Greatest Opera Singers

Greatest Opera Singers

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Rudolf Berger (Tenor) (Brno 1874 - New York 1915)



He was one of the best opera singers of his time. He studied singing under Adolf Robinson in Brünn. He made his debut as baritone in 1896 at the Municipal Theatre of Brünn as Telramund in ‘’Lohengrin’’. Then till 1897 he was active at the Municipal Theatre of Olmütz and in 1898 he was engaged by the Berlin Court Opera. Here he sang among other things on 18. 4. 1899 in the premiere of the opera ‘’Mudarra’’ of Fernand Le Borne, on 10. 4. 1900 in Ferdinand Hummel's opera ‘’ Die Beichte’’, on 13. 12. 1904 in the premiere of Leoncavallo’s opera ‘’Der Roland von Berlin’’; on 14. 4. 1905 in the Berlinpremiere of E.Humperdinck’s ‘’Die Heirat wider Willen’’. In 1901, 1906 and 1908 he appeared at Bayreuth Festival in ‘’Parsifal’’ and ‘’Götterdämmerung’’. In 1908 he retired for a year and studied under Oscar Sänger, reappearing as a tenor in ‘’Lohengrin’’ at a performance in Berlin in 1909. In 1913 he married the American soprano Marie Rappold (1879-1957). After guest performances, primarily, in Wagner's operas in Paris, London, Prague and Amsterdam as well as at the Vienna Court Opera, in 1913 he was engaged to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (debuted in 1914 as Siegmund in ‘’Walküre’’). In his two seasons, he sang 24 performances of 8 roles, including Siegfried, Lohengrin, Walther, Parsifal, Tristan, and Tannhäuser. His only non-Wagnerian role was Tamino in Die Zauberflöte. However, his career total number of roles was 96 as a baritone and 18 as a tenor. He suddenly died, at the height of his career, only 41 years old.

Chronology of some appearances

1896 Brünn Municipal Theatre Lohengrin ( Telramund)
1897 Olmütz  Municipal Theatre 
1898-1899 Berlin Court Opera
1901 Bayreuth Festival
1904-1905 Berlin Court Opera
1906 Bayreuth Festival
1908 Bayreuth Festival
1909 Berlin Court Opera as Tenor Lohengrin (Lohengrin)
1914  New York Metropolitan Opera


Columbia, Berlin 1904 (early)
Lohengrin (Wagner): Telramunds Anklage (Dank Konig, dir) 40120
Wildschütz (Lortzing): Heiterkeit und Fröhlichkeit 40124

G&T, Berlin1904-03?
Carmen (Bizet): Euren Toast (Torerolied) 2-42837 2168h
Tannhauser (Wagner): O du mein holder Abendstern 042071 266i

 Edison 2-min cylinders, Berlin1904-11?
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Lied an den Abendstern 15164 15164

Odeon, Berlin 1906-03?
Don Giovanni (Mozart): Reich mir die Hand with Dietrich 34572 xB1079
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti): Im Jammer und Tränen with Dietrich 34573 xB1080

Odeon, Berlin 1907-01/02
Lohengrin (Wagner): Telramunds Anklage (Dank Konig, dir) 50250 xB2159

Odeon, Berlin 1908-06?
Africaine (Meyerbeer) Wie hat mein Herz geschlagen 50502
Africaine (Meyerbeer): Hei! Adamastor, der König der wellen 50492 xB3716

Odeon, Berlin 1909-09?
Lohengrin (Wagner): Höchstes Vertrauen 80043 xxB4681
Lohengrin (Wagner): Das süße Lied verhallt with Destinn 80041 xxB4683
Lohengrin (Wagner) Wie hehr erkenn' ich uns'rer Liebe Wesen with Destinn 50649 xB4684
Lohengrin (Wagner) Ach könnt' ich deiner Wert erscheinen with Destinn 50650 xB4685
Lohengrin (Wagner): Ach, dich an mich zu binden with Destinn 80042 xxB4686

Odeon, Berlin 1911-06
Zauberflöte (Mozart): Bildnisarie 50730 xB5175

Odeon, Berlin 1909-11
Lohengrin (Wagner): Atmest du nicht 50651 xB4740

Odeon, Berlin 1910-05
Lohengrin (Wagner): Nun sei bedankt 50691 xB4819
Prophete (Meyerbeer): Auf! Seht, der Becher winket 50692 xB4820

Odeon, Berlin 1911-10/12
Otello (Verdi): Nun fahr hin, süßes Gedenken 50736 xB5493
Otello (Verdi): Othellos Tod 80071 xxB5494
Otello (Verdi): Gott, warum hast du gehäuft dieses Elend 50737 xB5495

Odeon, Berlin 1913 (Summer?)
Walküre (Wagner): Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond 98029 xB5855
Walküre (Wagner): Siegmund heiß' ich  98030 xB5859
Meistersinger von Nurnberg (Wagner): Morgenlich leuchtend 50738 xB5856
Meistersinger von Nurnberg (Wagner): Fanget an! 50739 xB5857

Gramophone, Berlin 1914-01-15
Parsifal (Wagner): Auf Ewigkeit wär'st du verdämmt 044261 1312s
Parsifal (Wagner): Nie sollst du ihn finden! with Denera and Habich 044262 1313s

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