Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Mar 8, 2015

Wilhelm Grüning (Tenor) (Berlin 1858 - Berlin 1942)

He was the son of a Berlin jeweller. He studied singing in Berlin under Julius Stern and Jenny Meyer and made his debut in 1881 at the Stadttheater in Gdansk as a lyric tenor, however, his voice changed about 1885 to the heroic tenor. From Gdansk he joined in the 1883-1885 seasons to the Opernhaus in Dusseldorf, then sang in the 1885-1887 seasons at the Deutschen Theater in Rotterdam. From 1888 to 1895 he appeared at the Hoftheater in Hannover, in the 1895-1898 seasons at the Stadttheater in Hamburg. In 1898 he joined to to the Hofoper in Berlin, where he  remained till 1911. From 1891 to 1897 he appeared at the Bayreuth festival as Parsifal, Tannhäuser, Siegfried and Walther von Stolzing in ‘’Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’’. His creation of the title role in R. Wagner’s ‘’Rienzi’’ counted at his time as an incomparable achievement. In 1899 he appeared at the Berlin Hofoper in the premiere of the (posthumous) operas ‘’Briseïs’’ of E. Chabrier, ‘’Cain’’ (1900) by E. d'Albert, ‘’Samson et Dalila’’ (1901) of C. Saint-Saëns, ‘’Der Pfeifertag’’ (1902) by M. von Schillings (after premiere in 1899 at the Hoftheater in Schwerin). He appeared as Faust in C. Gounod’s ‘’Faust’’ in a performance in which Geraldine Farrar made her debut at Berlin as Marguerite (15. 10. 1901). On 13. 12. 1904 he performed at the Berlin  Hofoper in the unsuccessful premiere of the opera ‘’Der Roland von Berlin’’ by R. Leoncavallo. On 21. 3. 1899 he sang there also in the premiere of A. Lortzing’s opera ‘’Regina’’ (48 years after the death of the composer!). He made guest appearances in London and Amsterdam and in the 1895-1896 season sang with the Damrosch Opera Company in the USA. Probably he retired from the stage in 1911 and was active in Berlin as vocal pedagogue. Married to the known dramatic soprano Antonie Mielke (1856-1907).

Chronology of some appearances

1881 Gdansk Stadttheater
1883-1885 Dusseldorf Opernhaus
1885-1887 Rotterdam Deutschen Theater
1888-1895 Hannover Hoftheater
1895-1898 Hamburg Stadttheater
1898-1911 Berlin Hofoper


Columbia, Berlin 1905?
Parsifal (Wagner): Nur eine Waffe taugt 40726
Meistersinger von Nnberg (Wagner): Morgenlich leuchtend 40728
Siegfried (Wagner): Schmiede, mein Hammer 40730

G&T, Berlin 1905-09?
Lohengrin (Wagner): Mein lieber Schwan 3-42454 3791h
Lohengrin (Wagner): Kommt er dann heim 3-42455 3792h

G&T, Berlin 1906-11?
Rienzi (Wagner): Erstehe, hohe Roma 3-42767 9736u

Gramophone, Berlin 1908
Walküre (Wagner): Winterstürme 4-42087 7300L

Gramophone, Berlin 1912-06-21
Der Engel (Wagner)? (Kelly) or Der Engel Lied (Brago)? (Weiherm.) 942330 13953L
Ich grolle nicht (Schumann) 942311 13954L

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