The German bass, Hans Franzen, had worked initially as a textile buyer, before he began training his voice, first with R. Capellmann in Bielefeld, then in 1958-1961 at the Musikhochschule of Köln, where he was pupil of Heinz Marten. He completed his training at the in the Opernstudio of Köln.
From 1962 to 1971 Hans Franzen was a member of Opera House of Köln, where his debut was as Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro. From 1971 to 1973 he appeared at the Theater of Kiel, then from 1973 to 1975 at the Nationaltheater of Mannheim. In 1975 he was engaged at the Opera House of Zurich, whose member he remained up to his death. He was also at the Deutschen Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf-Duisburg, at the Staatsoper of Hamburg, at the Opera Houses of Essen, Frankfurt a.M., Dortmund, Wuppertal, at the Staatsoper of Stuttgart, at the Landestheatern in Wiesbaden and Saarbrücken, in Karlsruhe and the Festival of Bayreuth (1968-1970 as Hans Foltz in Meistersingern).
In 1982 Hans Franzen appeared as a guest at the Komischen Oper Berlin, as Osmin in Entführung aus dem Serail. He made guest appearances also at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, at the Grand Opéra Paris, at the Operas of Bordeaux and Luettich, at the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam and at the Holland Festival, at the Teatro Verdi in Triest, in Barcelona and at the State Opera of Vienna (1970 as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor). In 1989 he appeared as a guest at the State Opera of Munich in Tchaikovsky’s Jungfrau von Orléans. At the Salzburg Festival he in 1986 in the premiere of the opera Die schwarze Maske by K. Penderecki, in concert performances of the operas Der Prozess by G. von Einem (1988) and Orpheus und Eurydike by E. Krenek (at the 90 birthday of the composer, 1990), in addition smaller roles in the Zauberflöte (1991) and in Frau ohne Schatten by R. Strauss (1992). In 1992 he appeared at the Staatstheater in Karlsruhe as Ochs in Rosenkavalier.
Hans Franzen sang an extensive stage repertoire, including opera roles as Leporello in Don Giovanni, Osmin in Entführung aus dem Serail, Sarastro in Zauberflöte, Rocco in Fidelio, King Philipp in Verdi’s Don Carlos, Pater Guardian in La forza del destino, Zaccaria in Nabucco, Fiesco in Simon Boccanegra, Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, King Arkel in Pelléas et Mélisande and the bass heroes of the Wagner repertoire, with Daland in Fliegenden Holländer and Gurnemanz in Parsifal as the its high points. In addition he was an estimated concert and oratorio bass singer.
Recordings: Telefunken (Nettuno in Il Ritorno d'Ulisse and Caronte in Orfeo by Monteverdi). On the same label he also appeared in the dramatic cantata Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda by Monteverdi. Also recordings on Capriccio (Der Zar läßt sich photographieren, Sieben Todsünden and Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny by K. Weill), Koch Records (Undine by E.T.A. Hoffmann, Kleider machen Leute by Zemlinsky), Denon (Gurrelieder by Arnold Schoenberg).