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Michael Bohnen (1887 - 1965)

Michael Bohnen’s unusual voice, which possessed an extended range covering both the traditional bass and baritone registers, attracted attention while he was still at school. He went on to study singing at the Cologne Conservatory with Fritz Steinbach and Richard Dornburg, making his operatic debut as Kaspar / Der Freischütz at Düsseldorf in 1910 and taking part there in the same year in the first performance of Alfred Kaiser’s opera Stella Maris. Between 1911 and 1914 he was a member of the opera company of the Court Theatre of Wiesbaden. He substituted for a sick Paul Knüpfer as Gurnemanz / Parsifal at the Berlin Court Opera in 1914 with great success and in the same year appeared twice in London: at the Drury Lane Theatre as Baron Ochs / Der Rosenkavalier with Beecham conducting, and at Covent Garden (his only appearance there) as King Henry / Lohengrin. In addition at that year’s Bayreuth Festival he sang Hunding / Die Walküre and Daland / Der fliegende Holländer.




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