Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Jun 30, 2014

Bohumil Benoni (Baritone) (Chrudim 1862 - Weißwasser 1942)


First he studied under Anny Chrzová in Chrudim, then at opera school  of  J. L. Lukes in Prague. In 1882 he made his debut in Prague as a concert singer. In 1883 he made his debut as comprimario (nightwatchman in ‘’Kolár Primátor’’) at the National Theatre and was so successful, that at the same year he  made his second debut as Valentin in C. Gounod’s  ‘’Faust’’. He was famous as Don Giovanni, which he also sang in 1887 in Prague. Already in 1885 he sang in Prague the role of Telramund in ‘’Lohengrin’’. In 1888 he appeared as Eugene Onegin in the Prager première of  P. Tchaikovsky’s opera ‘’Eugene Onegin’’, which was directed by the composer itself. He took part at the national Theatre in Prague in several premieres of operas; he sang on 12. 2. 1889 in ‘’Der Jakobiner’’ of A. Dvořák, on 31. 3. 1901 in ‘’Eva’’of  J. B. Forester and on 31. 3. 1901 in ‘’Rusalka’’ of Dvořák. Later he worked in Prague as a pedagogue. He was married to known Czech actress Hanna Benoni (1868-1922).

Chronology of some appearances

1883 Prague National Theatre Kolár Primátor (Nightwatchman)
1885 Prague National Theatre Lohengrin (Telramund)
1887 Prague National Theatre Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni)
1888 Prague National Theatre Eugene Onegin (Eugene Onegin)


G&T, Praha 1906
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Prolog 72195 3648L
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Romance an den Abendstern 72146 3649L
Otello (Verdi): Credo 72216 3669L
Carmen (Bizet): Toreador 72179 3671L
Nozze di Figaro (Mozart): Crudel, perchè finora with Bobková 74026 3650L
Don Giovanni (Mozart): Là ci darem with Kubátova 74034  3651L

G&T, Praha 1907
Fliegende Holländer (Wagner): Duett with Pollert 274000 3735r
Guillaume Tell (Rossini): Prière de Tell 2-72024 3752r
Eugen Onegin (Tchaikovsky): Aria 2-72026 3738r
Faust (Gounod): Avant de quitter 2-72025 3753r

Gramophone, Praha 1908
Taku som si frajerocku V.*4-102048 4991r
Proc jsi k nám neprisel V.*4-102049 4993r
Zakletý prine (-): Arie 2-72132 5017r
Hedy (Fibich): Zpěv Lambra 2-72133 5018r

Gramophone, Praha
Eugen Onegin (Tchaikovsky): Aria  V.*4-102369
Certova stena (Smetana): Aria Vokova V.*4-102381
Carmen (Bizet): Votre toast V.*4-102380
Traviata (Verdi): Di Provenza V.*4-102368

Eugene Guszalewicz (Tenor) ( Lwów (Lemberg) 1867 - Köln 1907)


He studied singing at the conservatoire of Lviv under Walery Wysocki, then with J.Gänsbacher in Vienna. His stage debut took place in 1891 at the Opera House of Bratislava. Then he was engaged by the Municipal Theatres of Aachen and Brünn (Brno) and worked in the 1896-1902 seasons at the German Theatre in Prague. Here he sang among other things the title role in the première of the opera ‘’Der arme Heinrich’’ of Hans Pfitzner and appeared in 1901 in the premiere of the opera ‘’Der polnische Jude’’ of K. Weis. In 1896 he married to his pupil, soprano Alice Guszalewicz (1879-1940), who developed a very successful career. Since 1905 he was a member of the Cologne Opera House. The daughter Genia Guszalewicz (1902-71), had, like her parents, a successful opera career.

Chronology of some appearances

1891 Bratislava Opera House 
1896-1902 Prague German Theatre
1905 Cologne Opera House


Zonophone, Wien 1902?
Prophète (Meyerbeer): Triumphgesang X-1635

Jan Berlík (Tenor) (Tábor 1892 - Praha 1972)

                                                                 Don Jose

He studied singing under E. Fuchs, K. Wallerstein, and C. Emmerich. Since 1925 he performed in Bratislava, from 1926 at the National Theatre in Prague, in 1927, he moved to Hamburg, and in the 1931-40 seasons, he sang again at the National Theatre.Berlík had a lovely soft voice with nice kantilena and an impressive stage appearance. His most notable roles were Jeník (Prodaná nevěsta), Alfredo (La Traviata), Don Carlo, Rodolfo (La Bohème), Cavaradossi (Tosca) and Don José (Carmen). In the 1950s he taught singing at the Prague Conservatory.

Chronology of some appearances

1925 Bratislava Opera House
1926 Prague National Theatre  
1927 Hamburg Opera House
1931-1940 Prague National Theatre


Rigoletto (Verdi): O wie so trügerisch B11005 34331

Parlophon, Berlin 1927-10-13
Bohème (Puccini): Wie eiskalt ist dies Händchen P9198 2-20409
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Jetzt spielen P9198 2-20410

Odeon, Berlin 1927-10-13
Tosca (Puccini): Wie sich die Bilder gleichen O-6590 xxB7891
Tosca (Puccini): Und es blitzten die Sterne O-6590 xxB7892

Karel Burian (Carl Burrian) (Tenor) (Rousínov near Rakovník 1870 – Senomaty 1924)



He was the older brother of operatic baritone Emil Burian and the uncle of composer Emil František Burian. Both brothers studied singing under Franz Pivoda in Prague. Inititially Burian had intended to become a lawyer and had attended Prague University for a year in pursuit of this goal. However, a professor at the university heard his voice and encouraged him to pursue an operatic career, putting him in touch with Pivoda for lessons. He later pursued further vocal studies with Felix von Kraus in Munich.Burian made his professional opera debut as Jeník in Bedřich Smetana’s ‘’The Bartered Bride’’ at the opera house in Brno on 28 March 1891. The very next day he portrayed the title role in Smetana's ‘’Dalibor’’ to such outstanding success that he was offered a long-term contract with the Brno Opera. However, he sang only one other major role with the company, Manrico in Giuseppe Verdi's ‘’Il trovatore’’, before joining the opera house in Reval for the 1892-1893 season. He sang at the opera house in Aachen during the 1893-1894 season, notably appearing in the world premiere of Leo Blech's first opera, ‘’Aglaja’’ By the mid-1890s Burian was beginning to build a substantial reputation in Germany for the quality of his performances of the heldentenor repertoire. From 1894 to 1896 he was the leading Wagnerian tenor at the Cologne Opera. While there, he sang (among other things) in the world premieres of Karl von Kaskel's ‘’Sjula’’ (1895) and Arnold Mendelssohn's ‘’Elsi’’, ‘’die seltsame Magd’’ (1896). He left Cologne to take up a commitment to sing at the Staatsoper Hannover in 1896 to 1898, followed by a three-year term at the Hamburg State Opera in 1898-1901. He was also active at the Berlin State Opera during the 1898/99 season. By 1899, Burian had been engaged to appear at the best opera house of his home nation, the National Theatre in Prague. However, he did not remain for long with that theatre, as he was now a much-in-demand singer in Germany, where he could earn higher fees and greater prestige. For more than a decade prior to World War I, Burian was a leading and much-admired tenor at the Semperoper in Dresden, where he made a powerful impression as Herod in the world première of Richard Strauss’s ‘’Salome’’ in 1905. He later repeated the role for the first productions of ‘’Salome’’ in New York City and Paris (in 1907). The operas of Richard Wagner were Burian's major focus on the international stage. He notably sang Tristan in the Hungarian première of ‘’Tristan und Isolde’’, and also appeared as several of the principal Wagner heroes at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, during four seasons between 1904 and 1914. He also sang almost all of the major Wagner roles at the Metropolitan Opera, where he performed for seven seasons. In 1908, he made his only appearance at the Bayreuth Festival in the title role of Parsifal. Burian published his memoirs, Z mých pamětí, in 1913. Among other things, they contain his recollections of the composer/conductor Gustav Mahler and the conductor Arturo Toscanini. In 1920 Burian mistakenly drank bleach believing it to be mineral water and suffered severe burns to his mouth and larynx. The wounds eventually healed, but his voice never fully recovered. His last two performances at the National Theatre in Prague were in 1922 when he sang in ‘’Dalibor’’ and ‘’Tannhäuser’’. Two years later he died in Senomaty after a brief illness. He was 54. His death was marked by a black flag draped on the National Theatre. The Czech Philharmonic played Siegfried's funeral march from Twilight of the Gods. He was known for his powerful stage presence, and according music critic Desmond Shawe-Taylor, his voice was praised for its "golden quality" and the "penetrating clarity" of its tone. The latter quality is apparent in his early recordings despite their primitive technology.

Chronology of some appearances

1891 Brno Opera House
1892-1893 Reval Opera House
1893-1894 Aachen Opera House
1894- 1896 Cologne Opera
1896- 1898 Staatsoper Hannover
1898-1901 Hamburg State Opera
1898-1899 Berlin State Opera
1899 Prague National Theatre


G&T, Berlin 1906-06
Lohengrin (Wagner): Höchstes Vertrauen 3-42585 1337r

G&T, Berlin 1907
Götterdämmerung (Wagner): Blühenden Lebens with Friedrich Plaschke 2-44319 3234r
Muette de Portici (Auber): Weit eher den Tod with Friedrich Plaschke 2-44320 3235r
Bohème (Puccini): Ach Geliebte, nie kehrst du mir wieder with Friedrich Plaschke 044074 258s
Forza del destino (Verdi): In dieser feierlichen Stunde with Friedrich Plaschke 044075 259s

Dimitrie Onofrei (Tenor) (Romania 1897 - Bethlehem/USA 1991)


Cantante lirico di fama internazionale; cantò nei maggiori teatri di tutto il mondo. Dopo una breve carriera al Teatro dell' Opera di Bucarest, studiò come cantante t. al Conservatorio e al Teatro alla Scala di Milano- Debuttò nel 1922 al Teatro Reale di Malta nel Rigoletto di Giuseppe Verdi, nel ruolo del Duca di Mantova. Nel 1925 ci fu l'esordio negli Stati Uniti d'America, dove cantò per la prima volta al Teatro Century di New York. Dotato di una voce tenorile di rara estensione, la carriera di Dimitrie Onofrei fu tutta in ascesa e lo portò ad interpretare pressoché tutti i principali ruoli tenorili del melodramma. L'addio alle scene avvenne nel 1962. Divenne professore di canto al Conservatorio di Cincinnati (USA) e poi - fino al 1965 - di Chicago. Ha fatto innumerevoli incisioni discografiche. È morto il 20 marzo 1991 alla venerabile età di 93 anni a Bethlehem (Pennsylvania).


Rodolfo 11/1/1923, 11/18/1924, Le docteur Faust 11/21/1924, Lyonel 11/22/1924, Il duca di Mantova 11/28/1924, B. F. Pinkerton 11/29/1924, Alfredo Germont 5/4/1925, Le docteur Faust 10/21/1925, Hoffmann 10/24/1925, Turiddu 12/31/1925, Le docteur Faust 11/3/1926, Il duca di Mantova 11/5/1926, Rodolfo 2/28/1929, Turiddu 9/29/1930, 3/12/1931, B. F. Pinkerton 11/5/1931, Alfredo Germont 11/12/1931, Turiddu 12/3/1931, Grigory Otrepiev / Dimitri 12/10/1931, Mario Cavaradossi 1/7/1932, Le docteur Faust 2/25/1932, 8/24/1933, Il duca di Mantova 8/25/1933, Rodolfo 8/28/1933, Sir Edgardo di Ravenswood 8/29/1933, Lyonel 9/2/1933, Alfredo Germont 9/4/1933, Lohengrin 9/7/1933, Hoffmann 9/9/1933, 7/9/1934, Alfredo Germont 1/28/1941, Il duca di Mantova 1/31/1941 (Filadelfia)


Odeon, 1928
Gioconda (Ponchielli): Cielo e mar 127003
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): O Lola RA199902B Jo1472
Martha (Flotow): M'appari RA199902a Jo1460
Rigoletto (Verdi): La donna e mobile 199901
Tosca (Puccini): E lucevan le stelle 199901

Sigismund Pilinsky (Tenor) (Budapest 1891 - Budapest 1963)

His real name  was Zsigmond Pilinszky. He studied singing at the conservatoire of Budapest, then under Mrs. Böhme-Köhler in Leipzig, in the end, with Konrad von Zawilowski in Berlin. He made his debut in 1912 at the Opera House of Miskolc and sang since 1913 at the Budapest National Opera to which he belonged till 1927. In 1928 he was engaged by the Städtische Oper in Berlin. In 1928 he appeared with great success in Berlin as Johann von Leiden in Meyerbeer’s ‘’Prophet’’. In the 1930-1931 season at the Bayreuth Festival he performed in ‘’Tannhäuser’’. He guested successfully in Vienna, London, Chicago and San Francisco. Since 1932 he was engaged again by the Budapest National Opera and then worked there as a vocal pedagogue.

Chronology of some appearances

1912 Miskolc Opera House  
1913 Budapest National Opera
1928 Berlin Städtische Oper
1930 Bayreuth Festival
1932 Budapest National Opera


Parlophon, Berlin 1928-04-25
Prophète (Meyerbeer): Herr, dich in den Sternenkreisen (w. chorus) O-6809 xxB8063

Parlophon, Berlin 1928/1929
Lohengrin (Wagner): Mein lieber Schwan P9635-II 20736

Tannhäuser (Wagner): Inbrunst im Herzen LWX WAX5716

Jun 29, 2014

Otakar Mařák (Tenor) (Esztergom 1872 – Prague 1939)


                                                                Don Jose

He studied at the Prague Conservatory with Parsova-Zikesova. He made his debut in the title role of Charles Gounod’s opera ‘’Faust’’ on 1 February 1899 in Brno, Czech Republic. In the same year he was engaged by the National Theatre in Prague. From 1901, he performed abroad. He was a regular member of the National Theatre between 1899–1901 and again in 1903–1907. Thereafter he sang on this first Czech stage as a permanent guest. In 1907 he left for Paris, where he continued to school his voice. In 1903, Marak was engaged by the Hofper in Viennna. Due the initiative of Gustav Maler, in 1906, he became soloist at the Berlin Komische Opera. In 1908, Ottokar Marak made a successful debut at Covent Garden. There, he sang José, Turiddu, and Canio. In 1911, he shared the role of Gennaro in the new opera by Wolf-Ferrari "The Secret the Madonna" and also sang in the première of Ferruccio Busoni's ‘’Die Brautwahl’’ (1912, Hamburg). In 1913 he was the first London Bacchus (‘’Ariadne auf Naxos’’), and the following year he sang in Chicago as Parsifal in the local première of Richard Wagner's opera. He made guest appearances in Paris, Munich, Hamburg and Brussels. Following World War I, he became an American citizen and went on to teach in the country between 1934–1937. A brain seizure in 1937 forced his to return to Prague where he died two years later. He especially excelled in Smetana parts such as Jeník in ‘’The Bartered Bride’’, ‘’Dalibor’’, Ladislav Podhajský in The ‘’Two Widows’’, Lucas in ‘’The Kiss’’ as well as in traditional world repertory which saw Marak play Don Ottavio in ‘’Don Giovanni’’, Massenet’s ‘’Werther’’, Cavaradossi in ‘’Tosca’’ and Alfred Germont in ‘’La Traviata’’. He often took on the role of Don José in Bizet’s ‘’Carmen’’. He is one of the first singers of the time to sing in a full recording of ‘’Pagliacci’’ for Odeon. Marak like his fellow country person, Emmy Destinn, was one of the few Czech singers of the Golden Age to have international careers. Sadly, Marak spent much of his later years in poverty, counting on his American friends to send him cigarettes.

Chronology of some appearances

1899 Brno Opera House
1899 Prague National Theatre
1903 Vienna Hofper
1906 Berlin Komische Opera
1908 London Covent Garden


Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Un  tal gioco 72103 6978b

Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Vesti la giubba  X29057 xV 1537
Werther (Massenet): Ah! Non mi ridestar 48317 xB 4591
Traviata (Verdi): De miei bollenti spiriti X29056 xV 1542
Ugonotti (Meyerbeer): Qui sotto il ciel  38387
Ugonotti (Meyerbeer): Bianca al par 99268
Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky): Lontan, lontan da me  X29060 xV 1539

Prodana Nevesta (Smetana): Verne milovani with Emmy Destinn  074005 286ac
Tosca (Puccini): Amaro sol per te with Eva Plaschke-von der Osten  044194 2297c
Tosca (Puccini): Qual occhio al mondo with Eva Plaschke-von der Osten 044193 2297 c
Carmen (Bizet): Seguidilla with Ottilie Metzger  044157 454m
Ma dívenka jak ruze jest, pisen  (Zd. Fibich) 2-72059 12729u
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): O Lola 2-72058 12726u

Dobru Noc (Dvorak)  B 427 106646
Kdyz jsem ja jel 53539
O Nasi Lasce (Dvorak) B 427 106647

Carmen (Bizet): Il fior  B. 13572-II 39384
Dalibor (Smetana): Kdyz zdenek  muj B. 13572-I 39383

Wictor (Viktor) Brégy (Tenor) (Kiev 1903 – Warsaw 1976)



His family was of Polish origin and in 1920 went from Ukraine to Warsaw. Here he studied at the university and trained his voice primarily with Maria Lubkowska and Adela Comte-Wilgacka. In 1927 he joined to the Opera House in Warsaw and sang there as the first tenor during the following four years. In 1931 he was engaged by the Opéra-Comique in Paris (debut as Gérald in ‘’Lakmé’’ of Delibes) to which he belonged till 1933. In the 1933-1939 seasons he appeared primarily in Swiss Theatres. He sang at the Municipal Theatres in Bern, Zurich and Basel and also had a successful career as a concert singer. In 1933 he appeared at the Vienna State Opera, then in the 1935-1936 season as a guest at the Vienna People's Opera. Also he made guest appearances at Berlin, Prague and Stockholm. During the Second World War he stayed at Warsaw and was a major force in rebuilding Polish musical life. In 1945 he became a professor at the Chopin Conservatoire in Warsaw. Then he was the director of the Warsaw Opera. In 1946 he gave in Bern (Switzerland) a concert. In 1950 he founded an opera studio in Gdansk (Gdansk). Since 1957 he was a professor of the music college in Warsaw.

Chronology of some appearances

1927 Warsaw Opera House
1931 Paris Opéra-Comique
1933 Vienna State Opera
1935 Vienna People's Opera


Syrena, 1930

Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Viva il vino spumeggiante 
Halka (Moniuszko): Duo with Helena Lipowska 

Odeon, 1945
Straszny Dwór (Moniuszko): Arja z kurantem P1 O. 236121 a. Wo658
Straszny Dwór (Moniuszko): Arja z kurantem P2 P1 O. 236121 b. Wo 659
Halka (Moniuszko): Szumia Jodly  O.236120  Wo 657-2/656 

Jun 28, 2014

Fritz Vogelstrom (Tenor) (Westfalen 1882 - Dresden 1963)



He made his debut (1903) in Mannheim as Tamino (''Die Zauberflöte'') where he remained until 1912. From 1912 through 1929 (the year he retired) he was a member of the Dresden Hofoper. He sang Parsifal, Lohengrin, and Frohe (''Das Rheingold'') at the 1909 Bayreuth Festival. He was especially admired by Cosima Wagner.

Chronology of some appearances

1903 Mannheim Opera House
1908 Dresden Opera House
1909 Bayreuth Festival
1909 Vienna Opera House
1910 Berlin Opera House
1911 Nürnberg Opera House


Odeon, Berlin 1910
Lohengrin (Wagner): Das süße Lied verhallt with Hafgren-Waag 99660 xB5155

Parlophon, Berlin 1910/1911
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Scherzet immer P289 P370
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Hüll dich in Tand nur P289 P371

Odeon, Berlin 1911?
Juive (Halévy): Kehr o Gott, uns'rer Vater 51069 xB5617
Boheme (Puccini): Wie eiskalt 52134 xB4832

Parlophon, Berlin 1911
Lohengrin (Wagner): Lohengrins Abschied P284 P525
Lohengrin (Wagner): Grals-Erzählung P284 P526

Parlophon, Berlin 1912-02-19
Siegfried (Wagner): Notung, Notung, neidliches Schwert P1194 2-1194

Franz Gruber (Tenor) (München 1882 – München 1932)

He received his  education as an actor in his birthplace Munich and made his debut in 1900 at the Munich People's Theatre. In 1901-1902 season he was engaged by the Thalia Theatre in Saarbrucken. At that time he also studied singing and in 1902 made his debut at the Municipal Theatre in Regensburg and was engaged already in 1903 by the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in Munich, where he distinguished himself above all as a successful operetta tenor. After additional training in 1915 he appeared at the Bayerische Hofoper  in Munich, where he sang the role of Manrico in ‘’Trovatore’’ as a beginning role. Here on 28. 3. 1916 he sang in the premiere of the opera ‘’Violanta’’ of E. W.  Korngold in the part of Alfonso. He sang there also Hoffmann in ‘’Hoffmanns Erzählungen’’, José in ‘’Carmen’’ and Pedro in ‘’Tiefland’’ of E. d'Albert as well as in 1918 in the premiere of Paul Graener’s opera ‘’Theophanu’’. In 1921 he joined to the Landestheater in Dessau, where he also appeared in R. Wagner’s operas. In the 1924-1926 seasons he was engaged by the Landestheater in Hannover. At the Municipal Theatre in Nuremberg he sang from 1926 up to his retirement in 1932. Between 1927 and 1929 he appeared several times as a guest at the Vienna State Opera. In 1932 he had undertaken a tour through Holland. 

Chronology of some appearances

1902 Regensburg Municipal  Theatre

1903 Munich Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz 

1915 Bayerische Hofoper

1921 Dessau Landestheater 

1924 Hannover Landestheater 


Favorite, München 1907-05?
Lustige Witwe (Lehár): Lippen schweigen, 's flüstern Geigen  1-15520 2719-o
Lustige Witwe (Lehár): O Vaterland... Da geh' ich zu Maxim  1-15521 2720-o

Favorite, München 1908-03-09
Lohengrin (Wagner): O Elsa 1-15608 4526-o
Walküre (Wagner): Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond 1-15611 4529-o

Jun 27, 2014

Johannes Reinhardt (Tenor) (Amsterdam 1867- Apeldoorn 1943)

His real name was Johannes Reinhardt Schulze. Probsbly he made his debut in 1896 at the Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam as Kunz Vogelsang in ''Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg''. 

Chronology of some appearances

1896 Amsterdam Opera House Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Kunz Vogelsang)
1899 Amsterdam Opera House Les Huguenots (Bois-Rosé)
1899 Amsterdam Opera House Roméo et Juliette (Benvolio)
1899 Amsterdam Opera House Aida (Messenger)
1900 Amsterdam Opera House Meistersingern  (David)
1901 Amsterdam Opera House Les Huguenots (Bois-Rosé)
1902 Amsterdam Opera House Lakme (Gerald)
1902 Amsterdam Opera House Hoffmanns Erzählungen (Hoffmann)
1902 Amsterdam Opera House Zauberflöte (Tamino)
1902 Amsterdam Opera House  Mignon (Wilhelm Meister)
1902 Amsterdam Opera House Trovatore (Manrico)
1903 Amsterdam Opera House Traviata (Alfredo)
1916 Amsterdam Opera House Faust (Faust)
1917 Amsterdam Opera House Faust (Faust)


Zonophone, Wien 1908
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti): Sextett with Kiurina, Melms, Stehmann, von Kellersperg and Ritter X-24393 12831u
Guillaume Tell (Rossini): O Mathilde with Melms X-24438 12838u
Rigoletto (Verdi): Quartett with Kiurina, Melms and von Kellersperg  X-24392 12840u
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Nein, nein, Turiddu with Hilgermann X-24439 12972u

Pathé, Wien 1910?
Rigoletto (Verdi): Quartett with Pohlner, Paalen and Schwarz 51175
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Ihr Wangenpaar 51176
Traviata (Verdi): Komm, lass' uns fliehen with Pohlner 51181

Odeon, Wien 1910?
Carmen (Bizet); Cavatine des Don Jose 51108 63016
Tosca (Puccini): E lucevan le stelle 63112 
Martha (Flotow): Ach so fromm 63121

Trovatore (Verdi): Di quella pira

Jun 26, 2014

Béla Környei (Tenor) (Krumau 1875 - Budapest 1925)

He was known as a Hungarian Caruso. He was a pupil of Iso Barna at Budapest and began his theatrical activity in 1896 at the Opera House in Debrecen as a Chorist in the baritone field. In 1898 he was already a soloist and then was engaged in the 1900-1903 seasons by the Opera House in Temesvar (Timisoara). After a retraining to the heroic tenor by F. Mancio and E. Gärtner at Vienna he made his second debut in 1907 at the Budapest People's Opera in the tenor part of Don José in ‘’Carmen’’. In 1908 he was appointed to the Budapest National Opera in which he remained up to his death. He became known as an interpreter of Wagner's operas. In 1915 he appeared as a guest at the German Theatre in Prague. In the 1915-1918 seasons he belonged to the ensemble of the Vienna Court Opera. Here he sang on 16. 10. 1916 in the premiere of the new performance of ‘’Ariadne auf Naxos’’ (Richard Strauss) in the role of Bacchus. In 1919 he sang at the Budapest Opera the role of Bacchus in the première of the same opera. In 1923 he undertook a South America tour. At the height of his career he died quite suddenly.

Chronology of some appearances

1896-1899 Debrecen Opera House
1900-1903 Temesvar Opera House
1907 Budapest People's Opera
1908 Budapest National Opera
1915 Prague German Theatre
1915-1918 Vienna Court Opera
1919 Budapest National Opera


Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Vesti la giubba 58031
Tosca (Puccini): E lucevan le stelle 58693
Carmen (Bizet): Il fior 58694
Trovatore (Verdi): Di quella pira 58695
Fanciulla del West (Puccini): Ch’ella mi creda 58696
Aida (Verdi): Nel fiera anelito 58981
Aida (Verdi): Celeste Aida 58981
Aida (Verdi): Misero appien mi festi 58982
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Un tal gioco 58983
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Compar Alfio 58984
Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni): Addio alla madre 58985

Lohengrin (Wagner): Merce, merce D1394
Lohengrin (Wagner): S’ei torna alfin D1394

Walkure (Wagner): Cede il verno  4-102705

Carmen (Bizet): Il fior 1405

Janós Halmos (Tenor) (Arad 1887 – Budapest 1961)

Basically he was an autodidact. First he was a member of choir at the Opera House of Arad. After he had been engaged first by the smaller Hungarian theatres, he became in 1928 a successor of the tenor Béla Környei at the Budapest  National Opera. Here he appeared till 1950 as the first tenor. In 1931 he took part in Budapest in the premiere of the opera ''The Mask'' of Jenö Hubay. He had significant success at guest performances at the Teatro Alla Scala, at the Opera House of Wroclaw and in Florence. His famous roles included the Pollione in Bellini's ''Norma'', José in ''Carmen'' and the Bánk Bán in the opera of the same name of  F. Erkel. Especially popularly he became by his appearance as  Kálmán in ''Hochzeit im Fasching'' of Poldini. He had a very expressive tenor voice of shining timbre. He made only four records for Gramophone.

Chronology of appearances

1928-1950 Budapest  National Opera


Gramophone, Budapest 1931-11-05
Farsangi lakodalom Kálmán diák áriája (Poldini-Vajda Jeno) HU19 70-2155
Trovatore (Verdi): Di quella pira
Bánk Bán (Erkel): Hazám, hazám HU19 70-2156