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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Peter Anders - Opera Excerpts (1993)

"PETER ANDERS. OPERA EXCERPTS. Peter Anders (ten) with various artists. Acanta mono (ID 43268 (75 minutes: ADD). From broadcast performances, 1942-52.

"Arias, duets and ensembles from Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, Der Evangelimann, Fidelio, Der Freischutz, Lohengrin, Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Martha, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Undine and Die Zauberflöte.

"Had the war not intervened, the reputation of Peter Anders would surely be even higher than it already is. He had just reached his best years at the outbreak of hostilities and his activities were then restricted for six years to his home house, the Berlin State Opera. After that he had something of an international career, including his unforgettable Walther in Beecham's Die Meistersinger at Covent Garden in 1951 (of which we have two precious reminders here). Then, in 1954, at the age of 46 he was killed in a car crash just as he was about to undertake Lohengrin and Siegmund—a foretaste of what might have been is his 1951 performance of Lohengrin's "In fernem Land". That, as so much else here, derives from the archives of Berlin radio."

Source: Gramophone Archive.

Liner Notes:

"Peter Anders was one of those rare artists who knew the secret of the unusual--a thing that can never be learned..."

These words were spoken by Günther Rennert, the producer and administrative director at the grave of Peter Anders, who, on september 10th, 1954, at the height of his career had died as the result of a car accident. Peter Anders sudden death robbed Germany of one of its most brilliant tenor voices of the last few decades.

Peter Anders was born in Essen on July 1st, 1908. His father, a civil servant, soon afterwards moved with his family to Posen. The child's music talent became apparent quite early on and at the age of twelve, he was given his first violin lessons and allowed to join the church choir as a treble. After the First World War when Posen became part of Poland the Anders family fled to Berlin. Frequent visits to Berlin's three world-famous opera houses soon had their effect on the young Peter Anders; he decided to become an opera singer. To achieve his ambition, however he first had to take a somewhat devious route. The man for whom later the gates to the opera houses of Europe stood open settled down first to train as an accountant, to qualify in a "proper" profession. Music was for the time being just a hobby. Then, at the age of twenty, he began to take his hobby seriously: he decided to take singing lessons. Peter Anders was introduced to the well-known voice teacher Professor Ernst Grenzebach (the teacher of both Alexander and Max Lorenz), who took him on as a pupil. After only two years' training Peter Anders joined the opera class at the Berlin School of Music, where such later celebrities as Elisabeth Höngen and Maria Cebotari were among his fellow pupils. This step, moreover was to prove of consequence not only for his career for it was here that he met his future wife, Susanne Gmeiner daughter of Lula Mysz-Gmeiner, the famous Liederrecitalist. It was Lula Mysz-Gmeiner not only a great contralto but also a fine teacher who gave the final polish to Peter Anders' technique.

He started off singing in the chorus. His particularly beautiful voice, however soon came to the notice of Max Reinhardt, who, as it were, "discovered" him. His career nevertheless, continued modestly at first. In 1932 he was engaged as tenor buffo at Heidelberg Municipal Theatre, his first roles being Pedrillo in "II Seraglio" and Jaquino in "Fidelio." After one season at Heidelberg he went on to Darmstadt. Here he stayed for two years and then took up an engagement at Cologne, this time as a lyrical tenor. The last step before his final leap to fame was an engagement at Hannover where he had the opportunity of extending his repertoire.

1938 was a decisive year for Peter Anders. Clemens Krauss sent for the young tenor to sing at Munich State Opera House. This was the starting point of his meteoric career which took him finally to the state opera house of Berlin and Vienna. Berlin State Opera House in 1940 had the most distinguished ensemble of artists that a singer could wish to be among. Peter Anders
was surrounded by famous names: Marcel Wittrisch, Franz Volker, Helga Rosvaenge and Max Lorenz.

In Berlin Peter Anders was at first given lyrical roles, such as Tamino and Belmonte, but gradually he took over parts like Alfred in "La Traviata," the Duke in "Rigoletto," Linkerton in "Madame Butterfly" and Rudolf in "La Bohème."

It was already becoming apparent that Peter Anders would also, in time, be able to tackle heroic tenor roles. His voice was gaining in brilliance and strength. Nevertheless, Peter Anders was wise enough not to burden his voice with too difficult roles. There have been and still are, in fact, few singers who have used their resources so judiciously as Peter Anders. Cavaradossi in "Tosca"--one of his most brilliant roles--was for the time being his limit. In Berlin and in Dresden, where he subsequently made frequent guest appearances, the lyrical roles became the reserve of PeterAnders (this included numerous roles in rarely performed works such as "Casanova in Murano" by Lortzing and "The Heart" by Pfitzner).

In 1939 Clemens Krauss put on a new production of Richard Strauss' "Daphne" at Munich. Anders sang the part of the young shepherd Leukippos--which earned him the following dedication from the composer himself "To my captivating Leukippos." The cast also included Maria Cebotari, Torsten Ralf and Josef von Manowarda.

In 1943 Peter Anders sang for the first time at the Salzburg Festival--Tamino in "The Magic Flute" under Karl Böhm, together with Maria Reining and Ludwig Weber. Peter Anders' career would now undoubtedly have taken him beyond the limits of his own country, had not Europe's opera houses been overshadowed by the effects of the Second World War.

However, after the war Peter Anders was again in the forefront of musical life. Berlin gave its first two post-war premieres at the "Admirals-palast": "Rigoletto" and "Il Seraglio"--both with Peter Anders. The Berlin blockade and the ensuing confusion made Peter Anders finally decide to take up an engagement at Hamburg Opera House. It was here that he began to sing the more dramatic roles: Alvaro in "The Force of Destiny" and Florestan in "Fidelio," subsequently singing Don José in "Carmen" and--what proved to be another turning point in his career--the title role in Verdi's "Othello." His début as Othello was a sensation. Nobody had believed him capable of this heavy, dramatic role, but finally even the more sceptical critics were speaking in terms of a "world-shaking event."

Particularly worthy of note was his rapid development into a first-rate actor, under the expert guidance of the then director of the Hamburg opera, Günther Rennert. Further heroic parts followed--in particular Stolzing in "The Mastersingers," a part he also sang in London under Sir Thomas Beecham. He became increasingly in demand as a guest artist, appearing at Edinburgh, Vienna, Berlin and Hamburg. His repertoire was now beginning to include the heavy Wagnerian roles, such as Siegmund and the mure dramatic roles in Italian opera, such as André Chénier and Canio. All this he accomplished so successfully that he was already being hailed as the future Lohengrin and Tannhäuser of Bayreuth.

Peter Anders' career had by no means reached its zenith when his car crashed and a few days later he died of his injuries. What remains is the memory of one of the unforgettable voices of the century, a Liedersinger capable of a unique intimacy of style, and a lovable, humorous Man.

Download Link: Enjoy the Music.
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