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
Strauss: Daphne / Kleiber, Bampton, Weber, Kindermann, Et Al
Release Date: 10/26/1999   Label: Preiser Records  
Catalog: 90371   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Der Fliegende Hollander / Knappertsbusch, Weber, Varnay, Windgassen
Release Date: 04/27/2010   Label: Orfeo  
Catalog: 692092   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 26-50 of 55 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Wagner: Gotterdammerung Act Ii, Etc / Beecham, Et Al
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2311 Release Date: 02/28/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Kerstin Thorborg,  Frida Leider,  Rudolf Laubenthal,  Friedrich Schorr  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Leo Blech
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 27.
    Historical - Mozart: Die Zauberflöte / Karajan, Dermota
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 36769 Release Date: 01/10/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Irmgard Seefried,  Erich Kunz,  Anton Dermota,  Ludwig Weber  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
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  • 28.
    Richard Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten / Böhm, Rysanek
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 668053 Release Date: 11/29/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Judith Hellwig,  Leonie Rysanek,  Elisabeth Höngen,  Hans Hopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 29.
    Vienna Opera Festival 1955 / Böhm, Kubelik, Reiner, Knappertsbusch
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 666053 Release Date: 11/29/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Alban Berg,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Reining,  Hilde Gueden,  Sena Jurinac,  Christel Goltz  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Karl Böhm,  Fritz Reiner,  Rafael Kubelik
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  • 30.
    Wagner: Der Fliegende Holländer / Knappertsbusch, Varney
    Label: Urania Records   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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  • 31.
    Strauss: Salome / Krauss, Goltz, Patzak, Braun, Vienna PO
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4756087 Release Date: 08/10/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Christel Goltz,  Herbert Alzen,  Hermann Gallos,  Anton Dermota  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 32.
    Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde / Karajan, Vinay, Modl
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 603033 Release Date: 07/06/2004   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ludwig Weber,  Martha Mödl,  Hans Hotter,  Ramon Vinay  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
    Recommendation
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  • 33.
    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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  • 34.
    Famous Basses Of The Past Vol 2
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89943 Release Date: 12/30/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Peter Cornelius,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Italo Tajo,  Gottlob Frick,  Cesare Siepi,  Raphäel Arié  ... 
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  • 35.
    Richard Strauss - Prima Donnas
    Label: Rca Victor Special Imports   Catalog: 69427 Release Date: 11/18/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Christa Ludwig,  Erich Kunz,  Reri Grist,  Dame Gwyneth Jones  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Heinz Wallberg,  Karl Böhm,  Joseph Keilberth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Mozart: Die Zauberflöte / Karajan, Lipp, Jurinac, Et Al
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 197 Release Date: 05/20/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Wilma Lipp,  Anton Dermota,  Ludwig Weber,  George London  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
    On sale! $34.98
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  • 37.
    50 Years Of Mozart Singing On Record
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 63750 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Mariano Stabile,  Luise Helletsgruber,  Tito Gobbi,  Charles Santley  ... 
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  • 38.
    Les Introuvables Du Chant Wagnèrien
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 64008 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Emanuel List,  Fritz Wolff,  Alexander Kipnis,  Lauritz Melchior  ... 
    Conductor:  Eduard Mörike,  Siegfried Wagner,  Robert Heger,  Leo Blech  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Berlin Staatskapelle Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 39.
    Prinzregenten Theater - Wagner: Werke / Knote, Kappel, Et Al
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89305 Release Date: 04/09/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Pietro Mascagni,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Friedrich Brodersen,  Ludwig Weber,  Hans Hopf,  Lorenz Fehenberger  ... 
    On sale! $69.98
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  • 40.
    Legends - Mozart: Requiem / Horenstein, Lipp, Weber, Et Al
    Label: Vox Classics   Catalog: 7811 Release Date: 10/16/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Wilma Lipp,  Elisabeth Höngen,  Murray Dickie,  Ludwig Weber
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Friends of Music Society Chorus
    CD: $9.99
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  • 41.
    Einem: Dantons Tod / Schoffler, Patzak, Cebolari, Fricsay
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1316 Release Date: 10/02/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gottfried von Einem
    Performer:  Wilhelm Felden,  William Wernigk,  Julius Patzak,  Maria Cebotari  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Wagner: Parsifal Act Iii / Knappertsbusch, Weber, Et Al
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1067 Release Date: 10/24/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Reinmar,  Elsa Larcén,  Carl Hartmann,  Hans Wocke  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
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  • 43.
    Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov Highlights / Ludwig Weber, Et Al
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90380 Release Date: 01/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Fritz Krauss,  Ludwig Weber,  Max Osswald,  Emma Mayer  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Leonhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Reichssenders Orchestra,  Stuttgart Reichssenders Chorus
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 44.
    Wagner: Der Fliegende Holländer / Leonhardt, Teschemacher
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90132 Release Date: 11/23/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Sven Nilsson,  Torsten Ralf,  Margarete Teschemacher,  Hans Hermann Nissen  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm,  Hans Weisbach,  Carl Leonhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden State Opera Chorus,  Sächsische Staatskapelle,  Leipzig Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $40.98
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  • 45.
    Strauss: Daphne / Kleiber, Bampton, Weber, Kindermann, Et Al
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90371 Release Date: 10/26/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Ludwig Weber,  Lydia Kindermann,  Rose Bampton,  Anton Dermota  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kleiber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buenos Aires Teatro Colón Orchestra,  Buenos Aires Teatro Colón Chorus
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  • 46.
    Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier / Erich Kleiber
    Label: London/Decca Historic Series   Catalog: 425950 Release Date: 05/25/1999   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Maria Reining,  Sena Jurinac,  Erich Majkut,  Ludwig Weber  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kleiber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Ludwig Weber - Opera Arias
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1171 Release Date: 05/01/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Wagner,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Ludwig Weber,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Torsten Ralf,  Dagmar Hermann
    Conductor:  Felix Prohaska,  Issay Dobrowen,  Wilhelm Schüchter,  Otto Ackermann  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Wiener Opernlieblinge Von Seinerzeit / Güden, Kunz, Et Al
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90345 Release Date: 02/09/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Hilde Konetzni,  Herbert Alsen,  Luise Willer,  Ludwig Weber  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Rudolf Moralt,  Clemens Krauss,  Hanns Steinkopf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 49.
    Wiener Staatsoper Live - Mozart: Don Giovanni / Böhm, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 57737 Release Date: 11/24/1998   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Walter Berry,  Anton Dermota,  Irmgard Seefried,  Sena Jurinac  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 50.
    Mozart: Requiem / Horenstein, Lipp, Dickie, Höngen, Et Al
    Label: Tuxedo Music   Catalog: 1051 Release Date: 11/01/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Wilma Lipp,  Murray Dickie,  Ludwig Weber,  Elisabeth Höngen
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Academy Chamber Choir
    On sale! $13.98
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