Born: February 2, 1901; Hanover, Germany
Died: November 21, 1984; Viehausen
Gerhard Hüsch was a lyric baritone noted especially for his performances of the art song repertory. As an interpreter of both opera and song, he was more intent on conveying meaning and drama than creating beautiful sounds; in this respect he led the way for both Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Herman Prey.
Hüsch studied singing with Hans Emge and acting with Ewald Schindler. His debut came in 1923 as Liebenau in Lortzing's DerRead more Waffenschmied. A year later he signed a three-year contract with the Stadttheater in Bremen. His first important role there was Storch in the Dresden premiere of Strauss' Intermezzo. While under contract at Bremen, Hüsch made guest appearances in Hamburg as Eberbach in Der Wildschütz and Germont in La traviata. In 1927, he began a three-year stay at Cologne where his successful interpretation of Don Giovanni made him a leading singer. During that season he also appeared in Jonny spielt auf and Tannhäuser.
1930 found Hüsch singing in Cologne, Berlin, London, Bayreuth, Vienna, Amsterdam, and the Hague. He was a favorite of some of the greatest conductors at that time including Arturo Toscanini, Otto Klemperer, Karl Böhm, Fritz Busch, and Bruno Walter. His operatic repertoire expanded to include roles in Cenerentola, Orphée aux enfers, Pelléas et Mélisande, Il segreto di Susanna, Le nozze di Figaro, Die Fledermaus, Così fan tutte, and Die Zauberflöte. He also took the spoken role of the Pasha in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail.
In spite of his large operatic repertoire, it is as a Lieder singer that Hüsch is best remembered. His interpretations of the great song cycles of Schubert and Schumann were justly admired wherever he performed them. His close friendship with composers Hans Pfitzner and Yrjo Kilpinen made his performances and recordings of their songs near-definitive. He even dared to give entire evenings of Kilpinen songs; his friendship with the composer led to Scandinavian concert tours nearly every season. In 1932, Hanns Udo Müller became his primary accompanist.
In 1937 he began to cut down his performing commitments and was appointed Professor of Singing at the Munich Academy. From 1942 to 1949 he devoted all of his time to his voice students. He continued to give recitals and in 1955 he returned to London to give several recitals including Schubert's Winterreise with the young Geoffrey Parsons as his partner. The following year he appeared at the Edinburgh Festival. He continued to teach and give master classes. His recitals and master classes in Japan started a love of German Lieder there that continues to this day. Read less
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