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Alfred Hertz (1872 - 1942)

Alfred Hertz studied music at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt an der Oder, before taking up a series of posts at various theatres across Germany, as was the common career pattern at this time: Halle (1891–1892), Altenburg (1892–1895), Barmen-Elberfeld (1895–1899) and Breslau (1899–1902); in addition he conducted concerts in London during 1899. In 1902 he was invited to take over the German repertoire of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, retaining responsibility for this repertoire, as well as for all new works by American composers, for thirteen years. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera with Lohengrin, and at the end of 1903 conducted the first performances of Parsifal outside Bayreuth, to the anger of Cosima Wagner. Short extracts from several of Hertz’s Wagner performances at the Met were recorded at the beginning of 1903 by the company’s librarian, Lionel Mapleson, on cylinder machines located in the flies above the stage. In all, Hertz conducted twenty-seven different operas at the Met, including the world première of Humperdinck’s Königskinder, and the first American performances of Richard Strauss’s Salome and Der Rosenkavalier; and shared the 1908 season with both Toscanini and Mahler. He also conducted at Covent Garden, successfully leading there Götterdämmerung, Tannhäuser and Tristan und Isolde in 1910 and Parsifal in 1914.




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