(b Berlin, 9 March 1881; d Bremerhaven, 20 June 1944). German tenor. He studied in Vienna and later with Jean De reszke in Paris. In 1900 he made his début at the Vienna Staatsoper, and from 1905 to 1913 was principal dramatic tenor at Dresden, where he created Aegisthus in Elektra (1909). In 1910 he was admired at Covent Garden as an excellent Loge and Siegmund, adding Parsifal, Lohengrin and Walther in 1914. His mezza voce was the subject of special praise, and the lyric beauty of his voice was again noticed when he sang the title role of Adrien Méhul's Joseph in its London première. At the Metropolitan he enjoyed a notable success, first as Parsifal (1914), then as Tamino, Florestan and Adolar (Carl Maria von Weber's Euryanthe). He showed further versatility in the following seasons, turning from Siegfried to Pylades (Iphigénie en Tauride) and in 1920 learning the Wagnerian repertory in English as required in the immediate postwar years. Sembach returned to New York at the Mecca Temple (later the City Center) in 1931 and also made successful appearances in South America. On stage he presented a more credible hero than most Wagnerian tenors and on records his voice is heard as a strong, incisive instrument, often attractively used.
From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.