Greatest Opera Singers

Greatest Opera Singers


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Karl Norbert (Bass) (Prague, Czech Republic 3/10, 1893 – Vienna, Austria 6/8, 1936)

He was born Karel Novotny. He was trained by Konrad Wallerstein in Prague and made his debut in 1914 at the German Theater in Prague. He belonged to the ensemble of this opera house till 1920. Then up to his death he was a highly respected member of the Vienna State Opera. He achieved a huge success particularly as an interpreter of parts in Mozart's operas. Since 1922 he sangat the Salzburg festival, where he almost appeared as yearly till 1935. Here his repertoire included Bartolo in  "Figaros Hochzeit" (1922, 1931-35),  Osmin in "Entführung aus dem Serail" (1926 and 1932), Leporello in "Don Giovanni" (1922) and Don Alfonso in ‘’Così fan tutte’’ (1922 and 1935). Two other star roles of the artist were the Sarastro in "Zauberflöte" and the Kezal in "Verkauften Braut" by Smetana. In 1935 he appeared at the Vienna State Opera in the premiere of the opera "Die Dame im Traum" by Franz Salmhofer. He made successful guest appearances at the Court Opera of Dresden (1917), also in Paris, Prague, Berlin and Munich.

Chronology of some appearances

1914-1920 Prague  German Theater
1921-1936 Vienna State Opera


Vox, Berlin 1922-08?
Zauberflöte (Mozart): O Isis uns Osiris 3167 768B
Zauberflöte (Mozart): In diesen heil'gen Hallen 3167 769B

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Carmen Bonaplata-Bau (Soprano) (Barcelona, Spain 1871 - Barcelona, Spain 11/2 1911)

She was the daughter of the Spanish author Teodoro Bonaplata. In 1886 she made her debut at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milano in G. Verdi’s ‘’Aida’’. During her career this part remained her special star role . In 1891 she appeared at the Teatro Argentina in Roma again as Aida. In 1890 she married the conductor Lorenzo Bau. In the 1892-1893 season she sang at the Teatro alla Scala in Milano. Here she made her debut as Isabella in ‘’Cristoforo Colombo’’ and participated also in performances of R. Wagner’s ‘’Fliegenden Holländer’’ and in ‘’Il figliuol prodigo’’ by A. Ponchielli. In 1894 at the same opera house she sang the part of Sieglinde in R. Wagner’s ‘’Walküre’’ and in the title role in A. Catalani’s ‘’Loreley’’, in 1897 as Elisabetta in ’’Don Carlo’’. In 1894 she was active at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova, in 1896 in Buenos Aires. In the 1896-97 season she was to be heard at the Teatro San Carlo in Napoli. She undertook a tour through the USA and appeared as a guest at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo (1901) and at the Court Operas of St. Petersburg and Moscow (1897). In 1900 she was active at the Teatro Regio in Parma, where she sang the part of Aida opposite the Spanish tenor Carlo Barrera. As Gioconda she appeared with great success at the Teatro Regio in Torino (1892) and at the Teatro Politeama in Palermo (1893). She retired from the stage in 1904. Her daughter Carmen (Carmelita) Bau de Bonaplata, like her mother, became a respected soprano and appeared with success at italian and Spanish operatic stages. 

Chronology of some appearances

1886 Milano Teatro Dal Verme Aida (Aida)
1890 Verona Ristori Aida (Aida)
1891 Roma Teatro Argentina Aida (Aida)
1891 Bergamo Riccardi Aida (Aida)
1891 Bergamo Riccardi Cavalleria Rusticana (Santuzza)
1891 Bari Piccinni Cavalleria Rusticana (Santuzza)
1891 Barcellona Liceo Aida (Aida)
1891 Barcellona  Liceo Lohengrin (Elsa)
1892 Santander Principal Africana (Selika)
1892 Siviglia San Ferdinando Aida (Aida)
1892 Bilbao  Arriaga Aida (Aida)
1892 Torino Teatro Regio Gioconda (Gioconda)
1892 Milano Teatro alla Scala Cristoforo Colombo (Isabella)
1893 Palermo Politeama Gioconda (Gioconda)
1893 Madrid  Reale Lohengrin (Elsa)
1893 Madrid Reale Gioconda (Gioconda)
1894 Cadice Principal Africana (Selika)
1894 Cadice Principal Aida (Aida)
1894 Cadice Principal Norma (Norma)
1894 Varsavia Imperiale Aida (Aida)
1894 Milano Teatro alla Scala Walküre (Sieglinde)
1894 Milano Teatro alla Scala Loreley (Loreley)
1895 Montevideo Solis Aida (Aida)
1895 Varsavia Imperiale Otello (Desdemona)
1896 Lisbona San Carlos Africana (Selika)
1896 Lisbona  San Carlos Lohengrin (Elsa)
1896 Buenos Ayres Opera Africana (Selika)
1896 Buenos Ayres Opera Aida (Aida)
1896 Brooklyn  Academy of Music Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1896 Philadelphia Academy of Music Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1897 Buenos Ayres Opera Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1897 Montevideo Solis Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1897 Montevideo Solis Africana (Selika)
1897 Milano Teatro alla Scala Don Carlo (Elisabetta) 
1899 Valencia  Principal Africana (Selika)
1899 Lisbona San Carlos Mefistofele (Margherita)
1900 Parma Teatro Regio Aida (Aida)   
1901 Parma Teatro Regio Tosca (Tosca)
1901 Siviglia San Ferdinando Africana (Selika)
1901 Siviglia  San Ferdinando Lohengrin (Elsa)
1902 Valencia Principal Tosca (Tosca)
1902 Barcellona  Liceo Tosca (Tosca)
1902 Vera Cruz  Dehesa  Traviata (Violetta)

Carmen Bonaplata-Bau never made recordings

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Merle Alcock (Contralto) (Andover, Missouri 1890 - Phoenix, Arizona 1/3, 1975)

She was born Merle Tillotson. She studied singing at the Drake Conservatory in Des Moines and later with William Wade Hinshaw, Paul Savage and Herbert Witherspoon. Under her real name she made her debut in 1914 in a concert in London. In 1914 she married the tenor Bechtel Alcock and since then sang under this name. In 1915 she appeared in New York as a soloist with New York Symphony Orchestra and now became a known oratorio contralto. In 1915 she appeared at the festival in Worcester, in 1918 she had a triumphant success in a concert with the New Yorker Philharmoniker. She counted as an excellent interpreter of the works of J. S. Bach and G. Fr. Händel. Only in 1923 she made her debut at the operatic stage. In 1923 she appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Beppe in ‘’Amico Fritz’’ by P. Mascagni. Till 1929 she had at the Metropolitan Opera a huge success and among other things her repertoire included Maddalena in ‘’Rigoletto’’, Cieca in ‘’La Gioconda’’ by A. Ponchielli, Lola in ‘’Cavalleria Rusticana’’, she sang also in ‘’Le Roi de Lahore’’ of J. Massenet, ‘’Le Coq of d'or’’ by N. Rimsky-Korsakov, in U. Giordano’s ‘’La cena delle beffe’’ and in ‘’La Vida breve’’ by M. de Falla. In 1929 she appeared in the première of the opera ‘’Fra Gherardo’’ by I. Pizzetti. In 1924 she sang at the festival of Ravinia the part of Ortrud in ‘’Lohengrin’’. In 1930 she undertook an America tour with the San Carlo Opera Company as Carmen. After her retirement she taught  singing in New York. The soprano Eileen Farrell and the tenor George Maran belonged to her pupils.

Chronology of some appearances

1923-1929 New York Metropolitan Opera


Edison 4-min cylinders, USA 1914-07 
Let me dream again (Sullivan) (as Merle Tillotson) BA 2273

Edison, New York 1916-01
Songs we used to sing in Dixieland (Roma) (w. chorus) 80297 4407-A

Edison, New York 1916-05-05/11
His lullaby (Jacobs Bond) 80325 4718-A 

Edison, New York 1917-06-18
Rigoletto (Verdi): Quartet with Verlet, Ciccolini & Middleton 84001 5629-A 

Edison, New York 1917-09-14
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti): Sextet with Verlet, Ciccolini, Scott, Middleton & Baroni 82266 5787-A

Edison, New York 1918-11-12/27
Gioconda (Ponchielli): Voce di donna  80783 6466-A 

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Vida Ferluga (Mezzo-Soprano) (Opčine, Slovenia 17 March 1895 - Milano, Italia ? 1924)


She was of Slovenian descent. She was born into a family of a teacher, singer and composer Štefan Ferluga. First she received her musical education by her father, then studied singing at the Conservatory of Pesaro. She had a successful career, but unfortunately died of typhus quite young.

Chronology of appearances

1916 Bergamo Teatro Donizetti Mefistofele (Marta/Pantalis) with Beniamino Gigli (Faust),  Carmelita Bau de Bonaplata (Margherita),  Ines Vannini (Elena), Giuseppe Nessi (Wagner/Nereo) and Angelo Masini Pieralli (Mefistofele)

1916 Genova Teatro Carlo Felice Goffredo Mamelli (Cristina Trivulzio) with Carmelo Alabiso (Goffredo Mameli), Eugenia Burzio (Delia Terzaghi) and Emilio Bione (Carlo Terzaghi)

1916 Prato Politeama Ermete Novelli Goffredo Mamelli (Cristina Trivulzio) with Carmelo Alabiso (Goffredo Mameli), Francesca Solari (Delia) and Emilio Bione (Carlo Terzaghi)

1917 Roma Teatro Costanzi Gioconda (Laura/shared with Matilde Blanco-Sadún) with Sara Cesar (Gioconda),  Beniamino Gigli (Enzo) and Arturo Romboli/Giuseppe Danise (Barnaba)

1918 Roma Teatro Costanzi Adriana Lecouvreur (principessa Bouillon) with Carmen Toschi (Adriana Lecouvreur),  Beniamino Gigli (Maurizio) and Giuseppe Danise (Michonnet)

1918  Roma Teatro Costanzi Favorita (Leonora) with Dino Borgioli (Fernando), Giuseppe Danise (Alfonso XI) and Giulio Cirino (Baldassarre)

1918 Bologna Teatro Comunale Aida (Amneris/shared with  Giuseppina Bertazzoli Gibellini/Maria Pedrazzi) with Ester Mazzoleni/Mercedes Aicardi (Aida), Alessandro Dolci/Pietro Zeni (Radamès) and Giuseppe Bellantoni (Amonasro)

1920 Venezia  Teatro alla Fenice La walkiria  (Fricka/Schwertleite) with Cesira Ferrani, (Helmwige)Icilio Calleja (Sigmondo),  Angelo Masini-Pieralli (Wotan), Tagida Tavares (Siglinda), Berta Zulian Venturini (Brunilde)

1922 Napoli Teatro San Carlo Sigfrido (Erda) with Icilio Calleja (Sigfrido), Nicola Rakowsky (Alberico),  Elena Rakowska-Serafin (Brunilde), Luciano Donaggio (viandante/Wotan) and Franco Zaccarini (Fafner)

1924 Napoli Teatro San Carlo Fedra (Etra) with Mafalda De Voltri (schiava Ipponoe), Ettore Parmeggiani (Ippolito),  Giulia Tess (Fedra) and Leone Paci (pirata fenicio)


Phonotype, Napoli 
Rigoletto (Verdi): with Angela De Angelis, Fernando De Lucia and Antonio Armentano Anticorona

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Peter Lordmann (Bass/Baritone) (Köln, Germany Mar. 22, 1874 - Regensburg, Germany Jan. 27, 1955)


He began his career in 1897 as a concert singer with appearances in Düsseldorf and Köln. In 1897 he made his debut at the Hoftheater in Kassel. In the 1898-1902 seasons he was engaged by the Theater of Graz. From 1902 to 1904 he appeared at the Hoftheater in Karlsruhe. In the 1904-1905 season he sang at the Opernhaus in Köln and in the 1905-1909 seasons at the Volkskoper in Wien. Here he sang among other things in the Viennese première of G. Puccini’s ‘’Tosca’’. Here his repertoire included Figaro in "Figaros Hochzeit", Sarastro in ‘’Zauberflöte’’, Leporello in ‘’Don Giovanni’’, Daland in "Fliegenden Holländer", king Heinrich in ‘’Lohengrin’’, Stadinger in "Waffenschmied" by Lortzing and Saint Bris in ‘’Huguenots’’. In the 1909-1912 seasons he belonged to the ensemble of the Dresden Hofoper, in the 1912-1916 seasons to the Deutschen Opernhaus in Berlin. After a short participation as a soldier in the First World War he continued his career and from 1917 to 1919 he was a soloist of the Stadttheater in Bremen, from 1919 to 1921 he was a member of the Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, then in the 1923-1924 season he was active as singer and director at the Stadttheater in Hagen (Westfalen). In 1903 he guested at the Hofoper in Wien, in 1911 at the Opernhaus in Leipzig. At the Deutschen Opernhaus in Berlin he sang in 1914 in the premiere of E. Humperdinck’s "Die Marketenderin". His stage repertoire also included Osmin in "Entführung aus dem Serail", Falstaff in "Lustigen Weibern von Windsor", Baculus in ‘’Wildschütz’’, Bombardon in "Goldenen Kreuz" by I. Brüll,, Beckmesser in "Meistersimngern", Rocco in ‘’Fidelio’’, Giacomo in ‘’Fra Diavolo’’ and Eremit in "Freischütz".

Chronology of some appearances

1897 Kassel Hoftheater
1898-1902 Graz Theater
1902-1904 Karlsruhe Hoftheater
1903 Wien Hofoper
1904-1905 Köln Opernhaus
1905-1909 Wien Volkskoper
1909-1912 Dresden Hofoper
1911 Leipzig Opernhaus
1912-1916 Berlin Deutschen Opernhaus
1917-1919 Bremen Stadttheater
1919-1921 Wiesbaden Staatstheater
1923-1924 Hagen Stadttheater


Pathé, Berlin 1909?
Zauberflöte (Mozart): Das klinget so herrlich with Kaschowska 14551
Zauberflöte (Mozart): Bei Männern with Kaschowska 14553

Pathé, Berlin 1910?
Bohème (Puccini): Mantellied 15832
Don Giovanni (Mozart): Register-Arie, pt 1 15822

Pathé, Wien 1911?
Faust (Gounod): Serenade 51156
Juive (Halévy): Fluch-Arie 51155
Carmen (Bizet): Auf in der Kampf 51172
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Ansprache des Landgrafen 51149

Pathé, Berlin 1911/1912
Faust (Gounod): Duell-Terzett with Plaschke and Soot 55646

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Desider Zádor (Baritone) (Horna Krupa, Hungary 8/3 1873 – Berlin, Germany 24/4 1931)

First he became a teacher. He studied singing under Adele Passy-Cornet in Budapest, then went for the further studies to Vienna. He made his debut in 1898 at the Stadttheater of Czernowitz (Tschernowzy) as Count in "Figaros Hochzeit". In the 1898-1901 seasons he sang at the Stadttheater in Elberfeld, from 1901 to 1906 at the Deutschen in Prague (among other things in 1903 in the premiere of Cesare Rossi’s opera "Nadeya"). Then he made guest appearances at the Hofoper in Dresden and Munich. In the 1906-1908 seasons and in 1910 he had a huge success at the Covent Garden in London,  in 1906 and 1909 at the Stadttheater of Zurich. Famous he became notable by his magnificent interpretation of the Alberich in R. Wagner’s ‘’Ring-Zyklus’’. In the 1906-1911 seasons he had a successful career at the Berlin Komischen Oper; here on 21. 2. 1907 he sang the part of the black violinist in the premiere of the opera "Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe" by F. Delius. He appeared there also in the Berlin première of R. Leoncavallo’s ‘’Zazà’’ (1908) and had a special success as father in ‘’Louise’’ of G. Charpentier. In 1910 he appeared during the Beethoven Fest in the Hague as Pizarro in ‘’Fidelio’’. In the 1911-1916 seasons he sang at the Hofoper in Dresden (among other things in 1913 in the premiere of "Coeur As" by E. Künneke), in the 1916-1919 seasons he was active as singer and conductor at the National Opera in Budapest. In the 1920-1924 seasons he was engaged by the Staatsoper in Berlin and also guested again at the London Covent Garden. In the 1922-1924 seasons he made guest appearances in North America with the German Opera Company. In 1923 at the Great Northern Theatre in Chicago he participated in the American première of the opera "Der Evangelimann" of W. Kienzl, which was repeated in 1924 in New York. Since 1924 up to his death he was a member of the Städtischen Oper in Berlin, where he appeared mostly as comprimario and sang also the parts of bass. Married the contralto Emma Zador-Basst . 

Chronology of some appearances

1898 Czernowitz Stadttheater
1898-1901 Elberfeld Stadttheater
1901-1906 Prague  Deutschen
1906 Zurich Stadttheater
1906 Berlin Komischen Oper
1906-1908 London Covent Garden
1909 Zurich Stadttheater
1910 London Covent Garden
1910 The Hague Opera
1911-1916 Dresden  Hofoper  
1916-1919 Budapest National Opera
1920-1924 Berlin Staatsoper 
1922-1924 North America Tour
1923 Chicago Great Northern Theatre
1924-1931 Berlin  Städtischen Oper


G&T, Praha 1903? (late)
Rheingold (Wagner): Fluch 2-42823 1920x

Gramophone, Berlin 1908
Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner): Den Tag seh' ich erscheinen 4-42120 6841L
Tannhäuser (Wagner): O Himmel, lass' dich jetzt erflehen 4-42121 6842L
Faust (Gounod): 8) Da ich n un verlassen soll (Valentins Gebet) 4-42077 12274u
Faust (Gounod): 28) Valentins Tod, pt 2 042164 0782v

Gramophone, Berlin 1909-03-29
Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner): Jerum, jerum (Schusterlied) 4-42212 844ab
Rheingold (Wagner): Bin ich nun frei (Alberichs Fluch) 4-42213 845ab

Gramophone, Berlin 1909-05-12
Der Kuss (Beethoven) 4-42238 1027ab
Margreth am Tore (Jensen) 4-42239 1029ab

Gramophone, Berlin 1911-06-13
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Arie des St Bris (w. Ensemble) 042299 2232c
Africaine (Meyerbeer): Wie hat mein Herz geschlagen 042300 2233c

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cyrena van Gordon (Contralto) (Camden, Ohio September 4, 1893 ? - New York City April 4, 1964)

She was born Cyrena Pocock. She studied singing at the Cincinnati conservatoire under the pedagogue Louise Dotti. In 1913 she was engaged by the conductor Cleofonte Campanini for the Chicago Opera, where she made her debut in 1913 as Amneris in ‘’Aida’’. On 26. 12. 1917 she appeared there in the premiere of the opera ‘’Azora’’ by Henry Hadley. In 1921 she sang at the same opera house the part of Brünnhilde in ‘’Walküre’’, however, this remained the only soprano part of the singer. On 4. 11. 1929 she appeared in the opening performance of the new opera house Chicago Opera in a gala performance of G. Verdi’s ‘’Aida’’ (as Amneris). At the Chicago Opera her repertoire included Ortrud in ‘’Lohengrin’’, Fricka, Erda, Marina in ‘’Boris Godunov’’ (1920, with Fedor Schaljapin), Dalila in ‘’Samson et Dalila’’, Ulrica in ’’Ballo in maschera’’, Azucena in ‘’Trovatore’’ and Principessa in ‘’Suor Angelica’’. In 1933 she joined for a season to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where she performed as Amneris in ‘’Aida’’ as the only role. At the Philadelphia Opera she sang among other things in 1935 in the American première of the opera ‘’Iphigénie en Aulide’’ by Gluck. Later she had her residence in New York, where she still been active as pedagogue. 

Chronology of some appearances

1913-1920's Chicago Opera
1933 Metropolitan Opera New York


Edison, New York 1919-08-05/07 
Favorita (Donizetti): O mio Fernando 82180 6901-C 

Edison, New York 1919-10
Trovatore (Verdi): Stride la vampa 82180 6959-C

Columbia, New York 1921-03-01
Rock of Ages (Hastings) A3398 79743
Shall we gather at the river (Lowry) A3398 79744

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