Born: March 22, 1888; Vienna, Austria
Died: June 21, 1967; Vienna, Austria
During the late 1920s and the 1930s, a period remembered as one of the golden ages of Wagnerian singing, Emanuel List (born Emanuel Fleissig) was counted as among the finest of basses and specialized in the villain roles in the operas of Wagner and others. He was tall and physically imposing, adding a commanding and dangerous element to his rich, deep, and dark singing tone.
He started his singing career as a boy soprano in the chorus andRead more some solo work on the roster of the Theater an der Wein in Vienna. His family moved to the United States, where he was a vaudeville singer while studying voice with Josiah Zuro.
He returned to Vienna in 1920 for more training and to further his singing career, and soon made a debut at the Volksoper in 1922 in the major role of Mephistopheles. He moved to Berlin in 1923 to accept an engagement as a member of the Charlottenburg opera company, and joined the company of the Berlin State Opera (Staatsoper) in 1925. In the same year, he made a Covent Garden debut as Pogner in Die Meistersinger. He remained a member of the roster of the Staatsoper, making a specialty of such Wagnerian roles as King Mark (Tristan und Isolde), Hunding (Walküre) and Hagen (Götterdämmerung), as the implacable high priest Ramfis in Verdi's Aida, and in his most famous role, Baron Ochs in Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. He began singing in the Salzburg Festival in Austria, taking the Mozart roles of Osmin (Abduction from the Seraglio), and the Commendatore (Don Giovanni), and Rocco in Beethoven's Fidelio, in addition to King Mark. He appeared in the 1933 Bayreuth Festival as Hunding and Hagen, in addition to Fafner as the giant in Rheingold and as the voice of Fafner's transformed shape of the Dragon in Siegfried. As a Jew, he prudently left German in 1933 and made his debut that year at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as the Landgrave in Tannhäuser. He was a member of the Met company from that year until 1950, and also sang regularly at the opera houses of San Francisco, Chicago, and Buenos Aires, and became a naturalized American citizen. Shortly before retiring, he made his first appearance in nearly 20 years in Berlin in 1950.
Among his famous recordings are performances as Hunding in the cutting of the complete first act of Die Walküre, and as King Mark in the equally famous 1936 Melchior-Flagstad Tristan und Isolde. Read less
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