Category Archives: Bassses

HELMUT FEHN, Bass * 19 February 1915, Buchbach (Oberfranken), Germany +25 June 1993, Düsseldorf, Germany;


The German bass, Helmut Fehn, grew up in Bad Reichenhall, Rosenheim and Munich and began the study of the jurisprudence at the Munich University. However, from 1937 to 1940 he trained his voice with Paul Bender in Munich.

Helmut Fehn made his debut in 1940 at the Pfalztheater of Kaiserslautern. In 1941, after Erfurt, he signed with the Opera House of Düsseldorf. Since then he was a member of the Opera of Düsseldorf, the later Deutschen Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf-Duisburg. In 1951 he participated in the premiere of the opera Troilus und Cressida by Winfried Zillig, in 1957 in the premiere of Die Räuber by Giselher Klebe, in 1961 in Die Ameise by Peter Ronnefelds, in 1969 at the Festival of Schwetzingen in the premiere of G. Klebe’s Märchen von der schönen Lilie. At the Bayreuth Festival of 1942 he sang Fasolt in Rheingold, and in 1943-1944 Konrad Nachtigall in Meistersingern. He also appeared as a guest at other opera theatres in Germany, France and Italy, as well as in 1960 at the Wiener Staatsoper (as Kontschak in Prince Igor by Borodin). In more than thirty years of his affiliation with the Düsseldorf Opera House he sang over one hundred roles from the bass-baritone repertoire and was appointed as honour member. In 1985 he still appeared in Düsseldorf as a guest.

Of his many stage roles should especially be noted Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Kaspar in Freischütz, Sarastro in Zauberflöte, Pater Guardioan in Verdi’s La forza del destino, Kezal in Verkauften Braut, Gremin in Eugen Onegin and Boris Godunov.

Recordings: HMV-Electrola (Meistersinger in a performance from Bayreuth, 1943); on Cetra Opera Live he sings Ramphis in Aida (broadcast from Hamburg, 1951); on Melodram in R. Wagner’s Rienzi and in Stabat Mater of Rossini; on Garnet-Records in Bach Cantatas and in Masses of F. Schubert.



Courtesy: Bach Cantatas Website

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Posted by on February 19, 2018 in Bassses


JIŘÍ HUML, Bass * 06 August 1875, Prague + 23 October 1948, Prague;

Jiří Huml (born 06 August 1875 Prague + died 23 October 23, 1948 Prague) was a Czech operatic bass and opera director.


Jiří Huml as Otec Paloucký in Hubička, 19 May 1909



Jiří Huml as Otec Paloucký in Hubička, 09 february 1923


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Posted by on February 10, 2018 in Bassses


EDUARD HAKEN, Bass * 22 March 1910, Shklyn’, Ukraine + 12 January 1996, Prague, Czech Republic;

Eduard Haken (22 March 1910 – 12 January 1996, Prague) was a Czech operatic bass who had a lengthy career at the National Theatre in Prague during the 20th century. Although he mostly performed within his own nation, Haken did appear at a number of important international music festivals and opera houses in Europe while traveling with the National Theatre. He was also active as a concert soloist and recitalist.

Haken possessed a dark and glossy voice that was agile and powerful enough to assail a wide array of parts from the dexterous bel canto repertoire to heavier dramatic roles. A fine actor with a good sense of comic timing, he also excelled in the basso buffo repertoire. His voice is preserved on numerous opera recordings made with the Supraphon record label.

Born in Šklin, Ukraine to parents of Czech descent, Haken initially pursued a career as a doctor and in fact passed his medical examinations in 1932. While a student he took singing lessons with D. Levytsky in Prague. Eventually his love of music won over and he decided to abandon his medical career for a singing career.

Haken made his professional opera debut in a small role at the National Theatre in Prague in 1936, singing minor parts there for the next two years. In 1938 he became a principal singer at the Oldřich Stibor Theatre in Olomouc where he remained for three years. He returned to the National Theatre in 1941 where he remained for over the next five decades.

After his return to the National Theatre in 1941, Haken quickly became one of the most popular artists in the city. In his early years he developed a strong artistic partnership with conductor Vaclav Talich who greatly admired the young the bass. He was a much loved Kecal in The Bartered Bride. Among his chief roles at the theatre were Basilio in The Barber of Seville, Beneš in Dalibor, Daland in The Flying Dutchman, Mephistopheles in Faust, Mumlal in The Two Widows, Paloucký in The Kiss, Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Ramfis in Aida, Rocco in Fidelio, Van Bett in Zar und Zimmermann, Vodník in Rusalka, Volfram Olbramovič in The Brandenburgers in Bohemia, Zechariah in Nabucco, and the title role in A Life for the Tsar. One of his last appearances at the house was in 1992 in a production of František Škroup’s Columbus.

During his career Haken toured often with the National Theatre, making appearances throughout Europe. A highlight of these travels included performances of Rusalka at both the 1963 Holland Festival and the 1964 Edinburgh Festival. In 1971 he was the bass soloist in Leoš Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass at the Salzburg Festival, reprising a role he had filled in the 1964 Ančerl/CzechPO recording of this Mass. In 1953 Haken was awarded the Stalin Prize for his contribution to music and was named a National Artist. For many years he was married to actress Marie Glázrová. He died in Prague in 1996 at the age of 85. He was posthumously awarded a Thalia Award shortly after his death. He is buried at the Vyšehrad cemetery.

Image result for Eduard Haken

Image result for Eduard Haken





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Posted by on February 10, 2018 in Bassses


OTTO EDELMANN, Bass * 05 February 1917, Brunn am Gebirge, Austria + 14 May 2003, Vienna, Austria;

Image result for Otto Edelmann

Otto Edelmann (February 5, 1917 in Vienna – May 14, 2003 in Vienna) was an Austrian bass. He was born in Vienna and studied singing in Vienna with Gunnar Graarud.[1] His debut was at Gera as Figaro in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. He later sang the Vienna State Opera, the Edinburgh Festival and the Metropolitan Opera. He sang at the Bayreuth Festival immediately after its reopening in 1951 after World War II, performing the role of Hans Sachs in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. (He also recorded as Veit Pogner the goldsmith in the same work in one of Hans Knappertsbusch’s early recorded performances.) He also sang Ochs in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier at the first performances in the new Salzburg Festspielhaus in 1960. In 1957, he recorded the role of Wotan opposite Kirsten Flagstad in Georg Solti’s recording of Act III of Wagner’s Die Walküre (an album made prior to the later famous complete set of Der Ring des Nibelungen). He died in Vienna.

He is the father of the Austrian baritones Peter Edelmann and Paul-Armin Edelmann.

His voice was brassy and free, and very large, high for a bass but definitely a bass, not a baritone. He had a functional low extension, not full-sounding but very buzzy, which served him well in the role of Baron Ochs. His stage-personality and choice of roles tended toward likable comedic characters. He sang Ochs in the classic recording of Der Rosenkavalier conducted by Herbert von Karajan with Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and Christa Ludwig.

Videos are available of him as Baron Ochs (with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf) and Leporello (with Cesare Siepi.)

Image result for Otto Edelmann

Image result for Otto Edelmann

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Posted by on February 6, 2018 in Bassses


EZIO FLAGELLO, Bass * 28 January 1931, New York City, New York, United States + 19 March 2009, Palm Bay, Florida, United States;

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He studied at the Manhattan School of Music in New York with Friedrich Schorr and also with John Brownlee. He also studied in Rome with Luigi Ricci. 1952 saw him singing in carnegie Hall in a concert performance in “Boris Godunov”. His stage debut was in 1955 singing Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’amore” at the Empire State Festival in Ellenville, New York. The same role introduced him at the at the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome in 1956. Winning the Auditions of the Air in 1957 led to his Metropolitan Opera as the jailer in “Tosca”. In 1966 he sang the role of Enobarbus in the opening performance of the newly built house in Lincoln Center in the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra” He has sung over 400 times there. His repertoire included Sarastro, Leporello, King Philip, Fiesco, Silva, Melitone, Padre Guardiano, Sparafucile, Wurm in “Luisa Miller”,Timur, Basilio, Rodolfo in “La Sonnambula”, Giorgio in “I Puritani”, Raimondo in “Lucia di Lammermoor, and Handel’s Harapha.

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Biography and Photo by Charles Rhodes

Photo courtesy: Bach Cantatas Website

Image result for Ezio Flagello

Photo courtesy: Bach Cantatas Website

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Posted by on January 29, 2018 in Bassses


KAREL KALAš, Bass * 09 October 1910, Vienna, Austria + 03 May 2001, Prague, Czech Republic;

Image result for Karel Kalaš

Karel Kalaš (9 October 1910 – 3 May 2001) was a Czech operatic bass and film and television actor. He first rose to prominence at the Slovak National Theatre, where he was a member from 1934 through 1939. He left there to join the roster of principal singers at the National Theatre in Prague, where he worked until his retirement from the opera stage in 1972. He appeared in a handful of films and occasionally on Czech television during his career, notably winning acclaim for his portrayal of a retired opera singer in the 1978 film Kulový blesk.

Kalaš’s voice is preserved on a large number of recordings made on the Ultraphon, Esta, Bruno, Multisonic, and Urania labels. He also appeared on a number of complete opera recordings with the Prague National Theatre on the Supraphon label.

Born in Vienna, Austria to parents of Czech descent, Kalaš initially worked for a printing business in his native city. During this time he began studying singing privately with Ferdinand Pagin. He began his career singing in choirs in Vienna but was unable to land work as a soloist with any of the theatres in the city. Discouraged, he decided that he would try to find employment in his parent’s homeland and moved to Czechoslovakia in 1932, where he eventually became a citizen.

In 1934 Kalaš succeeded in landing a contract with the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava, where he began to assail mainly roles from the standard Czech repertoire like Kecal in Bedřich Smetana’s The Bartered Bride and the High priest in Antonín Dvořák’s Vanda. Renowned conductor Václav Talich attended several of his performances at the theatre and, impressed with the young bass, poached him for the National Theater in Prague.

Kalaš made his debut at the Prague National Theatre (PNT) as Kecal inn 1939 and became, along with Eduard Haken, one of the house’s most important basses during the 1940 and 1950s. An early major success for him at the theatre was the role of Count Vilém of Harasov in Dvořák’s The Jacobin. Among his signature roles in Prague were Beneš in Dalibor, Dosifey in Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina, the King in The Love for Three Oranges, Mumlal in The Two Widows, Paloucký in The Kiss, Paloucký in The Kiss, King Philip II in Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlos, Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, and Vodník in Rusalka.

In 1942 Kalaš sang in the world premiere of František Škroup’s Columbus (composed 1855) at the PNT. He notably toured with the PNT to Russia, Germany, and Belgium, appearing at such houses as the Bolshoi Theatre (1955), the Berlin State Opera (1956), and La Monnaie (1958). In 1963 her retired from the opera stage but continued to sing in concerts for a number of years afterwords. In 1965 he was honored with the title People’s Artist of the USSR and he was awarded a Thalia Award in 1995.

Giacomo Puccini: La bohème – Karel Kalaš (Schaunard) – ND Praha (foto Josef Heinrich)

Giacomo Puccini: La bohème – Karel Kalaš (Schaunard) – ND Praha (foto Josef Heinrich)

Bedřich Smetana: Čertova stěna – Karel Kalaš (Rarach) – ND Praha (foto Jaromír Svoboda)

Bedřich Smetana: Čertova stěna ‒ Karel Kalaš (Rarach) ‒ ND Praha (foto Jaromír Svoboda)


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Posted by on January 26, 2018 in Bassses


DEREK HAMMOND-STROUD, Bass * 10 January 1926, London, United Kingdom + 14 May 2012, Roden, United Kingdom;

Image result for Derek Hammond-Stroud

He studied at Trinity College in London, followed by working with Gerhard Hüsch in Munich, with Elena Gerhardt, and Roy Henderson in London. In 1955 he sang the role of Creon in London in a concert performance of Haydn’s “Orfeo” . His stage debut was in 1957 as Publio in “La Clemenza di Tito”. He became a stalwart at Sadler’s Wells before his Covent Garden debut in 1971 as Faninal .His roles inluded Papageno, Don Magnifico, Dr. Bartolo, Rigoletto, Fra Melitone, Beckmesser, Alberich,and the Sacristan in “Tosca”. He was also a noted interpreter of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Short Biography by Charles Rhodes

Image result for Derek Hammond-Stroud

Photo credit: The Telegraph

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Posted by on January 11, 2018 in Bassses

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