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Jacobs School of Music

Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Friday, July 29, 2011

Baritone Wolfgang Brendel appointed to IU Jacobs School of Music faculty

July 29, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music announced today (July 29) that international baritone Wolfgang Brendel will join its faculty as professor of practice (voice) this fall.

Before his IU appointment, Brendel was a professor of voice at the Munich Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Germany.

Wolfgang Brendel

Wolfgang Brendel

Print-Quality Photo

"I am delighted to be joining the eminent faculty of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music," said Brendel. "After decades crossing the oceans -- performing in Europe, North America and Japan, with Munich as my home and site of my teaching activities for many years -- I look forward to establishing a new home in the American heartland to share my craft as singer and stage artist with a new generation of wonderful, fresh voices. My American wife and two children are happy to have me here, too!"

About Wolfgang Brendel

Wolfgang Brendel grew up in Wiesbaden, Germany, where he took singing lessons with Rolff Sartorius during his time at the conservatory. In 1971, he debuted at the Pfalztheater in Kaiserslautern as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte.

His artistic home for the greater part of his career was the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, where, in 1977, he became the youngest Kammersänger in the company's history. Taking up the mantle of Josef Metternich, who had retired in 1971, Brendel established his primacy as the star Munich baritone of his era across a range of roles, from Mozart (Guglielmo and Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte and the title role in Don Giovanni) to Verdi (Germont in La traviata, Posa in Don Carlo, Renato in Un ballo in maschera, Carlo in La forza del destino and di Luna in Il trovatore) and beyond. In 1973, he received critical acclaim as Pelléas in a new production by Jean-Pierre Ponelle of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande.

Early on, conductor Carlos Kleiber selected Brendel to sing Germont and conducted him in other roles, including Falke in Die Fledermaus. Brendel's roles in these early years included Silvio in Pagliacci. He began his Wagner career with Wolfram von Eschenbach in Tannhäuser. Over time, he took on heavier Wagner roles (Amfortas in Parsifal, Holländer in Der fliegende Holländer), eventually singing Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and adding Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde to his repertoire in 2005.

Additional Verdi roles included Ford in Falstaff, Miller in Luisa Miller and the title roles in Simon Boccanegra, Nabucco and Macbeth. He performed the title role in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin frequently but became perhaps most closely associated with a series of baritone roles in Richard Strauss operas, including Mandryka in Arabella and Barak in Die Frau ohne Schatten.

His roles by Puccini include Marcello in La bohème, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Rance in La fanciulla del West and Scarpia in Tosca.

Brendel has performed on all the major opera stages in Germany and throughout Europe, in Tokyo and in the United States. Since his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1975, at age 27, as Count Almaviva, he sang 91 performances there through 2007 in roles by Mozart (Papageno), Verdi (Germont, Miller), Wagner (Amfortas), Puccini (Sharpless), J. Strauss (Dr. Falke and Eisenstein) and R. Strauss (Mandryka, Barak, Count in Capriccio, Music Master, Altair).

In 1997, he was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz (The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany).