Greatest Opera Singers

Greatest Opera Singers

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Theodor Bertram (Baritone) (Stuttgart 1869 - Bayreuth 1907)

The son of the baritone Heinrich Bertram (1825-1903) and the dramatic soprano Marie Bertram-Mayer (1838-1882), he studied singing under his father and made his debut in 1889 at theStadttheater in Ulm as Eremit in ‘’Freischütz’’. In 1891 he joined to the Stadttheater  in Hamburg, the next year he was engaged by the Kroll-Oper in Berlin. In the 1893-1899 seasons he worked at the Hofoper in Munich. During the R. Wagner's festival in Munich he appeared with great success as Hans Sachs and Wotan. In 1897 he sang in Munich in the premieres of the operas ‘’'Sarema’’ of Alexander Zemlinsky and ‘’Theuerdank’’ of Ludwig Thuille. Two years later he performed  in the premiere of S. Wagner’s opera ‘’Der Bärenhäuter’’. In 1899 he was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Here he appeared till 1901 not only in R. Wagner’s operas, but also as Mr. Fluth in ‘’Lustigen Weibern von Windsor’’ by Nicolai and Pizarro in ‘’Fidelio’’. He made guest appearances in PhiladelphiaChicago and Boston. In 1892 he sang for the first time at the Bayreuth Festival in ‘’Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’’. Since 1901 he was much admired there as Wotan and appeared till 1906 also as Fliegender Holländer, Amfortas in ‘’Parsifal’’ and Wolfram in ‘’Tannhäuser’’. Cosima Wagner appreciated his interpretations, particularly his Wotan. In 1902 he was engaged  by the Hofoper in Vienna, then he made guest appearances in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, sang at the Deutschen Theater in Prague (1901-1905), at the Stadttheater in Zurich (1903-1905), at the Royal Opera in Stockholm (1904) and at the Covent Garden in London (1900, 1903 and 1907). In  the 1901-1906 seasons he performed regularly at the Oper in Frankfurt am Main. Since 1897 he was married to the soprano Fanny Moran-Olden (1855-1905). She died in 1905 of mental illness. His second wife, singer Lotte Wetterling died on 21. 2. 1907 in a ship disaster. After her death he began to drink heavily and eventually committed suicide by hanging inBayreuth. According to his last wish, he was buried in Holland at the side of Lotte Wetterling. His repertoire included Don Giovanni, Papageno in ‘’Zauberflöte’’, Graf  in ‘’Figaros Hochzeit’’, Alfonso in ‘’Così fan tutte’’, Kühleborn in ‘’Undine’’ of A. Lortzing, Kurwenal in ‘’Tristan und Isolde’’, Méphistophélès in ‘’Faust’’ by C. Gounod, Klaufe in ‘’Ingwelde’’ of M. von Schillings, Lothario in ‘’Mignon’’ of A. Thomas, Dapertutto in ‘’Hoffmanns Erzählungen’’, Kezal in B. Smetana’s ‘’Verkaufter Braut’’ and Tonio in ‘’Pagliacci’’.

Chronology of some appearances

1889 Ulm Stadttheater 
1891 Hamburg Stadttheater
1892 Berlin Kroll-Oper
1892 Bayreuth Festival
1893-1899 Munich Hofoper
1900 London Covent Garden
1899-1901 New York Metropolitan Opera
1901-1906 Frankfurt am Main Oper
1902 Vienna Hofoper
1903 London Covent Garden
1903-1905 Zurich Stadttheater
1904 Stockholm Royal Opera 
1901-1905 Prague Deutschen Theater
1901-1906 Bayreuth Festival
1907 London Covent Garden


G&T, Berlin 1902
Carmen (Bizet): Euren Toast (Torerolied) 42691 2228B
Waffenschmied (Lortzing): Auch ich war ein Jüngling 42692 2229B
Still wie die Nacht (Bohm) 42800 717x
Fliegende Holländer (Wagner): Wie aus der Ferne  42801 718x
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Wie Todesahnung 42802 719x
Walküre (Wagner): Der Augen leuchtendes Paar 42803
Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner): Jerum, Jerum! 42804 721x
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Schaut her, ich bin's (Prolog) 42806

G&T, Bayreuth 1904
Rheingold (Wagner): Abendlich strahlt 2-42917

Favorite, Berlin 1904 (late)?
Rheingold (Wagner): Abendlich strahlt 1-15049 Mpt86-f+

Odeon, Berlin 1905-02?
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Wohl wußt' ich hier sie im Gebet X50005
Fliegende Holländer (Wagner): Weit komm' ich her X50011 XPh1032

Odeon, Berlin 1907-06?
Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner): Fliedermonolog, pt 1  X50435 xB2797
Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner): Wahnmonolog, pt 1 X50451 xB2799
Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner): Wahnmonolog, pt 2 X50452 xB2800
Fliegende Holländer (Wagner): Nur eine Hoffnung X50377 xB2802

Edison 2-min cylinders, Berlin 1907
Walküre (Wagner): Wotans Abschied 15967

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