Protschka, Josef , Czech-born German tenor; b. Prague, Feb. 5, 1944. He studied philology and philosophy at the Univ. of Tübingen and the Univ. of Bonn, and pursued vocal instruction with Erika Köth and Peter Witsch at the Cologne Hochschule für Musik. In 1977 he made his operatic debut in Giessen, and then sang in Saarbrücken (1978–80). From 1980 to 1987 he was a leading member of the Cologne Opera. In 1985 he sang Pisandro in the Monteverdi-Henze version of II ritorno d’Ulisse at the Salzburg Festival, and he also appeared at the Vienna State Opera. Following engagements at Milan’s La Scala and in Dresden in 1986, and Florence and Zürich in 1987, he sang the title role in Schubert’s Fierrabras at the Vienna Festival in 1988. In 1989 he sang Florestan at the Hamburg State Opera, which role he also chose for his debut at London’s Covent Garden in 1990. He made his U.S. debut in 1991 as soloist in Das Lied von der Erde with the Houston Sym. Orch. In subsequent seasons, he appeared with many of the world’s major opera houses, festivals, and orchs., and also toured as a lieder artist. He served as a prof. at the Cologne Hochschule für Musik’s Aachen division and at the Royal Cons. of Music in Copenhagen. In addition to the critical accolades he has won for his roles in operas by Mozart and Wagner, he is much esteemed for his interpretations of the lieder of Schubert and Mendelssohn.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire