritone and bass-baritone roles, in such operas as The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute, Arabella, Tosca, Don Giovanni, Boris Godunov, Carmen, Otello, Parsifal, Tannhäuser, The Tales of Hoffmann, Pelléas et Mélisande, and Faust. In 1964, he created the role of Abdul in the American premiere of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s The Last Savage. He was the first American to sing the title role of Boris Godunov at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, at the height of the Cold War in 1960.[1]

He frequently performed in English: Broadway show tunes and negro spirituals. Recordings of both are available.

He recorded many of his roles for RCA Victor, Columbia Records, and Decca. He recorded Verdi’s Requiem with Richard Tucker and Lucine Amara, under Eugene Ormandy. A recording of a live concert with piano accompaniment is also available from VAI, which includes Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death, as well as several Schubert Lieder and a variety of songs in English.

During his Met career, in 1956, he appeared on Ed Sullivan’s television program in an abridged version of Act II of Tosca, opposite Maria Callas, conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos. A kinescope of that performance was preserved. Another black-and-white videotape of him in the same role, opposite Renata Tebaldi in a complete performance, is sometimes available. In 1958, London performed the leading role of Wotan, in the groundbreaking recording of Richard Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold, conducted by Sir Georg Solti, and produced by John Culshaw for Decca.

Having already sung the Rheingold Wotan and the Siegfried Wanderer roles at the Met in New York in December 1961 and January 1962, he was ready to sing his first complete Ring Cycle. This was to be the now legendary new production mounted by Wieland Wagner at the Cologne Opera in West Germany in May 1962. Wieland Wagner was ready to try out new singers and production ideas in advance of his new Bayreuth Festival production which was scheduled for the summer of 1965 with London as Wotan and the Wanderer.

The Cologne Ring proved to be a great success (a private recording of Das Rheingold from this cycle exists to verify this) but London’s vocal health began to deteriorate rapidly during the 1963–64 season; subsequently the problem was diagnosed as a paralysed vocal cord. This problem increased so much that shortly after singing Wotan in Die Walküre at the Met in March 1965, he canceled his upcoming appearances at the Bayreuth Festival to rest and ideally recover his voice. However, his vocal decline continued so severely that by March 1966, he performed his last appearance at the Metropolitan Opera: the role of Amfortas in Parsifal. London subsequently received injections of Teflon in his paralyzed vocal cord – then the state-of-the-art treatment for this condition – which filled it out and therefore restored his voice to some extent. But he decided the improvement did not let him achieve again his self-imposed highest standards. He therefore ended his singing career in 1967, at 46.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and George London in “Le Nozze di Figaro”

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Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Bass-Baritones


NORMAN TREIGLE, Bass-Baritone * 6 March 1927, New Orleans, Louisiana, United + 16 February 1975, New Orleans, Louisiana, United;

Image result for Norman Treigle,

Norman Treigle was one of America’s most remarkable bass-baritones in the two decades following World War II. He was particularly known for roles of villainy and supernatural evil. He had a strong stage presence and a theatrical manner of singing. Divorced from the visual element, a pinched quality in his voice and a habit of taking on a rasping tone to express evil became somewhat too evident on recordings.

He graduated from high school in 1943 and even though underage joined the U.S. Navy to serve in World War II. After the war ended in 1945, he was discharged from service and returned to New Orleans, where he marred Loraine Siegel in 1946 and in the same year began studying voice with Elisabeth Wood of Loyola University of New Orleans.

He sang with the local symphony and in 1947 formally debuted in opera at the New Orleans Opera. That season, he sang the parts of the Duke of Verona in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and as Lodovico in Verdi’s Otello. He continued his studies at Loyola and lessons with Wood until 1951.

He joined the New York City Opera, debuting there in 1953 as Colline in La Bohème. He quickly became known as an outstanding opera singer-actor and was, with Beverly Sills, one of the major pillars of that company. Both artists shared the misfortune of getting on the bad side of Rudolf Bing, director of the Met, and were not able to make Metropolitan Opera debuts for an unseemly long time. In Treigel’s case, he would not be invited to sing there until 1972, after Bing’s retirement, when the Company suddenly found it could use him in a variety of roles.

By then, Treigle had gained great fame, a process that began in 1956 when he triumphed in a new opera, Susannah by Carlisle Floyd, as the villainous Reverend Olin Blitch. He so impressed the composer that he was cast in the premieres of three of his subsequent operas, The Passion of Janathan Wade (1962), The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair (1963) and Markheim (1966). He was also a notable Figaro in Mozart’s opera and one of the darker and more evil incarnations of the same composer’s Don Giovanni, and had a notable success as Handel’s Julius Caesar. He also sang the grandfather in Copland’s The Tender Land and the title role in Luigi Dallapiccola’s The Prisoner.

But his most vivid characterizations were in personifications of evil: The four baritone nemeses in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Mephistophélès in Gounod’s Faust, the same character in Boito’s Mefistofele, and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov.

After his Metropolitan Opera success in 1972, he enlarged his international activities, appearing in Hamburg, Milan, and London (debuting at Covent Garden in 1974). Following his London appearance in Faust, La Scala of Milan invited him to sing Mefistofele with them, and a strong international career seemed inevitable.

However, it was not to be. He died unexpectedly in New Orleans in 1975 of a possibly accidental overdose of sleeping pills. He left only three professional studio recordings, plus several “dall vivo” recordings (authorized and unauthorized), and one videotaped scene from Susannah.

He also left a worthy successor, his daughter Phyllis Treigle, who likewise studied at Loyola, became an exceptional singing actress and joined the New York City Opera, debuting as a supernatural incarnations of evil, the predatory ghost Miss Jessel in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. Among other roles of evil, she has taken the part of Médée and, in yet another parallel with her father’s career, has had success in the title role of Floyd’s Susannah.

Image result for Norman Treigle,

Portrait by Alen MacWeeney, 1967

Treigle as Handel’s Cesare at New York City Opera, 1967

Demon Within Blitch lg 313

As Olin Blitch in Susannah at NYCO, 1971

Demon Within Mephistophele lg 313

As Boito’s Mefistofele at NYCO, 1969

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Posted by on March 6, 2017 in Bass-Baritones

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