Kurt Herbert Adler

Biography

Born: April 2, 1905; Vienna, Austria   Died: February 9, 1988; Ross, CA  
Making most of his career in the United States, Kurt Herbert Adler was a fine conductor and outstanding opera administrator who took the San Francisco Opera from regional status to become one of the notable international opera houses.

He received his education at the University of Vienna while pursuing musical studies at the Vienna Musikakademie and the Vienna Conservatory. At the age of twenty he joined the staff of the Max Reinhardt
Read more Theater in Vienna, making his conducting debut there in 1925. He conducted at the Vienna Volkstheater and, following the typical Germanic conductor's career path, worked at a variety of provincial houses in Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, moving progressively into more important houses and more important positions. In 1936, Adler was chosen to be assistant to Arturo Toscanini at the Salzburg Festival. However, by that time, the obvious interest of the neighboring Nazi German regime to take over Austria, its Führer's birth-country, made it prudent for Adler to consider leaving this developing career for the safety of the United States.

From 1938 to 1943, he was a guest conductor at the Chicago Opera. In 1943, he was hired by Gaetano Merola, founder and director of the San Francisco Opera, to a permanent position as chorus master, soon becoming a staff conductor.

In 1953, Merola died and Adler was appointed artistic director of the company, and in 1957, his position was elevated to that of general director. Under his leadership, the San Francisco ambitiously hired leading international stars. Adler had a talent for spotting rising singers of star quality, and the San Francisco Opera became the first American house to engage such leading singers as Birgit Nilsson, Leontyne Price, Hans Hotter, Boris Christoff, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and conductor Sir Georg Solti.

He added several programs both to develop wider audiences (such as the Brown Bag Opera, instituted in 1974, and the spring and summer opera programs) and to develop new opera artists (for instance, the San Francisco Opera Audition in 1954, the Merola Opera Program in 1957, and the San Francisco Opera Affiliate Artists program).

In addition, he doubled the length of the regular season and expanded the budget. He continued to conduct, but spent most of his time in administrative tasks. He also made the repertory of the company more adventuresome, giving one of the earliest performances of Shostakovich's revised opera Katerina Ismailova and the first major American staging of Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten. In all, the company under his administration gave two world premieres and eighteen first American performances.

Adler retired in 1981 and was named general director emeritus.

After his death, the San Francisco Opera Affiliate Artists program was renamed the Adler Fellowship Program. It seeks out promising developing young singers and hires them on an eleven-month contract during which they receiving coaching and further voice training from internationally esteemed artists (mostly star singers who have sung frequently with the company). This training is pointed towards professional performances in the spring opera season and in the main opera season. Among the international star singers who have been in the Adler Fellowship Program or its predecessor are Carol Vaness, Ruth Ann Swenson, Nancy Gustafson, Deborah Voigt, Dolora Zajick, and Brian Asawa. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 37 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The 50 Greatest Tracks / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001922802 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Malcolm King,  Robert Lloyd  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Edward Downes  ... 
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  • 2.
    Renata Scotto And Placido Domingo Sing Romantic Opera Duets
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 195839 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod,  Umberto Giordano,  Pietro Mascagni
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Renata Scotto
    Conductor:  Kurt Herbert Adler
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  • 3.
    The Three Tenors At Christmas / Carreras, Pavarotti, Domingo
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001170002 Release Date: 10/14/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pietro Mascagni,  Richard Rodgers,  Charles Gounod,  Tommaso Giordani  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Sissel,  José Carreras,  Michael G. Gormley  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcello Viotti,  Vjekoslav Sutej,  Uwe Christian Harrer,  Piero Gamba  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Chorus Viennensis  ... 
    CD: $15.99
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  • 4.
    Pavarotti Forever / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001017002 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Teodoro Cottrau,  Tommaso Giordani,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  David Romano,  Frank Sinatra,  Andrea Bocelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Emerson Buckley,  Piero Gamba,  James Levine,  Oliviero de Fabritiis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    O Holy Night [11 Tracks]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4758383 Release Date: 09/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alessandro Stradella,  César Franck,  Saverio Mercadante,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    Conductor:  Kurt Herbert Adler
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  • 6.
    The Millennium Collection - Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Hip-o Records   Catalog: 000856702 Release Date: 04/03/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Teodoro Cottrau,  Ernesto De Curtis,  Tommaso Giordani,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Mirella Freni,  Henry Mancini
    Conductor:  Emerson Buckley,  Giancarlo Chiaramello,  Piero Gamba,  Leone Magiera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Wagner, Verdi, Beethoven, Etc / Borkh, Giulini, Welitsch
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 714061 Release Date: 01/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Gian Carlo Menotti,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Inge Borkh,  Otto van Rohr,  Otto Wiener,  Christo Bajew  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Rother,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Jean Fournet,  Hans Müller-Kray  ... 
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    CD: $14.99
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  • 8.
    The Ultimate Bride Guide
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000672102 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Stanley,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jean Joseph Mouret,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Hurford,  Simon Preston,  Bernhard Läubin,  Wolfgang Läubin  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik,  Arthur Fiedler,  Leonard Bernstein,  Ian Dean  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Michael Laird Brass Ensemble,  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $16.99
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  • 9.
    A Christmas Nativity
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000538902 Release Date: 10/11/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gloria Shayne Baker,  Michael Praetorius,  William J. Kirkpatrick,  Lewis H. Redner  ... 
    Performer:  Anthony Way,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Malcolm Martineau,  Bryn Terfel  ... 
    Conductor:  John Scott,  Richard Westenburg,  Richard Bonynge,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Trapp Family Singers  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 10.
    O Holy Night [Special Edition] / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000530102 Release Date: 10/11/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Franz Schubert,  Guida  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    Conductor:  István Kertész,  Leone Magiera,  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Piccolo Coro dell'Antoniano  ... 
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  • 11.
    The Ultimate Relaxation Christmas Album Ii
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000535502 Release Date: 10/11/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  James Pierpont,  Franz Schubert,  César Franck,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Stephen Cleobury,  Stephen Goss  ... 
    Conductor:  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani,  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Barry Rose,  George Guest  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Annunzio Paolo Mantovani Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $15.99
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  • 12.
    San Francisco Opera Gems Volume 2 / Merola, Et Al
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2287/89 Release Date: 02/22/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Richard Strauss,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Eleanor Steber,  Alessio De Paolis,  John Garris,  Mack Harrell  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Sebastian,  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Gaetano Merola
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Opera Orchestra,  San Francisco Opera Chorus
    On sale! $30.98
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  • 13.
    The # 1 Puccini Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000300702 Release Date: 08/10/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Renata Tebaldi,  Rolando Panerai,  Elizabeth Harwood  ... 
    Conductor:  Franco Capuana,  Herbert von Karajan,  Zubin Mehta,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 14.
    The Millennium Collection - Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000299302 Release Date: 08/03/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Puccini,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Mirella Freni,  Henry Mancini
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Armando Gatto,  Kurt Herbert Adler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Giancarlo Chiaramello  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 15.
    Masters Of The Voice - Soprano / Battle, Fleming, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000273702 Release Date: 07/13/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Leonard Bernstein,  Francesco Cilča,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  June Anderson,  Giovanni Foiani,  Silvio Maionica  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Leonard Bernstein,  Franco Capuana,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 16.
    The Essential Wedding Collection
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000233302 Release Date: 05/11/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Andrew Wright,  Francis Lai,  Bryan Adams,  Giorgio Moroder  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Peter Hurford,  Richard Farnes,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Conductor:  Nick Ingman,  Michael Kamen,  Julius Rudel,  Wyn Morris  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Seattle Symphony Orchestra,  Utah Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 17.
    Puccini: Opera Arias / Pavarotti, Freni, Sutherland, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000122702 Release Date: 10/14/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Bruno Prevedi,  Leona Mitchell,  Virginia Zeani,  Michel Sénéchal  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Franco Patanč,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 18.
    Famous Voices Of The Past - George London
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90543 Release Date: 06/24/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Rubinstein,  Richard Wagner,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
    Performer:  George London
    Conductor:  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Rudolf Moralt,  Max Schönherr,  Jean Paul Morel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 19.
    The #1 Wedding Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000027402 Release Date: 05/13/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  John Stanley,  Helen Guy,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Laird,  Peter Hurford,  Placido Domingo,  Wolfgang Marschner  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl-Heinz Loges,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Heinrich Steiner,  Roberto Benzi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Michael Laird Brass Ensemble,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 20.
    Essential Christmas - 30 Seasonal Favourites
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 473345 Release Date: 10/15/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gloria Shayne Baker,  Irving Berlin,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Anthony Way,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Simon Preston,  Renata Tebaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  John Scott,  Carl Davis,  Sir David Willcocks,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra,  London Voices  ... 
    On sale! $11.98
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  • 21.
    The Voice Of Christmas - Carreras, Ludwig, Von Otter, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 472569 Release Date: 10/15/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Cornelius,  George Frideric Handel,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Harvey Alan,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Leontyne Price,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Colin Davis,  Uwe Christian Harrer,  Carl Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 22.
    Rapture - Opera's Most Heavenly Moments
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471717 Release Date: 10/08/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Teresa Berganza,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Richard Bonynge,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 23.
    The Voice of Italy / Pavarotti, Freni, di Stefano...
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470829 Release Date: 04/09/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Umberto Giordano,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Manuel Ausensi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Giuseppe Di Stefano  ... 
    Conductor:  Silvio Varviso,  Leone Magiera,  Piero Gamba,  Franco Patanč  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Naples Rossini Orchestra,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 24.
    The Singers - Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467920 Release Date: 02/12/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Adolphe Adam  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Elizabeth Connell,  Eric Garrett
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Piero Gamba,  Zubin Mehta,  Kurt Herbert Adler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 25.
    The Pavarotti Edition
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470000 Release Date: 11/13/2001   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Antonio Caldara,  Vincenzo Ciampi,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Montserrat Caballé,  Jane Shaulis,  John Wustman  ... 
    Conductor:  István Kertész,  Piero Gamba,  Nicola Rescigno,  Peter Maag  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Opera Chorus  ... 
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