Formes Karl Johann

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Formes Karl Johann

Formes, Karl Johann, German bass, brother of Theodor Formes ; b. Mulheim, Aug. 7, 1815; d. San Francisco, Dec. 15, 1889. He was a pupil of Basodowa in Vienna. After making his operatic debut as Sarastro in Cologne (Jan. 6, 1842), he sang in Mannheim before appearing in Vienna (1843–9). In 1849 he made his London debut at Drury Lane. On March 16, 1850, he made his first appearance at London’s Covent Garden as Caspar in Der Freischutz, returning there regularly until 1868. He also sang at London’s Royal Italian Opera (1852–57). In 1857 he made his N.Y. debut as Bertram in Robert le diable at the Academy of Music, where he sang for some 20 years. After his retirement, he settled in San Francisco as a voice teacher. He publ. a Method of Singing (3 vols., 1865; 2nd ed., 1885) and an autobiography, Aus meinem Kunst- und Buhnenleben: Erinnerungen des Bassisten (Cologne, 1888; Eng. tr., 1891, as My Memoirs). Among his best known roles were Leporello, Rocco, Nicolai’s Falstaff, and Flotow’s Plunkett.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire