Richard Tauber

Biography

Born: May 16, 1891; Linz, Austria   Died: January 8, 1948; London, England  
Richard Tauber remains, for many, the quintessential Viennese operetta tenor. As well as a performer, he was a composer, his works displaying his understanding of the operetta and song genres if not the genius of a Lehár or Johann Strauss, Jr. He did not have a perfect voice; his Bs and Cs were labored and his habit of using falsetto to reach the rest of the upper range, while producing some ravishing results, could become mannered and overly Read more applied. That said, his graceful charm of expression and lyrical warmth made him one of the most beloved singers of his time.

He was the son of an actor and theater director and an actress, and was raised by his father after the age of seven, thus increasing his exposure to music and the theater. His early studies at the Frankfurt Conservatory focused on conducting and composition, his voice studies instead taking place at Freiburg under Carl Beines. He made his opera debut at the Chemnitz Neues Stadt-Theater in March, 1913, as Tamino in Mozart's The Magic Flute. He was almost immediately given a five-year contract by the Dresden Opera where he became the established lyric tenor. As his career continued to develop throughout Germany, he was strongly associated with Mozart; when he appeared as Tamino, Mozart's opera was often jokingly renamed Die Tauberflöte. Astonishingly, however, his 1915 Berlin Opera debut was as Bacchus in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos (a role that many heroic tenors find incredibly taxing), sung with 48 hours' notice and only one rehearsal! Tauber became known for his fast learning and musicianship, and was often called upon for such emergencies. He once took over as conductor for a tour with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

In the 1920s, he began to specialize in operetta and song, and became best known for those roles and for recitals, recordings, and film work. Lehár wrote the operettas Paganini, Der Zarewitsch, Friederike, and The Land of Smiles with him in mind, and in each, made sure to include a showpiece (soon known as the Tauberlied) for his talents. In 1931, he made his debut in England at the Drury Lane Theater in Lehár's The Land of Smiles, and he remained in England for fear of Nazi persecution (he was of Jewish extraction), becoming a naturalized citizen in 1940. Like most singers, his career was interrupted by the war, but he made his operatic farewell in 1947 as Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Though already seriously ill with the lung cancer that was to kill him the next year, according to critics and documented by air check recordings, it would have been a creditable performance for a singer in the best of health.

Tauber owed much of his fame to his then-prodigious 725 recordings; among tenors, only Enrico Caruso and John McCormack made more recordings. Tauber's catalog unquestionably displays the most variety, including songs by Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin, arias and duets from Verdi's Il trovatore and Aida, Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann, German lieder, and even the Neapolitan and Irish songs in which Caruso and McCormack were the main exponents. He also appeared in several movies, including a film of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, Blossom Time, Heart's Desire, and Forbidden Music. Today, his operetta Old Chelsea (which he wrote to celebrate his naturalization as an English citizen) is still sometimes performed. Read less
Browse 1-12 of 12 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    You Mean the World to Me / Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 308771 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Robert Stolz,  Hans May,  Mischa Spoliansky  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Julia Kleiter
    Conductor:  Jochen Rieder
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  • 2.
    Heart's Delight - Songs of Richard Tauber / Beczala
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001833702 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Rudolf Sieczynski,  Emmerich Kálmán,  Robert Stolz  ... 
    Performer:  Piotr Beczala,  Anna Netrebko,  Avi Avital,  Duncan Riddell
    Conductor:  Lukasz Borowicz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Comedian Harmonists
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  • 3.
    Die Stimme Mit Herz
    Label: Acanta/Pilz   Catalog: 233354 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Werner Bochmann,  Robert Stolz,  Karl Blume,  Eduard Künneke  ... 
    Performer:  Heinz [Tenor Vocal] Hoppe,  Ingeborg [Soprano Vocals] Hallstein,  Anny Schlemm,  Rita Bartos  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Becht,  Robert Stolz,  Franz Marszalek,  Wilhelm Stephan  ... 
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  • 4.
    Icon - Nicolai Gedda - Lyric Poet Of The Tenor Voice
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 56095 Release Date: 03/23/2010   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Joaquin Turina,  Ottorino Respighi,  Francesco Maria Veracini,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Gerald Moore,  Jan Eyron,  Aldo Ciccolini  ... 
    Conductor:  Lonya Kolbouss,  Robert Stolz,  Willy Mattes,  Willi Boskovsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Men's Chorus,  Balalaika Orchestra,  Graunke Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    Golden Operetta Of Vienna
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1049 Release Date: 06/02/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Tauber,  Karl Millöcker,  Carl Zeller,  Franz Lehár  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tauber,  Jussi Björling,  Anneliese Rothenberger,  Julius Patzak  ... 
    Conductor:  Henry Geehl,  Nils Grevillius,  Werner Schmidt-Bölke,  Rudolf Moralt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    Operetta Arias / Thomas Hampson
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 58361 Release Date: 06/06/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmerich Kálmán,  Franz Lehár,  Karl Millöcker,  Robert Stolz  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Gregory Knowles,  Colin Downs,  Richard Wright  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Voices
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  • 7.
    Peter Schreier - Legendary Recordings
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 2852 Release Date: 12/27/2005   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Heinrich Schütz,  Peter Cornelius,  Rudolf Mauersberger  ... 
    Performer:  Hans Otto,  Peter Schreier,  Anton Spieler,  Karl-Dietfried Adam  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Mauersberger,  Otmar Suitner,  Bernhard Klee,  Siegfried Kurz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra members,  Dresden Kreuz Choir,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
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  • 8.
    Original Masters - The Art Of Fritz Wunderlich
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000480702 Release Date: 09/13/2005   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Hübsch,,  Traditional,  Osman Perez Freire  ... 
    Performer:  Fritz Wunderlich,  Hermann Prey,  Hubert Giesen,  Ingeborg Hallstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Carste,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Robert Stolz,  Horst Stein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Graunke Symphony Orchestra,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Die Spilar-Schrammeln (salon orchestra)  ... 
    On sale! $55.98
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  • 9.
    Welch Unbekannter Zaube / Tatjana Dravenau,   Andreas Post
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 3028 Release Date: 11/12/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Eduard Künneke,  Adolphe Adam,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Andreas Post,  Tatjana Dravenau
    CD: $12.99
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  • 10.
    Opera In English - Great Operatic Arias - Bruce Ford 2
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 3100 Release Date: 09/23/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Rodgers,  Richard Tauber,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Bruce Ford,  Toby Stafford-Allen,  Paul Nilon,  Dennis O'Neill  ... 
    Conductor:  David Parry
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Geoffrey Mitchell Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Joseph Schmidt Singt Canzonen Und Unterhaltungslieder
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90527 Release Date: 05/27/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Altmann, Wilhelm, Dr.,  Arturo Buzzi-Peccia,  Schootemeyer,,  Salvatore Gambardella  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Schmidt
    On sale! $46.98
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  • 12.
    Domingo - Songs Of Love
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57045 Release Date: 10/10/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Lai,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Nicholas Brodszky,  Carrilo,  ... 
    Performer:  Laszlo Bencker,  Placido Domingo,  Bebu Silvetti,  Billy Ross  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Kohn,  Boris Jojic,  Bebu Silvetti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Choir,  WC Symphonic Orchestra
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