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Michael Bohnen (1887 - 1965)

The German bass-baritone Michael Bohnen (1887-1965) was born in Berlin, studying with Fritz Steinbach and Schulz-Dornburg. After making his debut as Caspar in Weber’s Der Freischütz in Düsseldorf in 1910, he sang at the Royal Opera in Berlin the following year (where he sang regularly until 1919) before joining the opera at Wiesbaden for the 1912-13 season. His first British appearance was in 1914 at the Theatre Drury Lane season under Beecham, singing Ochs (Die Rosenkavalier) and Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte). He also appeared at the Bayreuth Festival later that year. Bohnen’s successful American debut was at the Metropolitan Opera in March 1923, an occasion which led to him singing in that house for the ensuing ten seasons. Thereafter he sang at the Städtische Oper Berlin from 1933 until 1945, when he became its administrator for two years. His roles included King Mark (Tristan und Isolde), Rocco (Fidelio), Hagen (Götterdämmerung), Wotan (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried), Daland (Der fliegende Holländer), Hunding (Die Walküre), Scarpia (Tosca) and Gurnemanz (Parsifal). He also acted Ochs in the silent film version of Der Rosenkavalier, made in 1925.



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