Opera Scotland

Fritz Wunderlich Suggest updates

Born Kusel, 26 September 1930.

Died Heidelberg, 17 September 1966.

German tenor.

The brevity of Wunderlich's ten-year career does not prevent him being ranked as one of the greatest lyric tenors in the Mozart and Germanic repertoire since the war. He died as the result of an accident a few days after returning home from his last visit to Edinburgh.

His family background was musical and he studied at Freiburg, singing with the Freiburg Bach Choir and helping to fund his studies by directing a dance band. His first student performance, in 1954, was as Tamino, and it remained a signature role throughout his career. He was under contract at the Stuttgart opera from 1955 to 1958, making his British debut with that company before he transferred to Frankfurt. The rest of his career from 1960 to 1966 saw him attached to the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. Regular appearances followed at Salzburg from 1959 onwards, making his debut as Henry in Die schweigsame Frau. He was particularly noted as a Mozart stylist, but sang other lyric roles including Lensky and the title role in Palestrina. There were also frequent appearances in operetta, concerts and lieder recitals.

He worked frequently in Vienna, as well as returning to Stuttgart, and made guest appearances with many of the major European houses. Apart from his three visits to the Edinburgh Festival, his only other operatic appearance in Britain came in 1965, when he sang Don Ottavio at Covent Garden.

He created roles in two major operas, Tiresias in Oedipus der Tyrann (Orff 1959) and Christoph in Die Verlobung in San Domingo (Egk 1963) .

Fortunately there are a number of recordings, of which the most notable are perhaps Belmonte, Tamino and Kronthal . He also showed a talent for operetta.  There is an excellent recording of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde in which he sings with Christa Ludwig and the Philharmonia Orchestra under Otto Klemperer.

Roles in Scotland

Baron Kronthal a young widower, the Countess's brother
Wildschütz 1958
Belmonte a Spanish aristocrat
Entführung aus dem Serail 1958
Tristan und Isolde 1958
Ferrando a young army officer
Così fan tutte 1965
Tamino a Prince
Zauberflöte 1966

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