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Wolfgang Windgassen

Wolfgang Windgassen

(1914-1974)

Click here for recordings and performances by Wolfgang Windgassen.

Wolfgang Windgassen was the son of another famous German heldentenor Fritz Windgassen.

He debuted in 1939 and grew to become his own father's successor at the Stuttgart State Opera where he stayed until his death.

Subsequently, Wolfgang Windgassen sang in all the major opera houses throughout the world.

From 1951 until 1970 he appeared at the Bayreuth festival where he sang all the important heldentenor roles from Erik, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Tristan, Walter, Loge, Siegmund, both Siegfrieds and Parsifal.

Following World War 2 Wolfgang Windgassen was widely considered by many to be the most important Wagner tenor and he made an impressive number of recordings including complete sets of Wagner operas. At the time, they were pioneering recordings and the first of complete Wagner operas.

It is Windgassen who was the Siegfried in the fabled complete Ring recording conducted by Sir Georg Solti.

He is also the Tristan in the classic live recording made at Bayreuth in 1966 with Birgit Nilsson as Isolde, conducted by Karl Böhm with Christa Ludwig as Braganne (isn't that a terrible name!? You can't help but think her parents must have hated her)

One of the outstanding heldentenor voices of the century, his complete recordings of the Ring operas helped to introduce a new postwar public to Wagner's work. Although his voice lacked the power of some of the other great Heldentenors like Melchior, Windgassen used his voice so skillfully and with such great musicianship he is still regarded as one of the most accomplished Wagnerian tenors of the second half of the twentieth Century.

He suffered a massive heart attack in 1974 in Stuttgart and died soon after. Sadly, he was only aged 60.

Click here for recordings and performances by Wolfgang Windgassen.

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