Helmut Krebs


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(b Dortmund, 8 Oct 1913; d Dahlem, 30 Aug 2007). German tenor. After studies at the Dortmund conservatory and the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, he made his stage début in 1938 at the Berlin Grosse Volksoper. Following a spell at Düsseldorf from 1945, he joined the Deutsche Oper (Berlin) in 1947, remaining there until his retirement over 40 years later. In 1953 he made his British début as Belmonte (Entführung) and Idamantes (Idomeneo) at Glyndebourne. The following year he sang Aaron in the first performance (unstaged), in Hamburg, of Moses und Aron, and later appeared in the premières of H. W. Henze's König Hirsch (1956) and Der junge Lord (1965). He also sang at Covent Garden, La Scala and the Vienna Staatsoper. He was made Kammersänger in 1963. Outside opera, Krebs's evenly controlled technique, wide vocal range, expressive declamation and highly individual timbre were well suited to Baroque music and lieder. He sang the title role in a recording of Claudio Monteverdi's Orfeo under August Wenzinger, and made many recordings of J. S. Bach's cantatas and Henze's Der junge Lord. His interpretations of the Evangelist in Bach's Passions have been especially admired. Late in his career he recorded music by Bach, W. A. Mozart and Hugo Wolf for the BBC. He began teaching at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik in 1957, and at the Frankfurt Hochschule für Musik in 1966. In 1988 he returned to the Deutsche Oper to sing in Leoš Janáček's From the House of the Dead.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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