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Wolfgang Windgassen

Biography

Born: June 26, 1914; Annamasse, France   Died: September 8, 1974; Stuttgart, Germany  
The most important singer of the German Heldentenor repertory in the 1950s and 1960s, Wolfgang Windgassen employed his not-quite-heroic instrument, believable physique, and considerable musical intelligence to forge memorable performances on-stage and in the recording studio. Although his voice lacked the sensuous appeal of Melchior's or Völker's, it was never unattractive and never employed to obvious effect. Indeed, it conveyed a youthfulness Read more that suited the young Siegfried especially well. Born to German parents, both of them singers, in French Savoy, Windgassen began his vocal studies with his father Fritz. He later continued his training with Alfons Fischer and Maria Raznow at the Stuttgart Conservatory. The tenor made his debut as Alvaro in La forza del destino at Pforzheim in 1941. In 1945, he joined the Württembergisches Staatstheater in Stuttgart, steadily moving from lyric roles to more heroic parts; he remained a singer there until 1972. Upon making his debut in the first postwar season at Bayreuth in 1951, he came to international attention. His Parsifal, growing from uncomprehending innocence to maturity and service, was a moving portrayal and was recorded live by Decca Records. Windgassen became indispensable at the Bayreuth Festival, excelling as Lohengrin, the two Siegfrieds, Tannhäuser, and Tristan. There, he earned the respect and devotion of the three leading dramatic sopranos of the age: Martha Mödl, Astrid Varnay, and Birgit Nilsson. Elsewhere, Windgassen made positive impressions at La Scala (where he debuted as Florestan in 1952), Paris (Parsifal in 1954), and Covent Garden, where he appeared as Tristan in 1954. Although regarded by English critics as somewhat light of voice for Wagner's heaviest tenor roles, his lyric expression and dramatic aptness were wholly admired. The Metropolitan Opera briefly heard him as Siegmund beginning in January 1957 (a role rather low for him) and as Siegfried. Windgassen did not return to America until 1970, when he sang Tristan to the Isolde of Nilsson at San Francisco. Beginning that same year, he turned to stage direction. Among Windgassen's finest recordings are his Bayreuth Parsifal, captured with a superb cast under Knappertsbusch's direction, his 1954 Bayreuth Lohengrin under Jochum, his Siegfrieds under both Böhm at Bayreuth and in the studio with Solti, and his Bayreuth Tristan with Böhm conducting and Nilsson as his Isolde. Read less
Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen / Varnay, Hotter, Windgassen, Krauss
Release Date: 01/22/2013   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1504   Number of Discs: 14
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Browse 51-75 of 78 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Paperback Opera - Wagner: Flying Dutchman / Fricsay, Et Al
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 20036 Release Date: 03/29/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Anneliese Kupper,  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Sieglinde Wagner,  Ernst Haefliger  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
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  • 52.
    Wagner: Der Fliegende Holländer / Knappertsbusch, Varney
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 271 Release Date: 03/01/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Josef Traxel,  Astrid Varnay,  Hermann Uhde  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 53.
    Original Masters - Grace Bumbry - Early Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4775250 Release Date: 02/08/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner,  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Sebastian Peschko,  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Erik Werba  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Maurice Abravanel,  Hans Löwlein,  János Kulka  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Utah Symphony Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 54.
    Wagner: Tannhäuser / Cluytens, Fischer-dieskau, Windgassen
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 643043 Release Date: 10/26/2004   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Toni Blankenheim,  Gerhard Stolze,  Alfons Herwig,  Volker Horn  ... 
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Schöneberg Boys Choir
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  • 55.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 9 / Furtwängler, Bayreuth Festival
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1127 Release Date: 01/27/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Gré Brouwenstijn,  Ira Malaniuk,  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Ludwig Weber
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 56.
    Original Masters - Astrid Varnay
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000085702 Release Date: 08/12/2003   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Astrid Varnay,  Hertha Töpper,  Wolfgang Windgassen
    Conductor:  Hermann Weigert,  Leopold Ludwig,  Ferdinand Leitner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 57.
    Wagner: Tannhauser / Windgassen, Nilsson, Fischer-Dieskau, Gerdes
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471708 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Adelheide Tettenborn,  Birgit Nilsson,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Wolfgang Windgassen  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Gerdes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
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  • 58.
    Wagner: Das Rheingold / Bohm, Windgassen, Adam
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 412475 Release Date: 05/08/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Gustav Neidlinger,  Annelies Burmeister,  Martti Talvela,  Kurt Böhme  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 59.
    Wagner: Parsifal - Bayreuth 1952 / Knappertsbusch, London
    Label: Melodram   Catalog: 10051 Release Date: 11/27/2001   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Hermann Uhde,  Martha Mödl,  Karl Terkal  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 60.
    Golden - Wagner: Tannhauser / Suitner, Rysanek, Et Al
    Label: Melodram   Catalog: 10050 Release Date: 09/25/2001   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Martti Talvela,  Barbro Ericson,  Leonie Rysanek,  Eberhard Wächter  ... 
    Conductor:  Otmar Suitner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 61.
    Seine Letzten Aufnahmen - Georg Hann
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90462 Release Date: 08/28/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Cornelius,  Carl Loewe,  Karl Millöcker,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Carl Hoppe,  Lorenz Fehenberger,  Georg Hann,  Ferdinand Leitner  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Heger,  Edmund Josef Nick,  Walther Knör,  Ferdinand Leitner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich State Opera Chorus,  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 62.
    Recitals - An Evening With Birgit Nilsson Vol 1
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 2033 Release Date: 09/12/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Birgit Nilsson,  Hermann Uhde,  Astrid Varnay  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 63.
    Merit - Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Knappertsbusch
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 4009 Release Date: 04/25/2000   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Josef Greindl,  Hans Hotter,  Gré Brouwenstijn  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 64.
    Great Tenors Of The Century - Cura, Seiffert, Alagna, Et Al
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 429403 Release Date: 03/07/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Enrico Caruso,  Joseph Schmidt,  Helge Rosvaenge  ... 
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  • 65.
    Wagner: Parsifal / Knappertsbusch, Bayreuth Festival 1963
    Label: Melodram   Catalog: 10034 Release Date: 07/27/1999   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Gustav Neidlinger,  Irene Dalis  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 66.
    The Tenors Of The Century
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 459362 Release Date: 01/12/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  José Ximénez,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Luigi Alva,  Renato Cesari,  José Carreras,  Francisco Araiza  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Daniel Garcia Blanco,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 67.
    Wagner: Tannhauser / Sawallisch, Windgassen, De Los Angeles
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1172 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Gerhard Stolze,  Georg Paskuda,  Franz Crass,  Wolfgang Windgassen  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 68.
    Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde / Sawallisch, Bayreuth, Et Al
    Label: Melodram   Catalog: 10020 Release Date: 08/25/1998   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Hans Hotter,  Arnold Van Mill,  Grace Hoffman  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 69.
    Christel Goltz Singt
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90123 Release Date: 07/04/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Strauss,  Hermann Goetz  ... 
    Performer:  Christel Goltz,  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Hetty Plümacher
    Conductor:  Robert Heger,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Sir Georg Solti,  Arthur Rother
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Orchestra,  Württemberg State Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Wagner: Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg / Cluytens, Et Al
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1011 Release Date: 03/17/1998   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Alexander Fenyves,  Eugen Fuchs  ... 
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 71.
    Wagner: Tristan und Isolde / Böhm, Nilsson, Windgassen
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 449772 Release Date: 11/11/1997   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Christa Ludwig,  Birgit Nilsson,  Martti Talvela  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 72.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Solti, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 455555 Release Date: 10/14/1997   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Helga Dernesch,  Berit Lindholm,  Marilyn Tyler,  Vera Schlosser  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 73.
    Wagner: Gotterdammerung / Solti, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 455569 Release Date: 10/14/1997   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Anita Välkki,  Grace Hoffman,  Helen Watts,  Gottlob Frick  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $72.49
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  • 74.
    Wagner: Siegfried / Solti, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 455564 Release Date: 10/14/1997   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marga Höffgen,  Kurt Böhme,  Gustav Neidlinger  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $141.49
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  • 75.
    Wagner: The Ring / Knappertsbusch, 1956 Bayreuth Festival
    Label: Melodram   Catalog: 1001 Release Date: 12/17/1996   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hermann Uhde,  Hans Hotter,  Alfons Herwig,  Josef Traxel  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
    On sale! $320.98
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