The World's Greatest Tenors - Richard Tauber
Richard Tauber - Vienna City of My Dreams
The World’s Greatest Tenors – Richard Tauber
I was sitting with a good friend in a café on the Ring Strasse in Vienna in the fall of 1990. We were sampling the recent vintage of grüner veltliner, which was fermenting in our glass as we drank it, when an elderly Austrian man with an accordion approached our table.
As he began to sing "Vienna City of My Dreams" in German, I could envision Vienna in the 1920s and 1930s when operetta was king and Richard Tauber was the epitome of all operetta tenors.
Between 1925 and 1934 Franz Lehár wrote six operettas specifically for Richard Tauber’s voice. One of them was "The Land of Smiles", which featured the song "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz", (Yours is my heart alone) which became his signature song.
Every tenor since then, including 'The Three Tenors" have recorded this song, but he sang it the best – from his heart.
Dein ist mein ganzes Herz
Richard Tauber and Franz Lehar
Who was Franz Lehar?
What is Gruner Veltliner?
Richard Tauber was born in 1891 in Linz, Austria. His mother and father were both actors though they never married. Young Richard accompanied his mother on tour until he was six years old, when he went to live with his father in Linz. His father was a converted Jew and this would haunt him in later years.
He made his public debut in "The Magic Flute" in 1913 and in 1922 he signed a contract with the Vienna State Opera. It was during this period that he made the first of over 700 gramophone recordings. In fact, it was through some of these recordings that I first learned about him. The same friend that I mentioned at the start of this hub had previously told me about his recordings.
When she was a young girl growing up in Germany, her mother would listen to Tauber’s recordings and cry. When I heard that, I made it a point to locate some of his old records and I must admit that I shed a tear or two listening to them.
In 1922, Tauber first performed in a Franz Lehar operetta, which led to a shift in his career. After that he concentrated on operetta rather than operas. He also occasionally appeared in movies such as the 1939 German film "I Kiss Your Hand Madame" with Marlene Detririch.
In 1931, Tauber made his London debut in Operetta and also toured the USA. After being assaulted in Germany by a group of Nazis because of his Jewish ancestry, he returned to Austria.
When Germany annexed Austria in 1938, Tauber left Austria and applied for citizenship in the UK where he remained throughout the war. He continued to work in later years in spite of being crippled by arthritis. In 1947, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died on January 8, 1948. He is buried in Brompton Cemetery in London.
THE WORLD'S GREATEST TENORS
To visit my complete list of the world’s best tenors along with limited biographical information and links to their individual Hubs, go to:
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Linz, Austria where Richard Tauber was born and Vienna where he performed.
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