Category Archives: Tenors

ENRICO DI GIUSEPPE, Tenor * 14 October 1932, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States + 31 December 2005, Voorhees Township, New Jersey, United States;

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Enrico Di Giuseppe, an American tenor with a light lyric voice, who made a name for himself singing Italian repertory as a resident artist at both New City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, has died at the age of 73. His wife, the soprano Lorna Ceniceros, said that the cause was small cell cancer.

Di Giuseppe, whose pliable voice allowed him to take on an array of Italian repertory – ranging from Alfredo in La Traviata to Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana to Bohème’s Rodolfo – notably performed with Beverly Sills as the soprano garnered acclaim throughout the mid-seventies in New York City Opera productions of bel canto fare, including Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, I Puritani and Roberto Devereux. Di Giuseppe would go on to record Norma with Sills as well. His debut with the company came in a 1965 production of Menotti’s The Saint of Bleeker Street. Overall, the tenor would sing twenty-six roles in the New York State Theater during sixteen years.

Di Giuseppe’s Met debut came in a 1970 Madama Butterfly as Pinkerton, a role he would sing with the company thirteen times over the next six years. That same year, he performed his first Turiddu on tour with the company in Ohio, and immediately followed with an Alfredo and Cavaradossi in Atlanta. Back in New York the same year, he would again sing Turridu, this time opposite Martina Arroyo. In January of the following year, Di Giuseppe performed Count Almaviva to Marilyn Horne’s Rosina and Sherrill Milnes’ Figaro in the Met’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Di Giuseppe made his final Met appearance in 1986 singing the Duke in the company’s John Dexter production of Rigoletto.

Born in 1932 in Philadelphia, Di Giuseppe attended the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with former Met singer Richard Bonelli. He was drafted in 1953 and served with the United States Army Field Band. He would later go on to study at Juilliard with Hans Heinz. The tenor’s professional debut came in 1958, when he sang Des Grieux in New Orleans Opera’s Manon. Less than a year later he would go on to sing at La Scala.

Following his final Met appearance, the tenor frequently performed in the New York Grand Opera’s explorations of the Verdi catalog, presented in Central Park.

Litrato ni Classica Revival.

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Posted by on October 14, 2017 in Tenors


HELMUT KREBS, Tenor * 8 October 1913, Dortmund, Germany + 30 August 2007, Berlin, Germany;

The German tenor (and later, counter-tenor), Helmut Krebs, is historically significant in the field of Early Music. Having a most commanding speaking voice, Helmut Krebs possessed a singing voice of incredible range, accuracy, agility and beauty. He was born on the birthday of Heinrich Schütz in Aachen (also known as Aix-La-Chapelle); but of Dortmund parentage, and raised in Dortmund about 80 miles northeast. Then, as a teen, Krebs moved to Berlin. As a Berlin Highschool student, he followed the tradition of the Kapellmeisters, coming under the tutelage of Dr. Paul Lühmann.

The [late] Swiss tenor, Max Meili, inspired Helmut Krebs to a new vocal technique which Krebs called “rübergesungen”; and he began his career at the Kantstrasse Berlin Volksoper in 1937 as Monosotos in the Magic Flute. In 1938 he performed at the Städtische Oper of Berlin. Then “war-service” interrupted his plans…

Helmut Krebs made his re-debut in 1945 at Düsseldorf. During this period at the Spieloper, he sang the part of Fenton in Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor [as well as in Verdi’s Falstaff], and played Chateauneuf in Lortzing’s Czar and the Zimmermann. In 1948, he was tested for the Berlin Staasoper by Joseph Keilberth, as David in Die Meistersinger. Then in 1949, he performed there alongside baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. From then on, his career became prominent vocal history. [in May 1953, both Krebs and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, over the South West German Radio, performed Nicolaus Bruhns’ Easter cantata Erstanden ist der Heilige Christ, for tenor, baritone, 2 violins and bass continuo. This is but one of many performances they did together.] Under the Northwest German Radio conducted by Zellig, as well as the Berlin Radio under Early Music conductor/restorer-editor Helmut Koch and the Hungarian conductor Ferenc Fricsay (whom he quickly befriended in Salzburg 1949), Krebs performed the works of Glück (as Achilles in Iphigenie in Aulis recorded live with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau on Jan.12, 1951), Benjamin Britten (Les Illuminations conducted by Walther Rother and the German premiere of Albert Herring in the title role), Carl Orff (as the Watchman in Antigonae, 1949), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (as the Astrologer in Le Coq D’Or), Igor Stravinsky (Oedipus Rex alongside tenor Richard Lewis [for I. Stravinsky had a favoritism for the “heroic-tenor” voice of Richard Lewis, and so used Krebs in the recording only as the Shepherd]), Werner Egk (Ferdinand in Columbus ), Schreker (“The Branded” as Count Salvago), Pfitzner (Abdisu in Palestrina), Richard Strauss (as Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos in 1955 under Herbert von Karajan, and later as the Dancing Master, as well as in Capriccio & Intermezzo on stage), von Weber (in Oberon), Monteverdi (Apollo and the First Shepherd, and later the title role in Orfeo under August Wenzinger), Kodaly (Psalmus Hungaricus ), Béla Bartók (Cantate Profana ), Arnold Schoenberg (as Aaron in Moses und Aaron), and created an historical moment just days after the notorious building of the Berlin Wall in Verdi’s Requiem (which soon after was repeated in Israel). He also sang as Don Pizzaro, the Captain in L.v. Beethoven’s Fidelio, and in the 9th Symphony under Otto Klemperer. Shortly thereafter he was invited to sing at La Scala, the State Opera of Vienna, in Covent Garden, the State Opera House of Munich, and the State Opera of Hamburg. On September 9, 1958 at the Festival of Darmstadt, under Ernest Bour, Krebs performed Pierre Boulez’ Le Soleildes eaux with words by René Char. Krebs sang the Magnificat of Andre Jolivet aired over the WDR Radio. With Rita Streich he performed Liebermann’s Lenore, Millöcker’s Gasparone, as well as The 1001 Nights of Johann Strauss.

With the Pro Arte Orchestra of Munich under Kurt Redel, Helmut Krebs toured performing the famous W.A. Mozart Concert Arias for high-tenor voice and solo songs, and comic-ensembles (originally sung by W.A. Mozart himself). In 1949, when singing W.A. Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio in Berlin, he sang the role of Pedrillo (also recorded). Gaining fame as an outstanding Mozartian tenor, Glyndebourne Festival then engaged him as Belmonte in Abduction from the Seraglio, Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Tamino in The Magic Flute, Don Octavio in Don Giovanni, as Idamamte with Ernst Haefliger as Idomemeo in Idomeneo (at Edinborough). In recital he performed impeccably Schubert’s Die Schöne Mullerin. The famous concerts at St. Helwig’s began also around 1949, and were to become most famous for: the Evangelist roles in the Heinrich Schütz’ Passions and motets, as well as virtually all the major choral works of J.S. Bach [under Fritz Lehmann and Fritz Werner], the Mass in b minor (BWV 232), numerous cantatas, as well as the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), and the Magnificat (BWV 243). In this capacity, he toured Holland, Belgium and Switzerland.

Helmut Krebs recorded extensively for the DG Archiv label in authentic early-music reconstructions of Lassus [at the Aachen Cathedral, under Rudolph Pohl], Michael Praetorius, Samuel Scheidt, Dietrich Buxtehude, and the early Italian Baroque masters such as Caccini and Viadana. By the beginning of the 1960’s he recorded for Erato/Barclay under Louis Fremeaux in the Church of the Marionites, the French Baroque masterpieces exclusively for counter-tenor by François Couperin, Fathers Brossard and Campra, etc. Still, Krebs found time to perform the traditional lyric-tenor repetoire as the Helmsman in Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, and as Alfred (1949) in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (later recorded under Herbert von Karajan). He premiered in two Henze masterpieces: King Hirsche (1956), and the fine comic-tenor role as Prof. von Mucker (1965) in Der Junge Lord which was also filmed. In 1965, under Ferdinand Leitner, he portrayed the Drum Major [but personally Krebs preferred the role of Andres] in Alban Berg’s Wozzeck. More than any other styles, in the 1960’s Krebs was performing the 17th century hautecontre repertoire in natural voice [when most others were singing in falsetto] which proved to be musicologically correct. In 1966, Krebs became a professor at the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt.

In 1981, Helmut Krebs performed the part of the old prisoner in Janacek’s From the House of the Dead at the Deutschen Oper Berlin. He also performed as the Simpleton in Boris Godunov. After leaving public performance, under the auspices of the Berlin Astoria Verlag, Helmut Krebs, became an active composer. In 1982 (the most notable of his compositions) modeled after Heinrich Schütz, was his Small Holy Concerto for Soloist, Violin and Organ, Op. 24 #1 with Primary or Boyschoir.

In December 2000, at the Berlin Gala “Emuettiges Wohlwollen fur den neuen Ehrenbuerger”, Helmut Krebs made a special honorary appearance along with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Lauren Driscoll and other Berlin dignitaries of past repute. In May 2002 [at Berlin’s Tonstraeg 2002 Festival], in tribute to the centennial of Mark Lother’s birthday, Helmut Krebs sang his Oboen-Lieder, Op.47 [after the poems of Georg Schwarz], with Karl Steins at the oboe, and his friend Kurt Kiermeir at the piano. These SFB pieces ran a straight thirteen minutes and thirty-six seconds; and, were originally given through the RSO of Berlin in 1959. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was also on this concert.

In his last years Helmut Krebs resided in Grunewald-Berlin.


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Posted by on October 10, 2017 in Tenors


STEFAN ISLANDI, Tenor * 6 October 1907, Skagafjord + 1 January 1994, Reykjavik, Iceland;

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Stefan Islandi was born on 06/10/1907 in Skagafjördur, Iceland and died on 1/1/1994 in Reykjavik. His real name was Gud Gudmundsson but he adopted the stage name Islandi after his country of birth. Originally he was a hairdresser but his voice was discovered and trained from 1930-35 by the Milanese singer/teacher Ernesto Caronna. During this training he made his debut in 1933 at the Teatro Comunale of Florence as Cavaradossi in “Tosca”. From 1935-40 he gave guest performances and concerts in Europe. From 1938 – 1959 he sang regularly at the Royal Opera of Copenhagen, where he sang Pinkerton in the inaugural “Madame Butterfly”. His roles included José in “Carmen”, the Duke in “Rigoletto”, Rodolfo, Nadir, Gounod’s Faust, Werther, Lenski, Don Carlos and Turiddu. He made guest appearances in Italy, France, Germany and Sweden. He also had a successful career in the concert hall and in 1946 he undertook a big concert tour through North America. In the fifties he appeared several times in his Icelandic homeland at the Theater of Reykjavik where he sang the Duke in “Rigoletto” and Cavaradossi. He also lectured in 1961 at the opening performance of the newly built house. In 1966 he returned to Iceland and taught at the Music Academy of Reykjavik. He married the Danish contralto Else Brems.

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Else and Stefan after a Thursday-concert circa 1940

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Posted by on October 6, 2017 in Tenors


FRANK PATTERSON, Tenor * 5 October 1938, Clonmel, Republic of Ireland + 10 June 2000, New York City, New York, United States;

Frank Patterson (5 October 1938 – 10 June 2000) was an internationally renowned Irish tenor following in the tradition of singers such as Count John McCormack and Josef Locke. He was known as “Ireland’s Golden Tenor”.

Patterson was born in Clonmel, County Tipperary on 5 October 1938. As a boy he performed with his local parish choir and was involved in maintaining the annual tradition of singing with the Wrenboys. Frank received special encouragement from local connoisseur Tommy O’Brien after a Highschool performance as Lazarello in Maritana. He sang in the local St. Mary’s Choral Society and at a production of The Pirates of Penzance performed with both his parents. Frank’s interests extended beyond music and as a boy he represented Marlfield GAA hurling club, played tennis at Hillview and golf at the Mountain Road course. He quit school at an early stage to work at ‘Slater’s’, the printing business of his mother’s family. Patterson moved to Dublin in 1961 to enrol at the National Academy of Theatre and Allied Arts where he studied acting while at the same time receiving vocal training from Dr. Hans Waldemar Rosen. In 1964 he entered the Feis Ceoil, a nationwide music competition in which he won several sections including Oratorio, Lieder and the German Gold Cup.

Patterson gave classical recitals around Ireland and won scholarships to study in London, Paris and in the Netherlands. While in Paris, he appeared in a radio broadcast which caught the attention of the Philips Record Company. This led to a contract[1] and his first record, My Dear Native Land. He worked with conductors such as Sir Colin Davis and some of the most prestigious orchestras in Europe including the London Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre de Paris. He also toured with Janine Micheau in Pelléas et Mélisande and won a reputation as a singer of Handel, Mozart, and Bach oratorios and German, Italian and French song. Patterson had a long-running programme on RTÉ, the Irish national broadcaster, titled For Your Pleasure.

In the early 1980s he moved to the United States, making his home in rural Westchester County, New York. A resurgence of interest in Irish culture encouraged him to turn towards a more traditional Irish repertoire. Adding hymns, ballads, and traditional as well as more popular tunes to his catalogue he became a popular singer in a country with a strong Irish connection and in March 1988 was featured host in a St. Patrick’s Day celebration of music and dance at New York’s famous Radio City Music Hall.

He gave an outdoor performance on the steps of the Capitol in Washington with the National Symphony Orchestra before an audience of 60,000. Patterson was equally at home in more intimate settings, such as a concert he gave for Boys’ Town. His singing in the role of the Evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion was given fine reviews. Further recordings followed, of Beethoven arrangements, Irish songs, Berlioz songs, Purcell songs and others, all on the Philips label.

Frank Patterson performed sell-out concerts from London’s Royal Albert Hall to New York’s Carnegie Hall, and with his family he presented two concerts at the White House, for presidents Ronald Reagan in 1982 and Bill Clinton in 1995. He recorded over thirty albums in six languages, won silver, gold and platinum discs and was the first Irish singer to host his own show in Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Rising to greater prominence with the new popularity of Celtic music in the 1990s, Patterson saw many of his past recordings reissued for American audiences, and in 1998 he starred in the PBS special ‘Ireland in Song’. His last album outsold Pavarotti.

In recognition of his musical achievements he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Salve Regina University, Newport in 1990 an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Manhattan College in 1996 and the Gold Medal of the Éire Society of Boston in 1998.

For more information about Frank Patterson please visit at:

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The late Frank Patterson, and his wife Eily O’Grady with President Ronald Reagan at a recital in the white house in the 1980s

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Posted by on October 5, 2017 in Tenors, Uncategorized


RINALDO GRASSI, Tenor * 05 October 1885, Milan, Italy + 14 October 1946, Milan, Italy;

He received his education at the Milan Conservatory where he was a pupil of Leoni. In 1904 he made his stage debut at the Teatro Coccia of Novara as Rodolfo to Puccini’s ‘’La Boheme’’. In 1905 he had the first success at the Teatro Comunale in Ferrara as well as at the Teatro Sociale in Treviso as Faust in ‘’La dannatione di Faust‘’ of Berlioz. In 1906 he appeared with success at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan as Giorgio in Mascagni’s ‘’Amica’’. In 1907 he performed at the Teatro San Carlo in Napoli in Verdi’s ‘’La Traviata’’ togheter with Darclee Heraclea and Eugenio Giraldoni. The same year Grassi made his La Scala debut where as a partner of Eugenia Burzio and Pasquale Amato he sang in Puccini’s ‘’Tosca’’. In the 1908-09 season he appeared  at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in ‘’Madame Butterfly’’, ‘’Tosca’’, ‘’La Boheme’’ and ‘’Cavalleria Rusticana’’.  In 1912 he made guest appearance at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires singing the role Faust’’ in ‘’Mefistofele’’. At the Teatro Regio in Turin he sang the role of Dick Johnson in the premiere there of Puccini’s ‘’La Fanciulla del West’’ (1911). At the Teatro Dal Verme, Milan he appeared on 6. 3. 1920 in the premiere of Pedrollo’s ‘’L’Uomo che ride’’. He married the soprano Bianca Tamagno-Grassi (1883-1914), a niece of the heroic tenor Francesco Tamagno (1851-1905). She died at the height of her career, at the age of 31, after a car accident.


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Posted by on October 5, 2017 in Tenors


GIANNI POGGI, Tenor * 4 October 1921, Piacenza, Italy + 16 December 1989, Piacenza, Italy;

Gianni Poggi (October 4, 1921 – December 16, 1989) was an Italian tenor, particularly associated with the Italian repertory.

Born in Piacenza, Poggi studied first in Bologna with soprano Valeria Manna, and later in Milan with baritone Emilio Ghirardini. He made his debut in Palermo, as Rodolfo, in 1947. He first sang at La Scala in 1948 and appeared there until 1965, his roles included: Riccardo, Enzo, Fernando, Edgardo, Duca di Mantua, Alfredo, Cavaradossi, etc.

He also sang at all the major opera houses throughout Italy, notably in Florence in 1955, in a revival of Donizetti’s Dom Sebastien. He portrayed the role of Lohengrin at Arena of Verona in 1949 and in his home town Piacenza in 1963 (both sung in Italian).

Poggi made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955, in Rigoletto, opposite Robert Merrill and Roberta Peters. He returned for further performances in 1957: Rigoletto again (now with Leonard Warren), Tosca (opposite Antonietta Stella and Walter Cassel, conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos), La bohème (with Licia Albanese and Ettore Bastianini, conducted by Thomas Schippers), Lucia di Lammermoor (with Lily Pons), La traviata (opposite Renata Tebaldi), and La Gioconda (with Zinka Milanov, Leonard Warren, Cesare Siepi and Regina Resnik).

He was a regular guest at the Vienna State Opera from 1959 to 1964, also appearing at the Berlin State Opera and Monte Carlo Opera. He retired from the stage in 1969, his last role being Faust of Boito’s Mefistofele.

Poggi had a spinto tenor voice, occasionally inclined to hardness, enabling him to sing both lyric and dramatic roles.

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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in Tenors


GERHARD STOLZE, Tenor * 1 October 1926, Dessau, Germany + 11 March 1979, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany;

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Gerhard Stolze (1 October 1926, Dessau – 11 March 1979, Garmisch-Partenkirchen) was a German tenor.

He was a character tenor best known as a Wagner singer. His signature role was Mime (Das Rheingold, Siegfried). Other important roles were David (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Loge (Das Rheingold), Aegisth (Elektra) and Herod (Salome). He also sang the Captain in Wozzeck and, the roles of Oberon (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and the Emperor Nero, both of which were originally written for countertenor. He recorded Mozart’s high-tenor Singspiel roles, Monostatos and Pedrillo.

He portrays Mime on both the studio recordings of Siegfried by Herbert von Karajan and Georg Solti.

His voice was very high, thin, and piercing, and capable of an extraordinary range of colors. His style sharply divided critics and audiences, especially in the roles of Mime and Herod. It was denigrated as being over-neurotic, glorified sprechstimme by some,[1] while others praised it for its deep characterization and astonishing virtuosity.

He made his debut in 1949 at the State Opera in Dresden as Moser, one of the Mastersingers in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, the same role in which he made his first appearance at the Bayreuth Festival in 1951. He was a member of the Berlin State Opera from 1953–1961. Other house debuts include the Vienna State Opera in 1957, the Covent Garden in 1960 (as Mime in a complete Ring under Solti), and the Metropolitan Opera in 1968 as Loge. He sang in the first performances or first stagings of Werner Egk’s Der Revisor, Heimo Erbse’s Julietta, Carl Orff’s Oedipus der Tyrann, Frank Martin’s Le mystère de la Nativité, and Giselher Klebe’s Jacobowsky und der Oberst.

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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in Tenors

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