Ludwig Weber

Biography

Ludwig Weber was among the great basses of the twentieth century. His voluminous and beautiful voice, at once dark and imposing, was flexible enough to make him a superb Osmin, while its soaring top allowed him to fashion climaxes that were shattering in their impact. His soft singing, based on an unfailing legato, added a dimension to his art beyond that of many other singers, regardless of vocal register. He was a protean artist, menacing in Read more roles of villainous intent, while flooding the stage with an incomparable humanity in parts needing spiritual depth. During the post-WWII reopening season of the Bayreuth Festival, for example, he was both a warmly compassionate Gurnemanz in Parsifal and the very embodiment of implacable evil as Hagen in Götterdämmerung (both captured on recording).

Weber originally considered a career as a painter, but his splendid voice caused him to rethink that direction and concentrate on a career in music instead. In 1919, he began studies with Alfred Boruttau in Vienna and the following year he made his debut at the Vienna Volksoper as Fiorello in Rossini's Barbiere di Siviglia. In the 1920s, he sang at both Düsseldorf and Cologne before being engaged for the Munich Wagner Festival in 1931. His impressive voice and authoritative interpretations led to his engagement as a member of the Bayerische Staatsoper in 1933 and Weber spent nearly two decades in Munich singing many of the largest roles in the bass repertory. He sang the role of Holsteiner, Commandant of the Enemy Army in the 1938 premiere of Strauss' Friedenstag at Munich. From 1945 until his retirement, Weber was a member of the Vienna Staatsoper.

Beginning in 1936, Weber established an association with opera in London. His Pogner in the opening night Meistersinger (April 27) was found somewhat severe, but his noble voice and superb acting were found highly commendable. Two nights later, Weber's Gurnemanz drew from critic Ernest Newman the opinion that his performance was unsurpassable. In other Wagner operas, Weber was complimented for his powerful Hunding and for his "superbly Mephistophelean Hagen." The following year, Weber returned to add Daland and to repeat his King Marke in Tristan, singled out for its originality and depth. For the 1938 London season, Weber added his richly detailed Rocco in Fidelio and his slyly acted Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, singing the role with "consummate ease."

The Second World War made Weber unavailable to London for the duration, but he made a welcome return in 1947 with the Vienna Staatsoper, singing the Commendatore in Don Giovanni and Rocco. When he rejoined the London company (now the Royal Opera House) for the 1949 - 1950 season, it was to dominate the Ring with his superlative singing and acting.

During his years in Munich and Vienna, Weber's Baron Ochs in Rosenkavalier ripened to a level second only to Richard Mayr's and his Boris was legendary. At the Salzburg Festival in 1947, he was part of a star-studded cast in the premiere of Gottfried von Einem's Dantons Tod. It was at Bayreuth, however, that Weber found artistic immortality, blending his eminence and experience with Wieland Wagner's vision to create unsurpassed realizations of Wagner's bass roles.

While Weber's top and bottom registers remained virtually unimpaired until his retirement, increasing unsteadiness and wayward intonation plagued his middle voice. These old-age failings, however, cannot detract from Weber's reputation as an artist of the highest ranking. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 65 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Strauss / Krauss - Complete Decca Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002055302 Release Date: 06/17/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Pierre Fournier,  Ernst Moraweg,  Hermann Gallos,  Anton Dermota  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies / Leibowitz, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 121278 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ruth Siewert,  Inge Borkh,  Richard Lewis,  Ludwig Weber
    Conductor:  René Leibowitz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beecham Choral Society
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  • 3.
    Wagner: Parsifal / Knappertsbusch, Modl, Windgassen, London
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5161 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hermann Uhde,  Ludwig Weber,  George London,  Wolfgang Windgassen  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 4.
    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
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  • 5.
    Mozart: Die Zauberflote Highlights / Seefried, Lipp, Dermota, Kunz, Karajan
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1267 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Anton Dermota,  Wilma Lipp,  Ludwig Weber,  George London  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 / Furtwangler, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 851121 Release Date: 03/26/2013   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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  • 7.
    Rosenkavalier
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 3007 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Ludwig Weber,  Maria Reining,  Sena Jurinac,  Hilde Gueden
    Conductor:  Erich Kleiber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    Voices Of German Opera
    Label: Warner 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  ... 
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  • 10.
    Wagner: Tristan und Isolde / Vinay, Varnay, Malaniuk, Jochum
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9059 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Theo Adam,  Gerhard Stolze,  Hasso Eschert,  Ira Malaniuk  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 11.
    Beethoven: Fidelio / Bohm, Dermota, Modl, Schoffler, Kamann, Kmentt
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 81310 Release Date: 11/30/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Anton Dermota,  Paul Schöffler,  Martha Mödl,  Ludwig Weber  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 12.
    Schubert Lied-Edition Vol 4
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 40029 Release Date: 10/29/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Marian Anderson,  Karl Erb,  Kirsten Flagstad,  Joseph Schmidt  ... 
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  • 13.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Krauss, Hotter, Uhde, Stolze, Kuen, Greindl
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 809113 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Paul Kuen,  Gisela Litz,  Gerhard Stolze,  Hans Hotter  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 14.
    Wagner: The Complete Opera Collection / Bavarian State Opera, Bayreuth Festival, Badische Staatskapelle, Cagliari Theater...
    Label: Membran International Gmbh   Catalog: 233106 Release Date: 10/25/2010   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Franz Klarwein,  Luise Willer,  Viorica Ursuleac,  Georg Hann  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss,  Robert Heger,  Joseph Keilberth,  Günter Neuhold  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    Wagner: Das Rheingold - Bayreuth Festival Choir & Orchestra, Joseph Keilberth (3 Vinyl Lp Set)
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1390 Release Date: 09/01/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jutta Vulpius,  Hans Hotter,  Toni Blankenheim,  Gustav Neidlinger  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Keilberth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Wagner: Der Fliegende Hollander / Knappertsbusch, Weber, Varnay, Windgassen
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 692092 Release Date: 04/27/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ludwig Weber,  Astrid Varnay,  Elisabeth Schärtel,  Wolfgang Windgassen  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 17.
    Furtwangler Conducts Wagner's
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 914 Release Date: 03/25/2010   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Set Svanholm,  Kirsten Flagstad,  Max Lorenz,  Günther Treptow  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Wagner: Parsifal / Vinay, Modl, London, Krauss
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9060 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hermann Uhde,  Eugene Tobin,  Theo Adam,  Rita Streich  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 19.
    R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier / Kleiber, Reining
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001268102 Release Date: 03/31/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Hilde Gueden,  Sena Jurinac,  Alfred Poell,  Ludwig Weber  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kleiber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 20.
    The Record of Singing Vol 5 - From the LP to the Digital Era
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 28949 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Jacques Offenbach,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk,  Luciana Serra,  Neil Shicoff,  Alain Vanzo  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Sylvain Cambreling,  Georges Prêtre,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie Orchestra,  Paris Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 21.
    Collana Italia - Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde / Karajan, Vinay, Modl
    Label: Ds Classics   Catalog: 37502 Release Date: 12/05/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Gerhard Stolze,  Werner Faulhaber,  Gerhard Unger,  Ramon Vinay  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 22.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 365 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Ludwig Weber,  Martha Mödl,  Ramon Vinay
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Furtwängler, La Scala
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1501 Release Date: 02/26/2008   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hilde Konetzni,  Margret Weth-Falke,  Elisabeth Höngen,  Sieglinde Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Keilberth, Et Al
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1412 Release Date: 02/12/2008   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Gré Brouwenstijn,  Astrid Varnay,  Hans Hotter,  Ramon Vinay  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Keilberth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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    On sale! $206.98
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  • 25.
    Ludwig Weber - Recordings 1936-1951
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10272 Release Date: 07/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Richard Wagner,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Ludwig Weber,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
    Conductor:  Otto Ackermann,  Wilhelm Schüchter,  Rudolf Moralt,  Issay Dobrowen  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestra  ... 
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