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Günther Reich (Baritone)

Born: November 22, 1921 - Liegnitz, Germany (now: Legnica, Poland)
Died: January 15, 1989 - Heidelberg, Germany

The German-born Israeli baritone, Günther [Günter] Reich, was born to a Jewish family, which left Germany in 1934 and emigrated to Israel. There he operated in different occupations and finally began to stydy singing. Originally he believed to possess a tenor voice but since 1958 he was finally trained as a baritone at the College of Music in Berlin by Sengeleitner, and by Unold in Mannheim.

In 1961 Günther Reich made his stage debut at the State Theater of Gelsenkirchen in the role of Jago in Verdiís Otello. Since 1968 he worked at the State Opera of Stuttgart, whose member he remained up to his death. In 1976 he participated in the Stuttgart premiere of the opera Das Mädchen aus Domrémy by Giselher Klebe; in 1980 in Hamlet by Hermann Reutter. Appearances at the Deutsche Opera House in Berlin (where he appeared constantly since 1969, at the State Operas of Munich and Hamburg, at the Opera House of Frankfurt a.M. and at the Salzburg Festival. There he sang in August 1986 in the premiere of the opera The Black Mask by K. Penderecki; in 1988 in a concertant performance of the opera Der Prozess by G. von Einem.. He made guest appearances in Rio de Janeiro, Leipzig, Amsterdam, Zürich, Lisbon and at the Festival of Edinburgh. In 1976 he appeared at the Teatro Liceo of Barcelona as Hans Sachs in Meistersinger, one of his celebrated gloss roles, which he sang also in 1975 at the 150-Year celebration of the State Theatre of Aachen and in 1983 at the Covent Garden Opera in London. He also appeared at the New York Metropolitan Opera, among other things in 1985 as Faninal in Rosenkavalier. He made guest appearance at the Philadelphia Opera in 1985 as Musikmeister in Ariadne auf Naxos by R. Strauss. In 1988 he made guest appearance in Munich in Janácekís Makropoulos Case, at the Covent Garden Opera and at the Teatro Real Madrid as Dr. Schön in Lulu by Alban Berg. In the Deutsche Opera in Berlin he participated in September 1969 in the premiere of the opera 200,000 Taler by Boris Blacher. In his global stage repertoire with emphasis on the heroic roles, modern works were also in the foreground, above all his Moses in Moses und Aron by Arnold Schoenberg, which he also recorded on Philips label.

Günther Reich was an outstanding concert and oratorio singer. In June 1961 he sang in Vienna in the premiere of the oratorio Die Jakobsleiter by A. Schoenberg (after the completion of the work by W. Zillig). In November 1988 he, already heavily gotten sick, was transferred to Frankfurt a.M. again to sing solo part in the Cantata Ein Überlebender aus Warschau by A. Schoenberg.

Further recordings appeared under the label of CBS. To hear on EJS as soloist in the Requiem in D minor by Bruckner, on Saphir-Intercord in Glagolitischen Messe by Janácek and in Masses of J. Haydn.

Source: Operissimo Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (August 2001); Johannes Honigmann (July 2006)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2001); Manfred Krugmann (Photos 02-04, July 2011)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Helmuth Rilling


BWV 21

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