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Josef Greindl (Bass)

Born: December 23, 1912 - Munich, Germany
Died: April 16, 1993 - Vienna, Austria

The German bass, Josef Greindl, studied from 1932 to 1936 at the Münchner Musikakademie with Paul Bender and Anna Bahr-Mildenburg.

In 1936 Josef Greindl made his formal operatic debut as Hunding at the Stadttheater in Krefeld. He remained in Krefeld until 1938 and from 1938 to 1942 sang at the Opernhaus of Düsseldorf, where he took part in 1941 in the premiere of the opera Die Hexe von Passau by Ottmar Gerster. In 1942 he joined the Berlin State Opera under the directorship of Heinz Tietjen, and remained its member until 1948. In 1941 he participated there in the premiere of the opera Das Schloß Dürande by Othmar Schoeck. He 1948 (or 1949) he became a member of the Städische Oper (later Deutsche Oper) Berlin, and remained on its roster until 1970 (altogether 1369 performances), and at the same time was from 1956 to 1969 also a member of the Vienna State Opera.

In the years after World War II, Josef Greindl had a big international career. In 1943 he made his first appearance at the Bayreuth Festival as Pogner in Meistersingern, and returned to sing there regularly from 1951 to 1969. No singer appeared as often at the Bayreuth Festival after World War II as Josef Greindl. He repeated the role of Pogner in 1956-1957 and 1959; he sang in Bayreuth Landgrafen in Tannhäuser (1954-1955, 1961-1962, 1964), Hans Sachs in Meistersingern (1960-1961, 1963-64), Daland in Fliegenden Holländer (1959-1961, 1965), Gurnemanz (1954-1957, 1959-1960, 1962-1964, 1966, 1968-1969), as Titurel in Parsifal (1952-1954, 1958-1959, 1961), King Heinrich in Lohengrin (1953-1954), Marke in Tristan (1958, 1962-1963), Fafner (1952-1955, 1957-1958, 1967), Fasolt (1956, 1966), the Wanderer (1965, 1967-1968) and Hagen (1952-1958, 1965-1969) in Der Ring des Nibelungen. At the Salzburg Festival he made guest appearances from 1949 to 1952 as Sarastro in the Zauberflöte, in 1950 as Rocco in Fidelio and as Commendatore in Don Giovanni, in addition he appeared there as soloist in concerts.

In August 1949 Josef Greindl participated at the Salzburg Festival in the premiere of Carl Orff's Antigonae, in December 1948 at the Städtischen Oper Berlin in Circe by Werner Egk. In 1959 the Städtischen Oper Berlin he took part in the first German stage performance of Moses und Aron by Arnold Schoenberg as Moses. Guest appearances in London and Paris (1955, 1960), in 1963 at London's Covent Garden, at Milan's La Scala and at the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires brought him great successes. In November 1952, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in New York as Heinrich in Wagner's Lohengrin, but remained on the roster for only a season (1952-1953) appearing in only two Wagner roles.

Josef Greindl was considered as one of the greatest Wagner singer of his time. Among his other roles were Sarastro, Don Alfonso, Hans Sachs, and the Wanderer in Siegfried. He had a powerful expressionful bass voice, whose clarity of the declamation had to exhibit like his stylistic projecting ability. Josef Greindl was equally convincing in dramatic and Buffo roles. He also excelled in concert singing.

Since 1961 Josef Greindl was made a professor at the Saarbrücken Hochschule für Musik, and since 1973 he was a professor at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik.

At the Festival of Schwetzingen Josef Greindl participated in 1971 in the premiere of the opera Melusine by Aribert Reimann. In August 1973 he sang at the Salzburg Festivals in the premiere of De temporum fine Comoedia again by C. Orff the Prologue and the choir leader. In 1981 he appeared again at the Deutschen Oper Berlin as Waldner in Arabella by R. Strauss. His daughter Gudrun Greindl Rosner became likewise a stage and a concert singer.

Recordings: DGG (Zauberflöte, Entführung aus dem Serail, Fliegender Holländer, Lulu by Alban Berg, Jahreszeiten); Urania (Martha), Philips (Fliegender Holländer and Hagen in Götterdämmerung from Bayreuth); on the label Melodram several opera recordings including Rheingold and Die Walküre (Bayreuth, 1952) as well as Tannhäuser (Bayreuth, 1954), Meistersinger (Bayreuth 1957) and Parsifal (Bayreuth 1960); several live recordings from Bayreuth on Foyer and Cetra Opera; on CLS Fidelio from Salzburg 1950; on BWS-Hope Zauberflöte from Vienna 1949; on Fonit-Cetra Zauberflöte from Salzburg 1951; on Olympic-Laudis he sings Komtur in Don Giovanni; on Decca Osmin in Entführung aus dem Serail; on Stradivarius/Fono as Moses in Moses und Aron; on RCA in Prometheus by Carl Orff.

Source: Bakerís Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); Operissimo Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (August 2005)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2005)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Wilhelm Furtwängler


BWV 244

Günther Ramin


BWV 243 [1st]

Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt


BWV 232

Links to other Sites

Josef Greindl - Lyric bass (The Bass Site) [French]


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