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Erich Kunz (1909 - 1995)

Having studied singing at the Vienna Academy of Music with Theodor Leirhammer and Hans Duhan, Erich Kunz made his debut as Osmin / Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Troppau, in Silesia, in 1933 (some suggest this was 1935). He sang in the chorus at the Glyndebourne Festival during the summer of 1936, and for one performance replaced the director Carl Ebert in the speaking part of the Pasha Selim, again in Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail. After stints with the Plauen and Breslau Operas he joined the Vienna State Opera, with which he was to be closely associated throughout his career, in 1940.

At the Salzburg Festival Kunz first appeared in 1941 as Masetto / Don Giovanni (also in 1942). He returned frequently, as Figaro / Le nozze di Figaro (1946–1947, 1953–1958, 1960); Guglielmo / Così fan tutte (1947, 1953–1957); Leporello / Don Giovanni (1950); Papageno / Die Zauberflöte (1950–1952, 1955); Harlequin / Ariadne auf Naxos (1955); Faninal / Der Rosenkavalier (1960) and as one of the Jews in Salome (1977–1978). At Bayreuth Kunz became the youngest artist ever to appear in a major role at the Festival when he sang Beckmesser in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in 1943. He returned in the same role when Bayreuth reopened in 1951.



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