In RA Format
Carl Günther - born Nov. 22nd, 1885, Ottensen, died Sept. 9th, 1958, Hamburg. From a very poor
family, he could not study singing, which he had loved to; he first became a coppersmith and
sang in an amateur choir, also as a soloist. A Hamburg innkeeper, who liked his voice,
eventually paid him singing lessons, and in 1912, he debuted in Hamburg as Florestan,
and was an immediate success. He would always stay at the Hamburger Stadttheater, but
was a frequent guest at the Berlin Staatsoper and also sang in Zoppot, Vienna, Budapest, and
the Netherlands. He retired in 1936. His was a strange career; he was particularly gifted
for Wagner's music, yet he didn't want to sing it. The Met offered him a Wagnerian
contract in the early 1920s, and he refused; he preferred to sing Italian and
French music, and while people like me (not a big Wagner buff) might consider
this good taste, it was certainly a grave mistake. He apparently made only one Wagnerian
recording (an excerpt from "Fliegender Holländer"), and it's his best by far,
or more precisely, his only good recording. Even though he obviously loved
the Italian-French repertory, his style was definitely not suited to it.
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the recording, picture and notes.