Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers
Forgotten Tenors: Leon Laffitte (2 photos), Richard Kubla, Luigi Marletta and William Miller

Aug 23, 2013

Johannes Sembach (Johannes Semfke) (Tenor) (Berlin 1881 - Bremerhaven 1944)



                                                                 Canio

His real name was Johannes Semfke. Under this real name he appeared from 1900-1904 at the Berlin Apollo theatre as a baritone in operettas. Here he performed in the premieres of the operettas ‘’Lysistrata’’ and "Nakiris Hochzeit" of Paul Lincke. Then he decided to appear as an opera singer, studied in Vienna, then under Jean de Reszke in Paris. In 1904 he debuted as tenor at the Wiener Staatsoper where he remained till 1907. From 1907-13 he was engaged by the court opera of Dresden. Here he sang on 25. 1. 1909 in the premiere of the opera ‘’Elektra’’ of Richard Strauss appearing as Ägisth. On 7. 9. 1907 Sembach appeared in the premiere of "Die Schonen von Fogaras" of Alfred Grünfeld, in 1907 he sang the role of Lenski in the Dresden première of Tchaikovsky’s ‘’Eugene Onegin’’. In 1914 he made guest appearance at Covent Garden in the English première of the opera ‘’Joseph’’ of Méhul. In 1914 he was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. There his first role was Parsifal and he had success in operas of Wagner, especially as Siegmund and Siegfried. The criticism compared him to the famous Jean de Reszke. Till 1917 and then again in the 1920-22 seasons he appeared at the Metropolitan Opera. Here he also appeared on 8. 3. 1917 in the premiere of the opera "The Canterbury Pilgrims"  of Reginald De Koven. In 1925 he sat down as a pedagogue in Berlin. In 1927 he made guest appearance again at the opera house of Dresden. In 1930-31 season he took part in the USA tour as a member of German Opera. In 1932 he appeared in broadcastings of the German broadcasting company.

Chronology of some appearances

1907 Dresden court opera Eugene Onegin (Lensky)
1909 Dresden court opera Elektra (Ägisth)

RECORDINGS FOR SALE








G&T, Berlin 1903-04/05
Cavalleria  Rusticana (Mascagni): Vivo il vino 3-42959 3904r
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Plus blanche 3-42968 3905r
Aida (Verdi): Celeste Aida 3-42969 3906r
Martha (Flotow): Ach, so fromm  3-42960 3907r
Faust (Gounod): Sei mir gegrüsst (Cavatine)  042151 337s
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Jetzt spielen  042152 338s

Lyrophon, Wien 1907-03?
Rigoletto (Verdi): O wie so trügerisch W7224 7224OE
Dame Blanche (Boieldieu): Komm, o holde Dame  W7226 7226OE

Gramophone, Berlin 1909-10-02
Trovatore (Verdi): Di quella pira 4-42300 1746ab
Rigoletto (Verdi): Freundlich blick' ich  4-42302 1745½ab
Tiefland (d'Albert): Schau' her   042231 252ac
Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner): Morgenlich leuchtend  042233 254ac
Eugen Onegin (Tchaikovsky): Kuda, kuda  042234 255ac

Gramophone, Dresden 1909-10
Der fliegende Holländer (Wagner): Mit Gewitter und Sturm  4-42371 10169L
Bohème (Puccini): Che gelida manina   042237  443m

Gramophone, Berlin 1909-10-15
Madama Butterfly (Puccini): Willst du nun endlich mir sagen (w. Nast) 044145 268ac
Madama Butterfly (Puccini): 's ist schon was Wahres dran (w. Nast) 044146 269ac
Bohème (Puccini): Wo ich selig vom Glück (w. Nast) 044150 270ac

Gramophone, Berlin 1909-12-17
Lohengrin (Wagner): Nun sei bedankt, mein lieber Schwan  4-42372 2006ab

Columbia, New York 1916-04?
Röslein rot (trad) (w. Bloch, Goritz & Braun)  E3515 43950

Columbia, New York 1916-04-24
Walkure (Wagner): Siegmunds Liebeslied  A5835  48726
Freischütz (Weber): Durch die Wälder A5842 48727

Columbia, New York 1916-04-25
Siegfried (Wagner): Nothung, Nothung  A5842 48729
Lohengrin (Wagner): Mein lieber Schwan  A5889 48730
Lohengrin (Wagner): In fernem Land A5835 48731

Vox, Berlin 1921-10/11
Martha (Flotow): Ach, so fromm 03014 41A
Zauberflöte (Mozart): Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön 03014 42A
Walküre (Wagner): Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond  03015 43A
Lohengrin (Wagner): In fernem Land 03016 44A
Meistersinger von Nurnberg (Wagner): Am stillen Herd  03015 46A
Meistersinger von Nurnberg (Wagner): Morgenlich leuchtend  03016 47A

Clangor, Berlin 1933/1934
Fidelio (Beethoven): Gott, welch Dunkel hier! MD9619


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