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Rene Kollo (b1937)

René Kollo (actual name Kollodzievsky; his grandfather, Walter Kollo and his father Willi, were both operetta and light music composers) grew up in the town of Wyk auf Föhr, the only town on Föhr, the second largest of the North Frisian Islands on the German coast of the North Sea; and although interested in music, studied photography in Hamburg. In the mid-1950s Kollo began playing in jazz clubs as a self-taught drummer, while in Berlin he studied acting with Else Bongers and singing with Elsa Varena, who recognised his talent. His first recording contract, for popular songs, was signed when he was twenty; but it was not until 1965 that he made his operatic debut in Braunschweig, in a triple bill of operas by Stravinsky: Mavra, Renard, and Oedipus Rex. Kollo remained at Braunschweig for two years, singing lyric roles, before moving to the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf.

In 1969 he first appeared at the Bayreuth Festival, singing the Steersman / Der fliegende Holländer. Major roles at Bayreuth quickly followed: Erik / Der fliegende Holländer (1970), Lohengrin (1971),  Walter von Stoltzing / Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1973), Parsifal (1975), Siegfried in the legendary Chereau / Boulez Ring cycle (1976), and Tristan / Tristan und Isolde (1981). Kollo appeared as a guest throughout Germany, notably at Munich and Frankfurt, and made his debut at La Scala, Milan as Matteo / Arabella in 1970.




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