Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Emanuel List Sings a Rumbling Patriotic Song
Emanuel List (1888-1967) was one of the most important German basses at the Metropolitan Opera during the WWII period, chalking up 449 performances in the house between 1933 and 1950. A Jewish son of a tailor and born in Vienna, his real name was Emanual Fleissig. He learned to sing in the synagogues of Vienna and joined the chorus of the Theater an der Wien in his teens. He next joined a quartet which toured Europe, Australia and New Zealand, winding up in New York studying with the vocal pedagogue Josiah Zuro. To make ends meet, he sung in the local movie theatres during the showing of silent films. He returned to Austria in 1921 and made his debut at the Vienna Volksoper in 1922. The following year, he was hired by the Berlin Staditsche Oper and the Berlin Staatsoper in 1924. He stayed as house bass at the Staatsoper until 1933 and interestingly he sung at the Bayreuth Festspiele that Summer. He left Germany for America with a contract to sing at the Metropolitan Opera which was to be his srtistic home until 1950. The bass also was a great favorite as a guest in Vienna, London, Paris, Buenos Aires and Chicago during his long career. After his return to his beloved Vienna, and in the final years of his career, List sung lieder concerts in Germany and Austria through 1952. He is buried in the Jewish section of the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna.
The recording you are about to hear is interesting, as it was utilized as a patriotic rallying song during WWI in Austria. The lied is entitled "Andreas Hofer" and it concerns the real life rebel of the same name, Tirolean innkeeper who rebelled against Napoleon's army. Knebelsberger also wrote a march of the same name which was used through WWII, substantially different from the lied. List was fiercely loyal to Austria and when he had a choice whether to retire in the United States, or Austria, he returned home.