Kálmán Pataky


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(b Alsólendva, 14 Nov 1896; d Los Angeles, 3 March 1964). Hungarian tenor. After little serious study, he made his début at the Budapest Opera in 1922, as the Duke of Mantua, which led to an invitation to sing under Franz Schalk at the Vienna Staatsoper in 1926. Until the Nazi invasion of Austria, Vienna remained his base, although he often sang in Budapest and abroad (usually as Koloman von Pataky), notably at the Paris Opéra (1928), Glyndebourne (1936), La Scala (1940), Stockholm and, frequently, at the Colón, Buenos Aires. He sang Florestan under Arturo Toscanini at Salzburg in 1936. He spent the war in Hungary, returning to the Colón for a few performances in 1946. Pataky was not an accomplished actor, but his classically beautiful voice and thorough understanding of style (developed largely during his years in Vienna), his wide cultural background and gift for musical characterization made him one of the leading W. A. Mozart tenors; he was an outstanding Don Ottavio, Belmonte and Tamino. Other roles included Giacomo Puccini's Rodolfo and Des Grieux, and (though he was perhaps less well suited to these heroic roles) Radames, Cavaradossi and Turiddu. Pataky's sweet tone and refined technique are well displayed in his recording of Don Ottavio in Fritz Busch's Glyndebourne Don Giovanni.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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