Ludwig Fischer


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(b Mainz, 18 Aug 1745; d Berlin, 10 July 1825). German bass. He studied the violin and cello, but first attracted attention at the age of 18 with his singing in a church choir and in student operetta in Mainz. He soon received a position at court as a supernumerary, and was noticed by the tenor Anton Raaff with whom he studied after 1770 in Mannheim, and where he created the role of Kaled in Vogler's Der Kaufmann von Smyrna (1771). In 1772 he became virtuoso da camera at the court there (according to the libretto of Antonio Salieri's La fiera di Venezia, 1772) and was given a grant by Elector Carl Theodor to continue his education with Raaff. In February 1775 he took over instruction in singing at the Mannheim Seminarium Musicum. He created the role of Rudolf in Ignaz Holzbauer's serious German opera, Günther von Schwarzburg (1777), and by 1778 he received the highest salary among Mannheim court singers. In that year he moved with the court to Munich, where in 1779 he married Barbara Strasser (b Mannheim, 1758; d after 1825). From 1780 to 1783 the couple worked for the court theatre in Vienna, where Fischer sang Osmin in the first performance of Die Entführung, much to the satisfaction of W. A. Mozart, who frequently wrote about him in his letters and arranged the aria Non so d᾽onde viene (k512) and may have written the recitative and aria Aspri rimorsi atroci (k432/421a) for him. He also created the role of Herr von Bär in Salieri's Der Rauchfaugkehrer (1781). When the Singspiel company was replaced by an Italian opera buffa company in 1783 Fischer went to Paris, where he performed at the Concert Spirituel with much success. He then secured his reputation with a tour of Italy and in 1785 visited Vienna, Prague and Dresden. The couple served the Prince of Thurn and Taxis in Regensburg from 1785 until Fischer received a lifelong appointment in Berlin, with J. F. Reichardt's intervention, in 1789. The title role of Reichardt's Brenno (1789) was the first of many collaborations between Fischer and the composer. From this time on Fischer ceased appearing in comic roles. Guest appearances in London (at Johann Salomon's invitation in 1794 and 1798), Leipzig (1798), Hamburg (1801–2) and elsewhere added to his fame until he gave up public performance in 1812, and retired on a pension in 1815.


From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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