Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Apr 5, 2016

Waldemar Henke (Tenor) (born March 24, 1876 Königsberg/Kaliningrad, Russia; died circa 1945)

First he became an actor and began career in 1896 at the Municipal Theater in Poznan. Then, after short education under the pedagogue Muschler in Berlin he began his opera career in 1898 at the Municipal Theater of Poznan. He remained till 1901 there and then was engaged in the 1901-1911 seasons by the Court Theater in Wiesbaden, where he took part in 1905 in the premiere of the opera ‘’Die Barbarina’’ by Otto Neitzel. The Emperor Wilhelm II, who heard him in Wiesbaden, entered for his appearances at the Berlin Court Opera (1911). At this opera house (since 1918 Berlin State Opera), were he appeared as the first tenor Buffo and character tenor, sang the following parts: David in ‘’Meistersingern’’, Mime im Nibelungenring, Pedrillo in ‘’Entführung aus dem Serail’’, Monostatos in ‘’Zauberflöte’’ and many other parts. In 1911 he took over at the Berlin première of R.Strauss’s opera ‘’Rosenkavalier’’ as Valzacchi. In 1925 he perfomed also in the premiere of Alban Berg’s ‘’Wozzeck’’.  In 1926 he sang in the première of the opera ‘’The Love for Three Oranges’’by S. Prokofiev. In the 1928-1931 seasons he appeared at the Kroll Opera in Berlin. During the 1920’s he guested with the ensemble of the Berlin state opera in Holland, Spain and Switzerland. He joined the German Opera Company puted together by the famous Johanna Gadski and appeared with this opera company during the USA tour as Mime (1928). Beside his work on the stage he was a highly respected concert and oratorio singer (soloist in the 9-th symphony of Beethoven). Since 1936 he worked as stage manager. During the Second World War, together with his friend Cornelis Bronsgeest, he often appeared before German front-line soldiers. In 1944 he went to live in Königsberg. 

Chronology of some appearances

1896-1901 Poznan Municipal Theater
1901-1911Wiesbaden Court Theater
1911-1928 Berlin Court Opera
1928-1931 Berlin Kroll Opera


Lohengrin (Wagner): Gralserzählung B. 3548-II
Lohengrin (Wagner): Lohengrins Ankunft B. 3548-I

Gramophone, Berlin 1912-10-07

Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner): Johannistag! Johannistag! with von Scheele-Müller & chorus 3-44097 1580ak
Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner): Was macht ihr denn da? with chorus 4-42526 1581ak
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Soldatenchor with chorus 4-42530 1583ak

Gramophone, Berlin 1912-11-12

Muette de Portici (Auber): Schlummerlied  65147 308al
Muette de Portici (Auber): Barcarole with chorus  65147 309al
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): O Colombina (Ständchen) 4-42531 1859ak

Gramophone, Berlin 1913-04-29
Mignon (Thomas): Leb' wohl, Mignon 042412 414al
Barbier von Bagdad (Cornelius): Er kommt, er kommt with van Endert & von Scheele-Müller 044237 413al

Grammophon, Berlin 1915
Siegfried (Wagner): Fühltest du nie im finst'ren Wald with Kraus 3-44124 17833L
Siegfried (Wagner): Folge mir nur with Kraus 3-44125 17834L

Grammophon, Berlin 1915-02
Alessandro Stradella (Flotow): An dem linken Strand des Tiber (Banditen-Duett) with Knüpfer 044274 803m
Fra Diavolo (Auber): Banditen-Duett with Knüpfer 044275  804m

Grammophon, Berlin 1915-04
Siegfried (Wagner): Wir sind zur Stelle with Kraus 3-44121 17703L
Siegfried (Wagner): Doch heisse mich das with Kraus 3-44122 17704L
Undine (Lortzing): Im Wein ist Wahrheit with Knüpfer 3-44123  17713L

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