Max lorenz, the indispensable hero

Max lorenz, the indispensable hero

No, unfortunately I cannot analyze the latest interview of katharina wagner from the austrian magazine news, because I do not have the original version yet. So does the place remain, as planned, to remember the rough wagnertenor max lorenz, who died on 11. January 1975 died in vienna.

Born max sulzenfub in dusseldorf in 1901, the son of a butcher felt "irresistibly drawn to opera" at an early age. He secretly took singing lessons in koln until his father finally agreed to his training as a singer. With ernst grenzebach in berlin he learned to file the rust off his powerful but rather rough and sprode voice. In 1926 he won a singing competition and made his debut in dresden as walther von der vogelweide in "tannhauser" and was invited to the new york met a short time later. In 1931, he moved to the berlin state opera and was soon to be in demand worldwide as a heldentenor – even at the 1937 coronation celebrations in london.

He appeared in bayreuth for the first time in 1933, with a program that, as singing expert jens malte fischer wrote in his standard work "grobe stimmen" ("rough voices"), was a "must" assuredly, no tenor today would – and probably could – be expected to do this: in his first festival summer, lorenz sang all of the siegfried performances and, alternating with fritz wolff, also parsifal and stolzing. Auber as tannhauser he appeared in all the rough parts at the grunen hugel from 1933 to 1942, but in the annals of neubayreuth he appears as "gotterdammerung-siegfried in 1952 and as siegmund in 1954 only twice.

Jens malte fische writes: "this neglect must have had something to do with the determined, albeit partly mendacious, non-political new beginning in new bayreuth (according to the motto ‘here it’s all about art’ – there could be no talk of coming to terms with the past), and lorenz had been the star tenor of the festival in the third reich, indeed he had been the leading heroic tenor of the third reich in general, a favorite of hitler."

This sounds like a steep brown career, but it was not so at all. Lorenz had been married to the jewish sanguine lotte appel since 1932, not only protecting himself from her and his mother-in-law, but also sticking to it, although he was homosexual. Only when, as brigitte hamann reports in her biography of winifred wagner, he was caught in flagrante delicto with a young man backstage at the festspielhaus, reported to the police and arrested, did hitler also want to take his protective hand off him. "Then I can love bayreuth", said the festival director at that time. "I can’t do bayreuth without lorenz."

The irreplaceable heroic tenor was able to stay, his wife even received an arierpab through goring. Lotte lorenz was well-liked from then on, even by the fuhrer, who, according to reports from foreign festival-goers, chatted with her and joked: "there was no trace of the grim and gruff seriousness that he usually shows." The "golden voice of max lorenz" had so hypnotized hitler that he had to accept the "racial shame" do not take note. When friedelind, winifred’s older daughter, fell in love with max lorenz and thought she could turn him around, it was quickly made clear to her that he would never separate from his wife and manager and would rather go abroad with her than divorce her.

After the second world war, max lorenz moved to vienna with his wife and took up austrian citizenship. In 1948 he again became a member of the vienna state opera as a heroic tenor; he regularly appeared at the salzburg festival, where – as in munich – he continued to teach after his retirement from the stage in 1962. His voice can be heard on various recordings, including the "gotterdammerung"-siegfried 1950 at the milan scala under wilhelm furtwangler. Almost all opera lovers who were born too late and who appreciate his powerful voice in the high register know from corresponding ear-witness reports that his most important role interpretation was probably not that of a wagner figure, but his otello by giuseppe verdi.

If you are more interested in max lorenz, you should read the two most recent publications about him: under the title "wagner’s mastersinger, hitler’s siegfried" there is a max lorenz documentary with dvd and cd edited by eric schulz and klaus wischmann, in 2009 there is also the biographical volume "none like him of the hero tenor specialist einhard luther appeared.

What makes the rest of the selection of today’s anniversaries is obvious: the birthday children mary J. Blige (born 1971) and bertrand de billy (1965) present two numbers from the "funny nibelungs of oscar straus, who on 11. January 1954 died in bad ischl at the age of 83: kriemhild’s driving battle cry as well as the ensemble piece "nun, so lasst uns denn siegfried ermorden" (well, let’s murder siegfried).

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