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Verena Gohl (Contralto)

Born: July 6, 1925 - Winterthur, Switzerland

The Swiss contralto, Verena Gohl, studied with Annelies Gamper in Winterthur, with Melitta Hirzel in Zürich, and since 1955 with Sylvia Gaehwiller in Winterthur. In addition, she studied music theory with Ernst Hess at the conservatory of Winterthur.

Verena Gohl appeared on the opera stage only rarely, including at the theatre of Luzern as Dorabella in Così fan tutte. However, since 1945 she became one of most well-known Swiss concert singers of her generation. Her concert repertoire was very extensive and included works of Antonio Vivaldi (Gloria), Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (Stabat Mater), J.S. Bach (Matthäus (BWV 244) and Johannes (BWV 245) Passions, Weihnachts-Oratorium (BWV 248), Cantatas, Mass in B minor (BWV 232)), George Frideric Handel (Messiah and more oratorios), J. Haydn, Mozart, L.v. Beethoven (9th Symphony, Missa Solemnis), Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn (Elias, Paulus), Johannes Brahms (Alto Rhapsody), Franz Liszt (Oratorio Christus, Hungarian Coronation Mass), Bruckner (Te Deum, Masses), R. Wagner (Wesendonck-Lieder), Verdi (Requiem) and Gustav Mahler (Lied von der Erde). But she also gladly appeared as soloist in modern works of Benjamin Britten, Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, E. Hesse, Arthur Honegger, H. Sutermeister, S. Prokofiev, Franc Martin and O. Messiaen.

Verena Gohl's concert career, which lasted until 1980, developed on international level. She sang in the music centres of Switzerland (Zürich, Geneva, Luzern, St. Gallen, Basel, Bern, Winterthur), in Berlin, Freiburg, Hamburg, Kassel, Karlsruhe, Nürnberg and Stuttgart, in Paris and Dieppe, at the Israel Festival in Caesarea, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, in Madrid and Barcelona, in Milan, Bologna and Venezia, in Paris, Brügge and Namur. She could be heard in radio broadcasts in Switzerland, in Germany, in France and in Israel. She was married with the conductor and music pedagogue Willi Gohl (born 1925). Her daughter from this marriage, Verena Barbara Gohl (born 1959), became likewise a well-known mezzo-soprano and had a quite similar career as her mother.

Recordings: Hänssler-Verlag (Bach Cantatas), Bärenreiter-Verlag (Herbstfeuer by C. Beck), Turnabout/FSM ('Musikalischer Ehrenstreitb by Meyer von Schauensee), Disco Jecklin (Notturni of Mozart).


Source: Operissimo Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (July 2001)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2001, October 2004)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Helmuth Rilling


BWV 20, BWV 40, BWV 70, BWV 75, BWV 88, BWV 168

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