Emil Scaria


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Theodor Reichmann (1849—1903)

Amalie Materna (1844—1918)

Hermann Winkelmann (1849—1912)


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(b Graz, 18 Sept 1838; d Blasewitz, nr Dresden, 22 July 1886). Austrian bass. He studied at the Vienna Conservatory and made his début in 1860 at Budapest as St Bris in Les Huguenots with little success. After further study with Manuel Garcia in London, he made a second début at Dessau, and in 1863 he was engaged at Leipzig and in 1865 at Dresden. His repertory in these early years included Dulcamara in L'elisir d'amore, Falstaff in Otto Nicolai's Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor and Peter the Great in Albert Lortzing's Zar und Zimmermann. Although his powerful voice had the dark colouring of a true bass, its enormous range allowed him to sing baritone roles with equal success. From May 1873 until his death Scaria was engaged at the Vienna Hofoper, where he sang Escamillo in the first performance of Carmen outside France (1875) and the first Vienna Ring cycle (1879). He sang Wotan in the first Berlin Ring cycle, given by Angelo Neumann's company at the Viktoria-theater, in May 1881, and also in the first London cycle at Her Majesty's Theatre, again presented by Neumann, in May 1882. During Act 3 of Die Walküre in London he suffered a breakdown and loss of memory, and, though he got through Siegfried two nights later, his place was taken by Reichmann in the second and third cycles. After a rest, Scaria was able to sing Gurnemanz in the first performance of Parsifal at Bayreuth on 26 July 1882, and to rejoin Neumann's touring Wagner company through Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy, singing Wotan and Rocco in Fidelio. During 1883 he sang King Mark in Tristan und Isolde at both Berlin and Vienna, and returned to Bayreuth to sing Gurnemanz and to produce Parsifal at the first festival held after Wagner's death. The following year he toured the USA in Wagner concerts with Amalie Materna and Hermann Winkelmann, and also sang Gurnemanz in the first concert performance of Parsifal in London, at the Royal Albert Hall on 10 November 1884. Early in 1886 he again suffered a mental breakdown and died insane a few months later.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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