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Günther Leib (Baritone)

Born: April 12, 1927 - Gotha, Thuringia, Germany

The German baritone, Günther Leib, received instruction in violin playing since 1934, and in 1944-1945, still in the war years, and end of World War II worked as a bricklayer. Then he resumed the violin studies at the Conservatory of Erfurt, and since 1949 was first violinist with the Landeskapelle in Gotha. Followed that singing studied at the Conservatory of Weimar with A. Brockhaus. He received his diploma in 1952 as concert and opera singer as well as a teacher.

Günther Leib made his debut in 1952 at the Theatre of Köthen as Bartolo in more Il Barbiere di Siviglia and sang then at the Theatres of Meiningen and Nordhausen, in 1956-1957 at the Stadttheater of Halle (Saale). In 1957 he was engaged at the Staatsoper of Dresden, and since 1961 he belonged to the Staatsoper of Berlin. He became particularly admitted as an oratorio and Lieder singer. In 1957 he sang Christ in Johannes-Passion (BWV 245) by J.S. Bach under Franz Konwitschny in Italy. In 1958 he gave concerts in Egypt and England. Nearly annually he participated in the Händel Festival off Halle (Saale). In 1974-1975 he sang at the Salzburg Easter Festival the role of Beckmesser in Meistersingern. In 1976 he performed the same role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He gave guest appearances at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, at the Grand Opéra in Paris, at the National Operas of Prague, Budapest and Sofia, at the Staatsoper of Hamburg, in Stockholm and Helsinki. Beside Beckmesser his big gloss role was considered as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte.

From 1964 to 1976 Günther Leib was Professor at Carl Maria v. Weber Musikhochschule in Dresden, and since 1976 at the Musikhochschule of Berlin.

The slim, very mobile voice of Günther Leib can be heard on numerous recordings. He sang on Eterna (complete renditions of the operas Così fan tutte, Zauberflöte, Einstein by Paul Dessau, Deutsches Requiem by J. Brahms, Radamisto and Poro by George Frideric Handel, Lieder cycles Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise by Schubert), Eterna-Electrola (Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Pasquale, La Traviata), Eurodisc (Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244) by J.S. Bach), DGG (Der Dorfjahrmarkt by Georg Anton Benda), Berlin Classics (Imeneo by G.F. Handel).

Source: Operissimo Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (May 2004)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2004); Matthias Hansen (Photos 01-02 - January 2010)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Herbert Collum


Anne Magdalena Notenbüchlein BWV 508-523

Rudolf & Erhard Mauersberger


BWV 244

Kurt Thomas


BWV 201

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Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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