Richard Tauber on a cigarette card
16 May 1891
|Died||8 January 1948 56) (aged|
|Occupation||Opera singer, actor|
Richard Tauber (16 May 1891 – 8 January 1948)was an Austrian tenor and film actor.
Richard Tauber was born in Linz, Austria, to Elisabeth Seifferth (née Denemy), a widow and an actress who played soubrette roles at the local theatre, and Richard Anton Tauber, an actor; his parents were not married and his father was reportedly unaware of the birth as he was touring North America at the time. The child was given the name Richard Denemy (Denemy was his mother's maiden name); he was sometimes known as [Carl] Richard Tauber,and also used his mother's married name, Seiffert; but the claim by the Encyclopædia Britannica that he was ever known as Ernst Seiffert has no support from any of the 12 published books and monographs about him listed in Daniel O'Hara's comprehensive Richard Tauber Chronology. After he was adopted by his father in 1913, his legal name became Richard Denemy-Tauber.
Tauber accompanied his mother on tour to theatres, but she found it increasingly difficult to cope, and left him with foster-parents in Urfahr, now a suburb of Linz. In 1897–98 he was sent to school in Linz, and then his father took over his upbringing, moving him to Graz, Prague, Berlin, Salzburg and finally Wiesbaden.His father, who was born Jewish, but had converted to Roman Catholicism, hoped that young Tauber would become a priest. The boy missed the excitement of the theatre and instead joined his father in Prague and, subsequently, in 1903 at the theatre in Wiesbaden. Tauber hoped to become a singer but failed to impress any of the teachers he auditioned for, probably because he chose to sing Wagner, for which his voice was not suited. His father entered him at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt to study piano, composition and conducting. He made rapid progress but he still hoped to become a singer.
After an intense period of vocal training under Carl Beines, he made his public debut at a concert at Freiburg on 17 May 1912. That year his father was appointed Intendant of the Municipal Theatre in Chemnitz and was therefore in a position to arrange for Tauber to appear as Tamino in The Magic Flute on 2 March 1913. Some weeks later, on 16 April, he played Max in Der Freischütz , a performance which was attended by Nikolaus Count von Seebachof the Dresden Opera who had already offered Tauber a five-year contract, commencing on 1 August. The Baron encouraged Tauber to take small roles with other companies to broaden his experience. During his years in Dresden, Tauber acquired his reputation as a remarkably quick student: he learned Gounod's Faust in 48 hours, Bacchus in Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos overnight, to the amazement of the composer, who conducted the performance (in Berlin). People started to call him "the SOS Tenor". He saved the German premiere of Puccini's Turandot in 1926 at the Staatsoper Dresden, learning the role of Calaf in three days when tenor Curt Taucher fell ill.
Following some guest appearances at the Wiener Volksoper in 1920, he made his Vienna State Opera debut on 16 June in La bohème , substituting for an indisposed Alfred Piccaver. In 1922, Tauber signed a five-year contract with the Vienna State Opera and appearances with the Berlin State Opera followed; for many years he appeared with both companies – four months with each, leaving four months for concerts and guest appearances with other companies and touring abroad. He sang the tenor role in many operas, including Don Giovanni , The Bartered Bride , Tosca , Mignon , Faust , Carmen and Die Fledermaus , as well as newer works such as Erich Korngold's Die tote Stadt and Wilhelm Kienzl's Der Evangelimann . Daniel O'Hara's Tauber Chronology lists 100 roles in opera and operetta that he performed on stage. [ citation needed ]It was in June 1919 that he made the first of over seven hundred gramophone records. All his vocal recordings were made for the Odeon Records label, and after 1933 for the associated Parlophone label. Tauber had a lyrical, flexible tenor voice, and he sang with a warm, elegant legato. His excellent breath control gave him a wonderful head voice and messa di voce with a superb pianissimo. He was elegant in appearance too – although he had a slight squint in his right eye; he disguised it by wearing a monocle which, when accompanied by a top hat, added to the elegant effect.
Tauber first performed in an operetta by Franz Lehár at the Volksbühne in Berlin in 1920. This was Zigeunerliebe, in which he also appeared in Linz and Salzburg in 1921. In 1922 he was offered the role of Armand in Lehár's Frasquitaat the Theater an der Wien, and the experience was a resounding success. This excursion into operetta was looked down on by some, but did Tauber no harm. It gave him a new audience. It revived Lehár's flagging career as a composer of operetta. In the future, Lehár composed a number of operettas with roles written specifically for Richard Tauber, including Paganini (1925, although he was unavailable for the Vienna premiere, and first sang it in Berlin in 1926), Der Zarewitsch (1927), Friederike (1928), The Land of Smiles (1929) with the famous aria "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz", Schön ist die Welt (1930), and Giuditta (1934). The hit songs usually occurred in the second act and were informally known as Tauberlieder. Tauber appeared in a number of films, both in Germany and later in England. He provided a 'voice-over', singing the title song in the otherwise silent film I Kiss Your Hand, Madame (1929).
When in Vienna, Tauber also conducted at the Theater an der Wien, and it was here in 1924 that he met the soprano Carlotta Vanconti who soon divorced her Italian husband and married Tauber on 18 March 1926. They separated in 1928 and divorced later the same year in Berlin. The divorce was recognised, however, only in Germany. In 1929 he met Mary Losseff at Rudolf Nelson's review in Berlin. They lived together for about five years. Losseff became his muse; it was for her that he wrote Der singende Traum. Losseff's career ended when she became an alcoholic, but Tauber remained her lifelong friend and supported her until his death. In 1931, Tauber made his London debut in operetta, and London appearances became a regular event; he also toured the United States in this year. In 1933, Tauber was assaulted in the street by a group of Nazi Brownshirts because of his Jewish ancestry, and he decided to leave Germany for his native Austria, where he continued to sing at the Vienna State Opera right up to the Anschluss in March 1938. In the mid-1930s, he made several musical films in England, and at the premiere of her film Mimi in April 1935, he met the English actress Diana Napier (1905–1982); they were married on 20 June 1936, only after protracted legal proceedings to secure an Austrian divorce from Vanconti. Napier appeared in three of his British films: Heart's Desire (1935), Land Without Music and Pagliacci (both 1936).
In 1938, he made his London operatic debut in Die Zauberflöte under Sir Thomas Beecham. Earlier that year, the Nazi government of Germany annexed Austria and Tauber left for good. In response, the Nazis withdrew the Taubers' passports and right of abode; because this left the couple technically stateless, Tauber applied for British citizenship. He was touring South Africa when World War II broke out, and returned to Switzerland until receiving the papers allowing him to enter the UK in March 1940.
Despite receiving lucrative offers from the United States, he remained in the UK for the entire war. There was little opera staged in wartime Britain so he made a living by singing, conducting and making gramophone records and radio broadcasts. He even composed English operettas, together with the lyric writer Fred S. Tysh, from one of which, Old Chelsea, the song "My Heart and I" became one of his most popular English recordings. It was only these English records that brought him any royalties; for his earlier recordings he had been paid for each performance and he had been compelled to leave his savings behind in Austria. By now he was so crippled by arthritis that he could no longer move into and away from the microphone for softer and louder notes. A small trolley was built on rubber wheels so the engineers could silently roll him back and forth while recording.
In 1946, Tauber appeared in a Broadway adaptation of The Land of Smiles (Yours is my Heart) which flopped, leaving him with huge personal losses and in debt to the backers. He was thus forced to tour the United States, Canada, Central and South America for six months to recoup losses, with Arpad Sandor and George Schick serving as his accompanists, and Neil Chotem as assisting artist.In April 1947, Tauber returned to London and sought medical attention for a persistent cough. He was eventually diagnosed with lung cancer: one lung was already useless and the other nearly so.
The Vienna State Opera was in London for a short season at the Royal Opera House – their first visit since the war – and they invited Tauber to sing one performance with his old company. On 27 September 1947 he sang the role of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, not a large part but with two difficult arias that demand good breath control to bring off well. Those in the audience say that he sang wonderfully and to loud applause. Live excerpts of these two arias from this performance survive, and they reveal a tone of undiminished focus and steadiness, a good line, and somewhat shortened phrasing.
A week later, Tauber entered Guy's Hospital to have his left lung removed to treat the cancer but it was too late. He died on 8 January 1948 in the London Clinic, Devonshire Place. His Requiem Mass was at St. James' Church, Spanish Place. He was interred in Brompton Cemetery in London.
Tauber made over 720 vocal recordings for the Odeon/Parlophone companies, plus several as an orchestral conductor, mainly of his own works, but also of music by Grieg and Johann Strauss, Jr. Of the 120 acoustic recordings, the most important are of arias by Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Kienzl, and songs by Schumann, Richard Strauss and Grieg. There are also five duets with Elisabeth Rethberg, arias by Verdi, Puccini etc., and excerpts from Korngold's Die tote Stadt , including a duet with Lotte Lehmann.Among the electrical recordings, there are albums of German folksongs, and 12 songs from Schubert's Winterreise , accompanied by Mischa Spoliansky, and an album of folksongs by Franz Gabriel and Hermann Löns. Perhaps most prized are the four Mozart arias recorded in 1938 and 1939, and the aria from Der Freischütz made in 1946. Among his last recordings are two songs by Richard Strauss, accompanied at the piano by Percy Kahn. In his lifetime, his many recordings of music by Franz Lehár, much of it written for him, and his own songs from the operetta Old Chelsea (1942) were best sellers, along with a huge range of lighter and popular music in German and English. A number of his broadcasts have been preserved, including a series of General Motors Concerts from America in 1937, a Radio Hilversum concert of 1939, and excerpts from his three series of weekly programmes for the BBC (1945–47).
Franz Lehár was an Austro-Hungarian composer. He is mainly known for his operettas, of which the most successful and best known is The Merry Widow.
"Nessun dorma" is an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot and one of the best-known tenor arias in all opera. It is sung by Calaf, il principe ignoto, who falls in love at first sight with the beautiful but cold Princess Turandot. Any man who wishes to wed Turandot must first answer her three riddles; if he fails, he will be beheaded. In the aria, Calaf expresses his triumphant assurance that he will win the princess.
The Land of Smiles is a romantic operetta in three acts by Franz Lehár. The German language libretto was by Ludwig Herzer and Fritz Löhner-Beda. The performance duration is about 100 minutes.
Rudolf Johann Schock was a German tenor.
Mary Losseff ; b. Vladivostok, 13 March 1907; d. London, 3 July 1972. Russian singer and film actress.
Jarmila Novotná was a celebrated Czech soprano and actress and, from 1940 to 1956, a star of the Metropolitan Opera.
Marta Eggerth was a Hungarian actress and singer from "The Silver Age of Operetta". Many of the 20th century's most famous operetta composers, including Franz Lehár, Fritz Kreisler, Robert Stolz, Oscar Straus, and Paul Abraham, composed works especially for her.
Giuditta is an operatic musikalische Komödie in five scenes, with music by Franz Lehár and a German libretto, by Paul Knepler and Fritz Löhner-Beda. Scored for a large orchestra, it was Lehár's last and most ambitious work, written on a larger scale than his previous operettas. Of all his works it is the one which most approaches true opera, the resemblances between the story and that of Bizet's Carmen and its unhappy ending heightening the resonances. Perhaps the best known song in the work is the soprano aria "Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiß", sung by Giuditta in the fourth scene. Another strong influence, especially for the North African setting, was the 1930 movie Morocco, starring Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper in very similar central roles, she being a singer-dancer, he being a soldier.
Roy Cornelius Smith is an American operatic tenor, from Big Stone Gap, Virginia.
Der Zarewitsch is an operetta in three acts by Franz Lehár. The German libretto by Heinz Reichert and Bela Jenbach is based on the play of the same name by Polish author Gabriela Zapolska. One of his later operettas, Lehár composed the work as a vehicle for Richard Tauber, the acclaimed Austrian tenor. The work received its first performance at the Deutsches Künstlertheater in Berlin on 21 February 1927, with Tauber and Rita Georg in the leading roles.
Waldemar Kmentt was an Austrian operatic tenor, who was particularly associated with the German repertory, both opera and operetta.
Max Hansen , also known as 'The Little Caruso', was a Danish singer, cabaret artist, actor, and comedian.
Paganini is an operetta in three acts by Franz Lehár. The German libretto was by Paul Knepler and Bela Jenbach.
Bernhard Bötel was a German operatic tenor and actor who had an active career in Germany and Austria during the first half of the 20th century. He made recordings for several record labels during the early years of the recording industry, including His Master's Voice, Odeon Records, Polydor Records, Tri-Ergon, and Vox Records. On the stage he sang a variety of roles in operas and operettas from leading parts to comprimario roles. His stage repertoire included Belmonte in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Chapelou in Adolphe Adam's Le postillon de Lonjumeau, Count Almaviva in Gioachino Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Daniel in Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow, the Duke of Mantua in Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto, Gabriel von Eisenstein in Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus, Indigo in Strauss' Indigo und die vierzig Räuber, Jeník in Bedřich Smetana's The Bartered Bride, Paolino in Domenico Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto, Pâris in Jacques Offenbach's La belle Hélène, Pietro in Franz von Suppé's Boccaccio, and Wilhelm Meister in Ambroise Thomas' Mignon.
Vera Schwarz was an Austrian soprano, known primarily for her operetta partnership with Richard Tauber.
Spas Wenkoff was a Bulgarian-Austrian operatic tenor. He was known internationally for mastering the heldentenor roles by Wagner, such as Tristan and Tannhäuser. He appeared in his signature role Tristan first in 1975 at the Staatsoper Dresden, followed by the centenary Bayreuth Festival in 1976, and the Metropolitan Opera in 1981, among many others. He was a member of the Staatsoper Berlin from 1976 to 1984, and then appeared freelance at major opera houses. He was awarded the title Kammersänger in both Berlin and Vienna.
Ferry Gruber was an Austrian-German tenor in opera and operetta. A member of both the Bavarian State Opera and Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in Munich for half a century, he focused on roles of the buffo genre and operetta. He made recordings, appeared on radio and television, performed internationally at major opera houses and festivals, and worked also as an operetta director and a private voice teacher. He was a favourite with the audience, and received the title Kammersänger.
Dorothea Chryst, also Dorli-Maria Chryst is a German operatic and operetta soprano.
Karl Friedrich was an Austrian operatic tenor. A member of the Vienna State Opera from 1938 to 1970, he is regarded as one of the leading tenors at the house during World War II and afterwards.
Hermann Wiedemann was a German operatic baritone and academic teacher. He was a long-term member of the Imperial Court Opera in Vienna from 1916, where he appeared as Faninal in Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss 196 times, and as Beckmesser in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg 155 times. He was Beckmesser also in a recording from the Salzburg Festival 1937, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. He performed internationally at leading opera houses and festivals, such as the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires and the Zoppoter Festspiele. He appeared in the world premieres of Wolf-Ferrari's I gioielli della Madonna in Berlin, Busoni's Die Brautwahl in Hamburg, and Lehár's Giuditta in Vienna.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richard Tauber .|