Karl Terkal

(Vienna 17.10.1919 – Vienna 12.8.1996)

Picture of Karl Terkal

Karl Terkal singsLa Traviata: Dei miei bollenti spiriti, in German
In RA Format

Karl Terkal singsSchön ist die Welt: Liebste glaub an mich
In RA Format

Karl Terkal singsLes Huguenots: O ciel, ou courez vous, with Maud Cunitz in German
In RA Format

Karl Terkal singsLa Bohème: Che gelida manina, in German
In RA Format

As a young man, he sometimes sang “in the streets”. He served an apprenticeship as a joiner and cabinet-maker. During 1939-45, he had to serve in the German army and was wounded in Russia. During 1945-48, he worked as a joiner in Vienna, also taking singing lessons. During 1948/9, he was in employ at the Viennese academy of music as a joiner, when his voice was discovered gaining him a one year´s contract as trainee at the Vienna State Opera. His actual debut took place in Graz (as Don Ottavio), where he remained from 1950 to 1952. After a guest appearance in Vienna in 1951, Clemens Krauss called him back to the Vienna State Opera where he remained from 1952 till 1991. In his early years Terkal sang many leading roles of the lyric tenor repertoire such as the Duke in “Rigoletto”, Rodolfo in “La Bohème”, the Italian singer in “Rosenkavalier”, Alfredo in “La Traviata”, the Steersman in “Der fliegende Holländer”, later also adding more dramatic parts such as Kalaf in “Turandot”. At the Vienna Volksoper, Vienna´s smaller opera house, he even sang Manrico in “Il Trovatore” and Arnold in “Wilhelm Tell” (with Sandor Sved and Christiane Sorell , conductor: Argeo Quadri, 16.11.1958); in this opera house he often appeared in operetta. For many years later in his career and when all operas used to be performed in the “original language”, he turned to smaller roles such as Monostatos in “Die Zauberflöte” and the innkeeper in “Der Rosenkavalier”, which he sang 221 times, demonstrating his unique Viennese dialect. He often appeared at the festivals in Bregenz, Salzburg and a few times at Bayreuth.

Christian Tögl

Karl Terkal: A singer with a truly wonderful voice that didn't unfortunately last long due to improper training and alcohol abuse. His (rare) 1951 radio recording is one of the best Che gelida manina ever.
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the notes and recordings.

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