The noted Austrian-born American bass, Emanuel List (real name, Flessing), was a boy chorister at the Theater-an-der-Wien. Following voice training with Steger in Vienna, he toured Europe as a member of a comic vocal quartet. He went to the USA and appeared in vaudeville, burlesque, and minstrel shows. After further vocal studies with Zuro in New York, he returned to Vienna in 1920.
In 1922 Emanuel List made his operatic debut as Charles Gounod's Méphistophélès at the Volksoper. He then sang at Berlin's Städtische Oper (1923-1925) and State Opera (1924-1933), London's Covent Garden (1925; 1934-1936), the Salzburg Festivals (1931-1935), and the Bayreuth Festival (1933). List made his Metropolitan Opera debut in New York in December 1933, as Hermann in Tannhäuser. While remaining on its roster until 1948 [16 seasons (1933-1948, 1949-1950), 449 performances, 17 roles, 16 works), he also appeared in San Francisco and Chicago (1935-1937) and gave lieder recitals. He was again on the Metropolitan Opera's roster in 1949-1950. In 1952 he returned to Vienna.
Emanuel List was especially admired for the rich vocal resources he brought to such roles as Osmin, the Commendatore, Sarastro, Rocco, King Marke, Hagen, Pogner, Hunding, and Baron Ochs.