Kurt Moll (11 April 1938 – 5 March 2017)2:15, 7th March 2017
German bass Kurt Moll has died aged 78.
One of the most highly regarded Wagnerian singers of his generation, his 45-year career saw him turn his dark tone and impressive low register to roles such as Gurnemanz and Ochs under Kleiber and Karajan.
Moll was first encouraged to focus on singing by the conductor of his school choir. After studying at the Köln Hochschule für Musik with Emmy Müller, he won his first position at Cologne Opera aged 20. In 1961 he moved to Mainz, where he spent three years, followed by five years in Wuppertal.
His breakthrough came when he joined the Hamburg State Opera in 1969, which led to engagements with major opera houses across Europe. He made his United States debut as Gurnemanz in San Francisco in 1974 and Metropolitan Opera debut in 1977 as Landgraf Hermann in Tannhäuser.
Notable roles included Osmin, Bartolo and Sarastro, but his signature roles were King Mark, Baron Ochs and Gurnemanz.
Discography highlights include Gurnemanz on Karajan’s Deutsche Grammophon Parsifal, and Fasolt in James Levine’s 1990 recording of Das Rheingold, for which he won a Grammy. He sang Baron Ochs in seven complete recordings of Der Rosenkavalier (with conductors including Karajan, Kleiber and Andrew Davis), Sarastro in six recordings of Die Zauberflöte (including Colin Davis and Sawallisch), and six King Marks in Tristan und Isolde, including under Kleiber and Mehta.
His final performances were as the Commendatore in Don Giovanni and the Nightwatchman in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, both with the Bavarian State Opera, after which he retired from the stage.