Wilhelm Rode


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(b Hanover, 17 Feb 1887; d Icking, nr Munich, 2 Sept 1959). German bass-baritone. He studied in Hanover and made his début in 1908 as the Herald in Lohengrin at Erfurt. After engagements at Bremerhaven, Breslau and Stuttgart, he joined the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich (1922–32), and from 1926 sang with the Deutsches Opernhaus, Berlin, where he took part in the premières of Kurt Weill's Die Bürgschaft and Franz Schreker's Der Schmied von Gent (both 1932). He sang Wotan at Covent Garden (1928), and Count Almaviva and Don Pizarro at Salzburg (1929–32). At the Vienna Staatsoper (1930–33) he sang Scarpia, the four villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann and Simon Boccanegra, as well as the Wagner roles for which he was best known. In 1933 he took over as director of the Deutsches Opernhaus following Max Von Schillings's death, until 1944. Forced to retire in 1945 owing to his political sympathies, he later sang at Regensburg (1949–51). He had a magnificently resonant and warm-toned voice that was heard to best advantage as Hans Sachs, Wotan, Amfortas and the Dutchman, but he never sang at Bayreuth as he was usually engaged during the summer months at the Munich Festival.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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