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Anton Dermota (1910 - 1989)

Anton Dermota was born into a poor family: his father was a nail maker. Both his brothers, Gasper Dermota and Leo Cordes-Dermota, were also to become known as tenors. He entered the Ljubljana Conservatory, initially to study the organ and composition, and gained a scholarship in 1934 to study in Vienna, where he turned to vocal studies as a pupil of Marie Radó. He made his first operatic appearance at Cluj in Transylvania in 1934.

Heard by Bruno Walter soon afterwards, he was invited to sing at the Vienna State Opera, where he made his debut in 1936 as the First Armoured Man / Die Zauberflöte. Immediately offered a permanent contract, his first major role was Alfredo / La traviata in 1937, the year in which he also sang at the Salzburg Festival as Zorn / Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, conducted by Toscanini. He quickly enjoyed further successes, at the Vienna State Opera as Lensky / Eugene Onegin and at the Salzburg Festival of 1938 in two roles that were to become central to his repertoire: Don Ottavio / Don Giovanni and Belmonte / Die Entführung aus dem Serail. The twin operatic centres of Vienna and Salzburg, where he became a great favourite with audiences, were to remain the focus of Dermota’s musical activity for the rest of his life.




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