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Marko Rothmuller; Baritone With N.Y. Metropolitan Opera


Marko Rothmuller, a European baritone distinguished in Wagnerian roles and who sang for the New York Metropolitan Opera in the early 1960s, has died. He was 84.

Rothmuller died Wednesday at his home in Bloomington, Ind., of cancer, said his son, Daniel, first cellist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The elder Rothmuller was born Dec. 31, 1908, in Trnjani, Yugoslavia, and studied in Zagreb and Vienna. He made his singing debut in 1932 at Hamburg-Altona in the role of Ottokar in "Der Freischutz."

Rothmuller sang regularly with the Zurich Opera from 1935 until 1947, specializing in roles from Verdi and Wagner operas. In the late 1940s, he sang with the Vienna Staatsoper.

He became a favorite in England, making his debut at London's Covent Garden in 1939 as Krusina in "The Bartered Bride." He was a member of the Covent Garden company from 1948 to 1952 and appeared with the Glyndebourne company from 1949 to 1955.

The seasoned baritone made his American debut with the New York City Opera in 1949 and debuted at the Metropolitan Opera on Jan. 22, 1959, as Kothner in "Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg." He continued to appear at the Met through 1965.

He also composed chamber music and published the book "Die Musik der Juden" in Zurich in 1951.

Rothmuller taught at the distinguished Indiana University School of Music from 1955 until 1979 and continued to live in Bloomington after his retirement.

In addition to his son Daniel of Los Angeles, Rothmuller is survived by his second wife, Margrit, of Bloomington; another son, Ilan, of La Jolla; the sons' mother and Rothmuller's first wife, Ela, of Bloomington, and a grandson, Michael, and a granddaughter, Lisa, both of San Diego.

Services will be conducted Tuesday in Bloomington. The family has asked that memorial contributions be made to the Indiana University Friends of Music Scholarship Fund.

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