Great Finnish bass-baritone and interpreter of Sibelius and Mozart passes at 79.
Born in Helsinki, Krause first studied medicine, while singing and playing guitar in a jazz band on the side. His vocal talent soon lead him to study at the Vienna Music Academy and he made his operatic debut in 1959 as Escamillo in Berlin.
He joined the Hamburg State Opera, singing mostly Mozart, Verdi, and Wagner, but picking up a reputation for unusual repertoire too appearing in Rossini's La Pietra del Paragone and Handel’s Jephtha. He made his Bayreuth debut as the Herald in Lohengrin, in 1962.
England first saw him as the Count in Capriccio at Glyndebourne in 1963 and he became a regular visitor from then on. Benjamin Britten chose him to sing the baritone role in his War Requiem for its American premiere. His reputation in Mozart lead to his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1967 as the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro and Salzburg saw him regularly from 1968 onwards when Karajan chose him to replace an ailing Nicolai Ghiaurov in Don Giovanni.
In 1970 Eugene Ormandy chose Krause for the American Premiere of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 13 and in 1971, Samuel Barber composed for him the oratorio The Lovers.
Krause had over fifty roles in his repertoire including works in Italian, German, French, English, Finnish, Czech, Russian, and Swedish and appearing in operas such as L'elisir d'amore, Don Pasquale, Rigoletto, La Traviata, Fidelio, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, La bohème, Andrea Chénier, Faust, and Carmen. He appeared on stage opposite most of the great singers of the period, including Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Jessye Norman, Kiri Te Kanawa, Joan Sutherland, Birgit Nilsson, Marilyn Horne, Margaret Price, Teresa Berganza and Nicolai Gedda.
He also embraced new music, performing in the premieres of Krenek’s Der Goldene Brock in 1964, and Searle’s Hamlet, in 1968, both in Hamburg.
Krause was a noted lieder singer and can be heard on over 100 recordings. His recordings of Bach with Munchinger and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra were awarded the Bach prize. His recording of the complete Sibelius Songs with Elisabeth Soderström won numerous awards.
His numerous masterclasses proved him to be one of the great vocal pedagogues and in 1990, the Finnish State awarded Krause with the Order of the Finnish Lion – the highest award for cultural personalities in Finland. More recently he received the Sibelius medal by the Sibelius Academy, honouring his work in music in Finland and around the world.
Tom Krause (July 5, 1934-December 6, 2013)
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