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Otto Edelmann, 86; Opera Bass-Baritone Excelled at Singing Wagner

May 17, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Otto Edelmann, 86, whose dark bass-baritone propelled him to some of the world's most renowned opera stages in a singing career spanning more than four decades, died Wednesday evening in Vienna, the Vienna Opera announced. No cause of death was given.

With his powerful voice, Edelmann was a favorite choice for Wagnerian roles, making major appearances at Bayreuth, Germany; Vienna; and New York's Metropolitan Opera.

Born Feb. 5, 1917, in Brunn am Gebirge near Vienna, Edelmann trained at the Vienna Music Academy, now the Vienna University for Music and Performing Arts, under coaches including Gunnar Graarud.

After a 1937 debut as Figaro in Gera, Germany, he sang in Nuremberg until 1940, when he was drafted into Adolf Hitler's army. Captured by the Soviets, he spent several years as a prisoner of war.

Edelmann's postwar debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1947 was the start of a 36-year engagement in the Austrian capital that included 430 performances in 36 roles.

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