Clemens Heinrich Krauss (31 March 1893 –16 May 1954) was an Austrian conductor and opera impresario, particularly associated with the music of Richard Strauss.
Krauss was born in Vienna to Clementine Krauss, then a 15-year-old dancer in the Vienna Imperial Opera Ballet, later a leading actress and operetta singer, niece of the prominent nineteenth-century operatic soprano Gabrielle Krauss. His natural father, Chevalier Hector Baltazzi (1851-1916),came from a family of wealthy Phanariot bankers resident in Vienna. Baltazzi's older sister Helene was married to Baron Albin Vetsera and was the mother of Baroness Mary Vetsera, who was accordingly Clemens Krauss' first cousin.
Krauss sang in the Hofkapelle (Imperial Choir) as a Vienna Choir Boy. He graduated from the Vienna Conservatory in 1912, after studying composition with Hermann Graedener and theory with Richard Heuberger there. He was then appointed chorus master in the Brno Theater (1912-1913), where he made his conducting debut in 1913. The famous Romanian soprano Viorica Ursuleac, who often sang under him, became his second wife.
Krauss made the rounds of regional centers, conducting in Riga (1913-1914), Nuremberg (1915) and Stettin (1916-1921) (formerly part of Pomerania in Germany; now part of Poland). The latter appointment gave him ample opportunity to travel to Berlin to hear Arthur Nikisch conduct the Berlin Philharmonic, a major influence. He then returned to Austria as director of the opera and symphony concerts in Graz. In 1922, he joined the conducting staff of the Vienna State Opera and teacher of the conducting class in the Vienna Singakademie. He conducted the Vienna Tonkünstler concerts from 1923 to 1927, and was Intendant of the opera in Frankfurt and director of the Museum concerts there from 1924 to 1929.
He guest-conducted in the United States in 1929, with the Philadelphia Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. Also in 1929, he was appointed director of the Vienna State Opera. Its orchestra, which was part of the independent concert entity known as the Vienna Philharmonic, appointed him its music director in 1930. He was a regular conductor at the Salzburg Festival from 1926 to 1934, where in 1930 he conducted Alban Berg's avant-garde atonal opera Wozzeck .
Krauss gave up his Vienna positions in 1933-34 to direct the Berlin State Opera in 1935 after Erich Kleiber had resigned in protest against Nazi policies. In 1933, he took over the preparations for the premieres of Richard Strauss's opera Arabella after the departure of conductor Fritz Busch (another non-Jewish anti-Nazi).Krauss's own position on Nazism was unclear, although he did enjoy a close relationship with Nazi official Alfred Frauenfeld and it has been claimed that he sought Nazi Party membership in 1933. However, throughout the 1930s he and his wife were involved in helping Jews escape from Germany. After befriending British novelist Ida Cook and her sister Mary, both opera fans, he gave cover to their smuggling operation (started after Viorica asked the Cooks to assist a Jewish friend). Munich Opera House shows were arranged around the times and cities that the Cooks needed to make contact with escapees.
In 1937, he was appointed Intendant of the National Theatre Munich following Hans Knappertsbusch's resignation. He became a close friend of Strauss, and even wrote the libretto for his opera Capriccio which he premiered in Munich in 1942. He also conducted the premieres of Strauss's operas Friedenstag and Die Liebe der Danae . During the early 1940s, he taught at the Mozarteum University of Salzburg where among his pupils was composer Roman Toi.
After the Munich opera house had been destroyed by Allied bombing, Krauss returned to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in 1944-45 until it ceased activities shortly before the end of World War II. After the war, Allied officials investigated his career and forbade him from appearing in public until 1947,[ citation needed ] when it emerged that he had helped Jews escape from the Third Reich. Krauss then resumed conducting many of the Vienna Philharmonic's concerts, including its famous annual New Year's Day pops concerts featuring Johann and Josef Strauss waltzes, overtures and polkas, many of which were recorded for Decca along with other studio recordings of mostly Johann, Josef and Richard Strauss.
He conducted opera at Covent Garden in London starting in 1951, and at the 1953 Bayreuth Festival (including an impressive Wagner Ring cycle now available on CD, starring Astrid Varnay as Brunnhilde). He also recorded a highly regarded Parsifal at Bayreuth, starring Martha Mödl as Kundry, in 1953, at the height of Mödl's brief prime.
He died in 1954 while on tour with the Vienna Philharmonic in Mexico City, and is buried alongside his wife, singer Viorica Ursuleac, who died in 1985, in Ehrwald, Austria.
Krauss made relatively few recordings; but his amiable, spirited 1950 Decca rendition of Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus , with the Vienna Philharmonic and State Opera star soloists (not including any of the dialogue; only the second complete recording after a pre–World War I acoustical 78 set made in Berlin), is still regarded by many as the best, most authentic and most "gemütlich." His 1953 live performance of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle from Bayreuth is highly regarded. A performance with the Vienna Symphony of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy , reissued on more than one inexpensive label since its original appearance on a Vox LP, is also one of the few recordings featuring pianist Friedrich Wührer. All three have been reissued on compact disc.
Richard Georg Strauss was a German composer, conductor, pianist, and violinist. Considered a leading composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras, he has been described as a successor of Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt. Along with Gustav Mahler, he represents the late flowering of German Romanticism after Wagner, in which pioneering subtleties of orchestration are combined with an advanced harmonic style.
Bruno Walter was a German-born conductor, pianist and composer. Born in Berlin, he left Germany in 1933 to escape the Third Reich, was naturalized as a French citizen in 1938, and settled in the United States in 1939. He worked closely with Gustav Mahler, whose music he helped to establish in the repertory, held major positions with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Salzburg Festival, Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Staatsoper Unter den Linden and Deutsche Oper Berlin, among others, made recordings of historical and artistic significance, and is widely considered to be one of the great conductors of the 20th century.
The Vienna Philharmonic, founded in 1842, is an orchestra considered to be one of the finest in the world.
Erich Kleiber was an Austrian conductor and a composer.
Carlos Kleiber was a German-born Austrian conductor who is widely regarded as being among the greatest conductors of all time.
Lorin Varencove Maazel was an American conductor, violinist and composer. He began conducting at the age of eight and by 1953 had decided to pursue a career in music. He had established a reputation in the concert halls of Europe by 1960 but, by comparison, his career in the U.S. progressed far more slowly. However, he would later be appointed music director of The Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic, among other posts. Maazel was well-regarded in baton technique and possessed a photographic memory for scores. Described as mercurial and forbidding in rehearsal, he mellowed in old age.
Willi Boskovsky was an Austrian violinist and conductor, best known as the long-standing conductor of the Vienna New Year's Concert.
Hans Hotter was a German operatic bass-baritone. He was extremely tall and his appearance was striking. His voice and diction were equally recognisable.
Hans Knappertsbusch was a German conductor, best known for his performances of the music of Richard Wagner, Anton Bruckner and Richard Strauss as well as his unique public persona and conducting style. To this day, his interpretations of the works of Wagner, especially Parsifal, are regarded by many as among the best of the 20th century.
Josef Alois Krips was an Austrian conductor and violinist.
Joseph Keilberth was a German conductor who specialised in opera.
Christian Thielemann is a German conductor. He is Chief Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival.
Viorica Ursuleac was a Romanian operatic soprano. Viorica Ursuleac was born the daughter of a Greek Orthodox archdeacon, in Chernivtsi, which is now in Ukraine. Following training in Vienna, she made her operatic debut in Zagreb (Agram), as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther, in 1922. The soprano then appeared at the Vienna Volksoper (1924–26), Frankfurt Opera (1926–30), Vienna State Opera (1930–35), Berlin State Opera (1935–37), and Bavarian State Opera (1937–44). She married the Austrian conductor Clemens Krauss in Frankfurt during her time there.
Friedenstag is an opera in one act by Richard Strauss, his Opus 81 and TrV 271, to a German libretto by Joseph Gregor. The opera was premiered at Munich on 24 July 1938 and dedicated to Viorica Ursuleac and her husband Clemens Krauss, the lead and conductor respectively. Strauss had intended Friedenstag as part of a double-bill, to be conducted by Karl Böhm in Dresden, that would include as the second part his next collaboration with Gregor, Daphne. The opera thematically expresses anti-war sentiments, which William Mann has described as "a determined counter to the militaristic policies of Nazi Germany". These caused the work to be shelved after the outbreak of World War II.
Eberhard Freiherr von Waechter was an Austrian baritone celebrated for his performances in the operas of Mozart, Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. After retiring from singing, he became intendant of the Vienna Volksoper and the Vienna State Opera.
Julius Patzak was an Austrian tenor distinguished in operatic and concert work. He was particularly noted in Mozart, Beethoven and in early 20th-century German repertoire.
Georgine von Milinkovič was a Croatian operatic mezzo-soprano of Czech birth, particularly associated with Wagner and Strauss roles.
Artur Martin Rother was a German conductor who worked mainly in the opera house.
Alfred Jerger was an Austrian operatic bass-baritone, who began his career as a conductor of operettas, and was also an interim director of the Vienna State Opera and a professor of the Vienna Music Academy. He appeared at the Salzburg Festival from 1922 to 1959, and created the leading role of Mandryka in Arabella by Richard Strauss, among others.
Adele Kern real name Adele Kern-Klein was a German operatic and operetta coloratura soprano. She was known for her technical perfection and joy of playing. From 1927 to 1935 she sang at the Salzburg Festival as well as at the state operas of Vienna, Berlin and Munich.
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Herbert von Karajan