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Category Archives: Bassses

NORMAN SCOTT, Bass * 30 November 1921 + 22 September 1968;

His family was of Russian origin. He received his education in New York and made his debut in 1946 with Boris Goldovsky’s New England Opera Company.. He then sang in New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Havana and from 1948 to 51 at the New York City Center Opera where he sang smaller comic roles. Monterone introduced him at the Metropolitan Opera in 1951. He sang there for seventeen seasons. His repertoire included Colline, Daland, Ramfis and the King in “Aida”, Méphistophélès, Sarastro, Raimondo in “Lucia”, Abimélech in “Samson et Dalila.” Alvise, Padre Guardiano, and Duke Bluebeard. He also sang supporting roles in the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra” and the United States premieres of Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Last Savage” and Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress”. . He was also a valued concert and, above all, oratorio singer..

Biography by Charles Rhodes

Litrato ni Charles Rhodes.

Pimen in the featured recording

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Posted by on December 4, 2017 in Bassses

 

JOSEF GREINDL, Bass * 23 December 1912, Munich, Germany + 16 April 1993, Vienna, Austria;

Josef Greindl (23 December 1912 – 16 April 1993) was a German operatic bass, remembered mainly for his performances of Wagnerian roles at Bayreuth beginning in 1943.

Josef Greindl was born in Munich and studied at the Munich Music Academy with Paul Bender. His opera debut was in 1936, as Hunding in Wagner’s Die Walküre in the State Theatre in Krefeld. He joined the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or Nazi Party, in 1939. In 1944, Adolf Hitler included him in the Gottbegnadeten list (“God-gifted List”), which exempted him from the requirement to serve in the German military. He played the part of King Marke in the 1952 Furtwängler recording of Tristan und Isolde. This vintage recording often appears in critics list of the top 100 greatest recordings, since Kirsten Flagstad was also in the cast. He sang at the Metropolitan Opera in 1952-3. He sang in Wieland Wagner’s last Ring.

In 1973, he became a professor at the Vienna Hochschule and later died in that city (in 1993). His daughter Gudrun Greindl Rosner is also a singer.

Greindl had a voice like a gravel quarry—massive, wide, deep, rough, and ancient-sounding, grey-timbred rather than black. From the mid-1940s through the late 1960s he was one of the three or four leading performers of Wagner’s and Mozart’s big bass roles, possessing the size and strength for the former and the dexterity, brains, and extreme range for the latter. He frequently appeared as Fafner, Hunding, and Hagen in the same performance of the Ring Cycle, which made him the only singer in the cast who had to perform all four nights. His earliest recorded singing was at Bayreuth, as Pogner the goldsmith, a character in his fifties or sixties, in 1943 when he (Greindl) was 31 years old. Although he was not as tall as some other big basses, his stage-presence was formidable.

He was not nearly as well-publicised as his frequent co-star Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, but Josef Greindl’s recorded repertoire is almost equally wide and full, including besides Mozart and Wagner beyond reckoning, operatic roles by Gluck, Verdi, Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Smetana, Weber, Berg, Orff, Cimarosa, and Beethoven; lieder by Schubert, Schumann, and Carl Loewe; and sacred music by Bach, Handel, Heinrich Schütz, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Schubert, Dvorak, and Rossini.

Although he was famous for the low bass parts, his top was very comfortable and he began experimenting with higher-pitched roles in the 1960s: Hans Sachs (at which he excelled), the Wanderer in Siegfried, the title character in Der fliegende Holländer and even Don Alphonso in Così fan tutte.

He can be seen on video as Hans Sachs, Hagen (brief excerpts only), Rocco, King Phillip, Geronimo in Il matrimonio segreto, the Commendatore, and as Hunding in a concert performance of Act I of Die Walküre.

 

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2017 in Bassses

 

MIKLÓS BENCZE, Bass * 19 June 1911, Budapest, Hungary + 24 January 1992, Dothan, Alabama, United States

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Miklós Bencze (19 June 1911 – 24 January 1992) was a Hungarian-American bass singer. He was born in Hungary and studied with tenor Manfredo Polverosi; he had his debut as Ferrando in Il Trovatore at the Hungarian State Opera in 1946. He also performed with the Budapest Municipal Opera Theatre and with opera companies in Vienna and Innsbruck. He married Budapest native Ilona Anna Szabari.

In 1957, after Soviet troops marched into Budapest to end the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Bencze and his wife left Hungary and emigrated to the United States. There he received a Rockefeller Foundation grant and performed at Carnegie Hall in New York. While continuing his operatic career in major opera houses in roles such as Sparafucile, Leporello, Don Basilio and Mephisto, he took a position as a voice teacher and artist in residence at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. In 1964 he accepted a similar position at the University of Mississippi. Among his pupils, he numbered many prominent singers and teachers. Finally, in 1977, he retired from the stage and taught voice at Wallace Community College in Dothan, Alabama.

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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in Bassses

 

SALVATORE BACCALONI, Bass * 14 April 1900, Rome, Italy + 31 December 1969, New York City, New York, United States;

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Baccaloni joined the choir of the Sistine Chapel when he was seven, but when his voice broke at fifteen he turned from music to architecture, graduating from Rome’s Academy of Fine Arts. After hearing him sing privately however, in 1920 the baritone Giuseppe Kaschmann invited Baccaloni to study with him and two years later he made his début at the Teatro Adriano in Rome as Dr Bartolo/Il barbiere di Siviglia. During the next four years Baccaloni sang in Italy’s numerous smaller opera houses. Toscanini heard him in Louise at Bologna in 1926 and invited him to sing at La Scala, Milan, where he made his début in Pizzetti’s Debora e Jaele (1926). It was Toscanini, too, who urged Baccaloni, given his fine voice, musicality and comic skills, to concentrate upon the buffo rôles rather than the full bass repertoire which he had sung until 1930. Baccaloni now took up such parts as Dr Dulcamara/L’elisir d’amore, Leporello/Don Giovanni and the title rôles of Don Pasquale and Falstaff; and so successful was he that in 1934 he was made a Knight of the Crown of Italy. Until 1940 he remained as an important principal at La Scala, where he also took part in several first performances, including Giordano’s Il re (1929) and Wolf-Ferrari’s Il campiello (1936) and La dama boba (1939).

In a career that was also active abroad Baccaloni appeared at Covent Garden as Varlaam/Boris Godunov opposite Chaliapin and as Timur/Turandot in the1928–1929 season. He made his American début in 1930 in Chicago as Fra Melitone/La forza del destino with Muzio, and in the same year also sang at the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, for the first time. He returned to England regularly between 1936 and 1939 to sing at the Glyndebourne Festival, where his Leporello, Don Alfonso/Così fan tutte, Dr Bartolo/Le nozze di Figaro, Don Pasquale and Osmin/Die Entführung aus dem Serail were greatly admired. From 1938 onwards he sang at San Francisco, performing Falstaff, Leporello, Melitone and Pasquale to considerable acclaim; and repeated his Osmin at the Salzburg Festival in 1939. Baccaloni made his highly successful début at the Metropolitan Opera in 1940 as Dr Bartolo/Figaro and remained with this company until 1962, singing fifteen rôles in 297 performances, including the title rôle in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Towards the end of his career he appeared in several films, including Merry Andrew (1958) and Fanny (1962).

Salvatore Baccaloni was considered to be the outstanding buffo bass of his generation. He possessed a rich bass voice, excellent diction and innate musicality, combining these with an infectiously comic stage presence. He participated in several of the complete opera recordings made by Columbia and HMV in Milan during the 1930s and sang Leporello in the historic HMV recording of the Glyndebourne production of Don Giovanni conducted by Fritz Busch. He may also be heard in several ‘off-air’ recordings from the Metropolitan Opera.

Courtesy: Naxos Records

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2017 in Bassses

 

BRUNO CARMASSI, Bass * 6 January 1890 (some sources say 1894) + May 1971;

 

He was one of the best italian comprimario singers of his time, who appeared not only at the secondary theatres, but also at La Scala in Milan. Already in 1921 he performed at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna as Marke in R. Wagner’s ‘’Tristano e Isotta’’ and as Conte Rodolfo in V. Bellini’s ‘’Sonnambula’’. He sang there also in the premiere of the opera ‘’La Leggenda di Sakuntala’’ of Franco Alfano (10. 12. 1921). In 1924 he was to be found at Teatro Verdi in Pisa, two years later he again appeared in Bologna (as Ferrando in G. Verdi’s ‘’Trovatore’’). In 1928 he made guest appearances in São Paulo and Brazil. In 1927 and 1929 he traveled to the Lima, Santiago de Chile and Valparaiso. At La Scala he sang as comprimario from 1930 to 1941. In 1936 he made guest appearances in Holland. Already in 1931 he was in London, where at Covent Garden sang the role of Sparafucile in G. Verdi’s ‘’Rigoletto’’. The role of Sparafucile in ‘’Rigoletto’’ he performed also in Zurich (1947) and Lugano (1956). In 1947 he appeared at the Arena di Verona. In 1951 he sang at the Florence Maggio musicale, the next year made guest performance at the London Stoll Theatre. He retired from the stage in the 1950’s.

Chronology of some appearances

1921 Bologna Teatro Comunale Tristano e Isotta (Marke)
1921 Bologna Teatro Comunale Sonnambula (Conte Rodolfo)
1921 Bologna Teatro Comunale La Leggenda di Sakuntala (Kanva)
1926 Bologna Teatro Comunale Trovatore (Ferrando)
1931 London Covent Garden Rigoletto (Sparafucile)

Courtesy: FORGOTTEN OPERA SINGERS

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2017 in Bassses

 

KAREL BERMAN, Bass * 14 April 1919, Jindřichův Hradec, Czech Republic + 11 August 1995, Prague, Czech Republic;

Image result for Karel Berman

Karel Berman (14 April 1919 in Jindřichův Hradec, Czechoslovakia – 11 August 1995 in Prague, Czech Republic) was a Jewish Czech opera singer, composer and opera director.

After extensive musical education, Karel Berman started his career as a bass singer of opera in Opava. In March, 1943, Berman was deported to Theresienstadt, where he took part in cultural life as a singer, composer and director. On 11 July 1944, for example, he and Rafael Schächter produced the “Four songs to words of Chinese poetry” by Pavel Haas for the first time.

Later he was also imprisoned in Kaufering and Auschwitz. He survived the camps and later became famous as an opera singer. In 1953, he joined the Prague National Theatre opera. Berman is also remembered as an opera director, having directed more than 70 operas. He taught at the Prague Conservatory from 1961–71, and from 1964 at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.

Works:

  • 1944 Poupata (“Buds”) Bass-baritone songs and piano
    • Majové ráno (Eva Nonfriedová)
    • Co se děje při probuzení (Kamil Bednář)
    • Děti si hrají (Josef Hora)
    • Před usnutím č. 1 (František Halas)
    • Velikonoční (František Halas)
  • 1938 – 1945 Reminiscences Suite Piano (first published in 2000)
  • Terezín Suite Piano
  • Broučci (“Glow-worms” – after the children’s book by Jan Karafiát) Soprano and piano (later made world-famous by Jiří Trnka as a cartoon)Image result for Karel Berman

 

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2017 in Bassses

 

FRANCO CALABRESE, Bass * 20 July 1923, Palermo, Italy + 13 Novembre 1992, Lucca;

 

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Franco Calabrese (Palermo, 1923 – Lucca, 1992) was an Italian bass singer.

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2017 in Bassses

 
 
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