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Hans Hotter
Hans Hotter; Donald Arthur, trans.; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, fwd.; Zubin Mehta, fwd.

2006 • 324 pp. 75 illus. 6 x 9"
Memoir / Biography - Musicians & Composers / Opera

$35.00 Hardcover, 978-1-55553-661-9

Trans. from the German

German bass-baritone Hotter’s (1909-2003) voice resounds clearly through this lovingly crafted reminiscence, expertly translated and compiled by Arthur, a former opera singer himself. Hotter addresses everything from his upbringing... [continued in Reviews below]”—Library Journal

An expanded and updated translation of the memoirs of the great German bass-baritone

Hans Hotter (1909–2003) was one of opera’s most influential and profoundly moving artists of the twentieth century. His imposing frame and austere, high-browed profile made him an ideal figure of tragic dignity, unequaled in his era as Wotan, Amfortas the Dutchman, Scarpia and the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo, and several Strauss roles, including three world premieres of that composer’s works. Hotter made his debut at age twenty-one in Troppau, Germany (now Oppava, Czech Republic), and by the age of thirty was a leading artist at the prestigious Bavarian State Opera in Munich. Although he never joined the Nazi party and avoided appearances at Bayreuth while under Nazi control, Hotter remained active in German theaters throughout the war. He achieved his vocal prime after the war and was a featured performer in Munich, Vienna, Bayreuth, New York, San Francisco, London’s Covent Garden, and Salzburg. In addition to his long and acclaimed opera career, Hotter was also a distinguished stage director, teacher, and an incomparable lieder singer, celebrated for his mastery of Schubert’s song cycle Die Winterresise.

Translator and editor Donald Arthur conducted a series of interviews with Hotter during the final years of his life. The result is not merely an English translation of Hotter’s memoirs (originally published as Der Mai war mir gewogen in Germany in 1996), but a significantly more critical, probing, and engaging account of the great singer’s life. In particular, Hotter now confronts both his personal resistance to, and professional concessions toward, the Third Reich, and he speaks in greater detail about his musical and theatrical insights and his associations with such European luminaries as Richard Strauss, Herbert von Karajan, Otto Klemperer, and Clemens Krauss, to name but a few. Accompanied by more than seventy photographs, some never before published, this volume is a cause for celebration among his fans and general opera lovers everywhere.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“German bass-baritone Hotter’s (1909-2003) voice resounds clearly through this lovingly crafted reminiscence, expertly translated and compiled by Arthur, a former opera singer himself. Hotter addresses everything from his upbringing in Munich to his experiences in the opera houses of Europe and the Americas. Readers will fall under the spell of tales of occupation armies and suspense over the fate of his various colleagues during World War II, while dealing forthrightly with the realities of the mid-century political climate. Throughout, he is uniformly positive-or at worst, neutral-about other musicians and is even accepting of the brevity of his Metropolitan Opera career (1950-54). He reports fully on his encounters with major conductors and composers of the century and includes several incisive tips for maintaining vocal health...Warmly recommended for all collections. [This is an expanded and updated translation of a 1996 German publication and contains 70-plus photographs, some never before published.-Ed.]”Library Journal

“ . . . [J]ust the kind of thing we want to find in a singer’s autobiography . . .These are the memoirs, and the memories are vivid.”—Gramophone

“Friends, fans and former colleagues will no doubt delight in the details of Hotter’s early career.”—Opera News

“The first English language edition of Hotter’s memoirs recommends itself to just about every Wagnerite.”—Wagner Notes

“An invaluable autobiography from an outstanding German bass-baritone, Hotter’s memoirs absorb the reader. . . . Highly recommended.”—
The Opera Journal

"His memoirs . . . provide a rare glimpse into a period now almost legendary, written by one who was actually there."—

“Unlike most singer's memoirs this thoughtful and fascinating, elegantly translated book by Hans Hotter should be required reading for opera singers and all those who love the art form. This is a guide to what makes a successful opera singer and a knowledgeable operagoer."Speight Jenkins, General Director of Seattle Opera

“He was a giant in every way. Having his memoirs translated into English is so wonderful for the English speaking world who adored his performances. I am certainly one of those.”Marilyn Horne

DONALD ARTHUR is a former opera singer, actor, screenwriter, and author. A native of New York City, he now divides his time between Munich and Malta.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:52:49 -0500