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Bohnen, (Franz) Michael

Bohnen, (Franz) Michael

Bohnen, (Franz) Michael, noted German bass-baritone; b. Cologne, May 2, 1887; d. Berlin, April 26, 1965. He received training from Fritz Steinbach and Schulz-Dornburg at the Cologne Cons. In 1910 he made his operatic debut as Caspar in Der Freischütz in Dusseldorf. After singing in Wiesbaden (1912–13), he was a highly respected member of the Berlin Royal (later State) Opera from 1913 to 1921. He also made debuts in 1914 at London’s Covent Garden and the Bayreuth Festival. On March 1, 1923, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as the Tourist/Francesco in Schillings’ Mona Lisa, remaining on its roster until 1932. On Jan. 19, 1929, he sang the leading role there in the U.S. premiere of Krenek’s Jonny spielt auf. From 1933 to 1945 he sang at the Berlin Deutsches Opernhaus, and subsequently served as Intendant at the renamed Städtische Oper from 1945 to 1947. He was equally well versed in baritone and bass roles, numbering among his finest Sarastro, Wotan, King Marke, Hagen, Gurnemanz, Méphistophélès, Baron Ochs, and Scarpia.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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