Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Jul 5, 2016

Torsten Ralf (Tenor) (Malmö, Sweden January 2, 1901 - Stockholm, Sweden April 27, 1954)

Both his older brothers Oscar Ralf (1881-1964) and Einar Ralf (1888-1971), also became a famous opera singers. During ten years he was Telegraph-official. First he studied at the Royal Conservatoire in Stockholm under Hjaldis Ingebjart and John Forsell, then in Berlin with Hertha Dehmlow. He made his debut in 1930 at the Stadttheater in Stettin as Cavaradossi in ‘’Tosca’’. After appearing at the Opera Houses of Chemnitz (1931-1933) and Frankfurt a. M. (1933-1935), he joined in 1935 to the Staatsoper in Dresden. Till 1943 he had at this opera house a huge success. Here on 15. 10. 1938 he sang in the premiere of Richard Strauss’s ‘’Daphne’’ opposite Margarete Teschemacher (as Apoll). On 31. 3. 1936 he sang at the Staatsoper  in Dresden in the premiere of the opera "Der verlorene Sohn" by Robert Heger, on 2. 3. 1937 in ‘’Massimilla Doni’’ of Othmar Schoeck, on 10. 2. 1938 in Richard Mohaupt’s "Wirtin von Pinsk", on 31. 10. 1942 in the premiere of H. Sutermeister’s "Zauberinsel". He was highly acclaimed by the audience especially as heldentenor. He aften appeared at the Staatsopern of Vienna and Munich and in the 1935-1939 seasons at the London Covent Garden. Here he sang in 1935 the part of Lohengrin during the festival to the jubilee of king Georg V., in 1936, together with ensemble of Dresden Staatsopern, the role of Bacchus in "Ariadne auf Naxos" by R. Strauss. Since 1941 he was a member of the Royal Opera in Stockholm, in 1945 he received the order ‘’Litteris et artibus’’, in 1952 he was appointed the Swedish court singer. In the 1945-1948 seasons he was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Here he made his debut  in 1945 as Lohengrin and appeared also as Radames in ‘’Aida’’ and Otello by G. Verdi. In the 1945-1946 season he travelled around South America and sang at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In 1948 he again appeared at the Covent Garden, this time as Radames in ‘’Aida’’. Since 1948 he lived in his Swedish native country. In the 1950-1952 seasons he appeared regularly at the Staatsoper in Vienna: as Florestan in ‘’Fidelio’’, Walther von Stolzing, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser and as Otello; his last appearance in this opera house took place in 1953. Till 1954 he performed on the stage and at the concert hall.

Chronology of some appearances

Tannhäuser 12/18/1945, Otello 3/19/1946, Walter von Stolzing 3/26/1946, (Filadelfia) Parsifal 4/16/1946, Tristan 3/4/1947, Walter von Stolzing 11/25/1947 (Filadelfia).


HMV, Berlin 1939-03
Otello (Verdi): Nun in der nächt'gen Stille with Lemnitz DB 4668 2RA3840
Otello (Verdi): Da brannt' im dunkeln Antlitz dir ein Feuer with Lemnitz  DB 4668 2RA3841
Lohengrin (Wagner): Das süße Lied verhallt with Lemnitz DB 4667 2RA3842
Lohengrin (Wagner): Doch ich zuvor... Atmest du nicht with Lemnitz DB 4667 2RA3843

HMV, Dresden 1941-01?
Fanciulla del West (Puccini): Lasset sie glauben DB 5620 2RA4814
Otello (Verdi): Bei des Himmels ehernem Dache with Herrmann DB 5620  2RA4815

HMV, Berlin 1941-07?
Walküre (Wagner): Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond DA 4493  0RA4867
Otello (Verdi): Jeder Knabe DA 4493 2RA4869
Otello (Verdi): Gott, warum hast du gehäuft dieses Elend DB 5630 2RA4870

HMV, Berlin 1942-01?
Tiefland (d'Albert): Traumerzählung DB 5697 2RA5427 
Tiefland (d'Albert): Wolfserzählung DB 5697 2RA5428

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