Hans Hotter

Biography

Born: January 19, 1909   Died: December 6, 2003   Country: Germany  
Hans Hotter was one of the twentieth century's greatest singing actors. Indeed, he was often compared to the Russian bass-baritone Feodor Chaliapin in histrionic ability as well as vocal endowment. Like the Russian, he was tall, able to bring the authority of his six feet four inch frame to the Wagnerian roles in which he came to specialize. After the retirement of Friedrich Schorr in 1943, Hotter came to be considered the supreme Wotan in Read more Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung tetrology.

Hotter trained as an organist and choirmaster, but found his vocal gifts pushing him in the direction of a singing career. He made his debut as the Speaker in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the age of 20 in the small theatre at Opava. Following contracts in Prague, Breslau, and Hamburg, he was invited to Munich in 1938 and remained associated with that company for much of his subsequent career. In Munich, he came in close contact with composer Richard Strauss who, much impressed with Hotter's singing and acting, composed three roles specifically for him, beginning with the Commandant in Friedenstag (Freedom's Day) which had its premiere in Munich in 1938. Following that, Strauss wrote for Hotter the part of Jupiter in Die Liebe der Danae (The Love of Danae). Hotter sang the dress rehearsal for a much-delayed production at Salzburg just before all theatres were closed in 1944. In Capriccio, Strauss' final opera, Hotter appeared as Olivier at the 1942 premiere.

With the cessation of World War II hostilities, Hotter's career took him abroad, first to London in 1947 where, among other roles, he performed Wotan in stagings given in English; he remained a revered artist in England for as long as his long career continued. In 1950, he made an impressive debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera as the protagonist in Wagner's Fliegende Holländer. His immense voice and baleful appearance made a profound effect upon both critics and audiences as yet more comparisons to Chaliapin were invoked. After only a few seasons, however, his Met career came to a halt when general manager Rudolf Bing sought to steer him in the direction of secondary parts. The rest of the opera world was only too happy to hear him perform the great Wagnerian and Strauss roles in which he was incomparable and he was a welcome guest in San Francisco and Chicago.

Vienna was one of several European venues to benefit from his appearances in roles he seldom undertook in the United States. Roles such as Don Basilio in Barbiere di Siviglia and King Phillip in Verdi's Don Carlo were two especially memorable interpretations.

Throughout the 1950s and on through the last of his public appearances in 1972, Hotter's voice was increasingly prone to unsteadiness at full volume. Acute hay fever bedeviled him during summer engagements such as those at the Bayreuth Festival. Still, his performances remained riveting even in vocal decline and Georg Solti chose him for his Ring recording even after he was significantly past his prime.

While better known as an operatic personality, Hotter was a magnificent interpreter of German lieder (he in fact enjoyed performing this music more than opera) and made many recordings of the repertory over a three-decade span. His interpretive genius and ability to scale back his huge voice suited this kind of singing superbly, and the reissue on CD of his best song recordings has won the enthusiasm of a new generation of followers. Read less
Browse 1-23 of 23 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Richard Wagner: Die Walkure / Knappertsbusch, Bayreuth
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 247 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Astrid Varnay,  Hans Hotter,  Jon Vickers,  Leonie Rysanek  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 2.
    Karajan 1947-1958: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms - Choral Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633629 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Nicolai Gedda,  Marga Höffgen,  Heinz Rehfuss  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 3.
    Karajan: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, R. Strauss, Opera Arias - 1946-1949
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633618 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Leopold Wlach,  Julius Patzak,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Elisabeth Höngen  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Friends of Music Chorus
    CD: $64.49
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  • 4.
    Richard Strauss: Complete Operas
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002013902 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 33
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Anneliese Rothenberger,  Cäcilie Reich,  Eva Maria Rogner,  Ira Malaniuk  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Keilberth,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Karl Böhm,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
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    On sale! $259.98
    CD: $225.99
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  • 5.
    Strauss: The Great Operas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 3179923 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Gerd Nienstedt,  José Van Dam,  Agnes Baltsa,  Horst Nitsche  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Rudolf Kempe,  Marek Janowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $110.98
    CD: $84.49
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  • 6.
    Wilhelm Furtwangler Conducts Brahms Vol. 2
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6674 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 100615 Release Date: 11/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Boris Christoff,  Ira Malaniuk,  Vito Susca  ... 
    Conductor:  Lovro von Matacic,  Armando La Rosa Parodi
    On sale! $30.99
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  • 8.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Clemens Krauss
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 999791 Release Date: 11/01/2013   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Erich Witte,  Gisela Litz,  Josef Greindl,  Ira Malaniuk  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
    CD: $97.49
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  • 9.
    Grandioso! - Great Verdi Recordings From Caruso To Pavarotti [7 CD-Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001928802 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Sándor Kónya,  Maria Németh,  Renata [Soprano vocal] Tebaldi,  Ebe Stignani  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay,  János Kulka,  Alberto Erede,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
    On sale! $49.98
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  • 10.
    Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde / Karajan, Vinay, Modl, Hotter, Vinay
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2012131 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ludwig Weber,  Martha Mödl,  Hans Hotter,  Ramon Vinay  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
    CD: $22.49
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  • 11.
    Schoenberg: Gurre-lieder / Mehta, Lakes, Marton, Quivar
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802190 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg
    Performer:  Florence Quivar,  Eva Martón,  Hans Hotter,  Jon Garrison  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Choral Artists,  New York Philharmonic
    CD: $17.99
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  • 12.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22365 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Ira Malaniuk,  Martha Mödl,  Ramon Vinay  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    On sale! $35.98
    CD: $28.99
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  • 13.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22316 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Maria von Ilosvay,  Hans Hotter,  Josef Greindl,  Georgine von Milinkovic  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    On sale! $35.98
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  • 14.
    Great Wagner Singers [6-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001826302 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Sieglinde Wagner,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Gundula Janowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Heinrich Hollreiser,  Wilhelm Pitz,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Richard Kraus  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 15.
    Wagner at The Met
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 542717 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Karin Branzell,  Lauritz Melchior,  Kirsten Flagstad,  Emanuel List  ... 
    Conductor:  Artur Bodanzky,  George Szell,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Fritz Reiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Richard Wagner - Great Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 543504 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ben Heppner,  Deborah Voigt,  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  Birgitta Svendén  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Marek Janowski,  Joseph Keilberth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $28.49
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  • 17.
    Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen / Varnay, Hotter, Windgassen, Krauss
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1504 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Josef Greindl,  Astrid Varnay  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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    On sale! $73.98
    CD: $68.99
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  • 18.
    Wagner: Complete Operas [43-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001786402 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Don Garrard,  Elisabeth Gale,  Della Jones,  April Cantelo  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Heinrich Hollreiser,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Northern Symphony,  BBC Northern Singers,  Leipzig Radio Chorus  ... 
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    CD: $129.99
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  • 19.
    Gustav Klimt: Musik Seiner Epoche
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 170286 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alban Berg,  Franz Lehár,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Kathryn Harvey,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Gerald Moore,  Frederick Thurston  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter,  Walter Goehr,  Otto Klemperer,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Zurich Radio Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 20.
    Solti: The Legacy, 1937-1997
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001777802 Release Date: 12/04/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Benjamin Britten,  Umberto Giordano,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Tito Gobbi,  Mirella Freni,  Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 21.
    Mozart 111 [55-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001766872 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Emil Gilels,  Elena Gilels,  Maurizio Pollini  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  James Levine,  Herbert von Karajan,  Marc Minkowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 22.
    Beethoven - The Orchestral Recordings / Otto Klemperer
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 404275 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Aase Nordmo-Lövberg,  Waldemar Kmentt,  Hans Hotter,  Christa Ludwig  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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    On sale! $55.98
    CD: $46.99
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  • 23.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Solti, Vienna Philharmonic [Deluxe 19-Disc Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001745502 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 19
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Birgit Nilsson,  Kirsten Flagstad,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
    On sale! $299.98
    CD: $234.99
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  • 24.
    Solti Conducts The Wagner Operas [36-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001746302 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 36
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Werner Krenn,  Isola Jones,  Janis Martin  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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    CD: $167.99
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  • 25.
    Voices Of German Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40497 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Heinrich Marschner  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Edda Moser,  Kurt Moll,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Langrée,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Berislav Klobucar,  Rudolf Moralt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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