In memoriam… Kurt Moll (1938-2017)

Il basso tedesco Kurt Moll, dopo aver studiato alla Hochschule für Musik di Colonia, si è perfezionato con Emmy Müller. Esordì ad Aquisgrana  nel 1961 come Ludovico nell’Otello verdiano e rimase in quel teatro fino al 1963. Attivo in altri teatri tedeschi (Magonza, Wuppertal, Amburgo), nel 1972  si è frequentemente esibito a Monaco, Vienna, Salisburgo, Bayreuth, Parigi, avviandosi così a una brillante e lunga carriera internazionale. I ruoli emblematici del suo repertorio si collocano nella drammaturgia  wagneriana in particolare Re Marke (Tristan und Isolde) e Pogner (Maestri Cantori). La sua vocalità corposa e duttile ha permesso a Moll di distinguersi anche nel teatro mozartiano. Si è inoltre distinto come Gurnemanz (Parsifal), Ochs (Der rosenkavalier), Caspar (Der Freischutz) oltre a un ampio repertorio liederistico.

One Comment

  1. John Yohalem

    I first heard Kurt Moll sing at his American debut, as Gurnemanz in San Francisco, followed by König Marke. His Marke astounded me! He swiped the opera from Birgit Nilsson, Jess Thomas and Yvonne Minton, his co-stars: The music-drama seemed to be entirely about Marke and how atrociously these perverted youngsters (Nilsson was 55) were treating him. He “spoke” for the real world, the conscious world — not a superficial world at all, but society with its duties and depths. It made me completely re-think my understanding of the story. It was the magnificent voice but also the certainty, the self-belief that it expressed that affected me.

    This happened in every large serious role I heard him sing — not his Lodovico or Don Bartolo or Landgraf Hermann, to be sure, and not his sublime comic roles, Osmin and Baron Ochs, where he subtly implied a self-esteem that was totally unreal, that was easily exploded by his Blondchen (Kathleen Battle, with whom he made a flawless team) and, later, by his Octavian. This made him the ultimate Sarastro (opposite Battle again) in the finest Zauberflöte of my experience.

    I felt it most strongly about his Rocco in Fidelio, a glorious set of performances conducted by Klaus Tennstedt. Moll’s Rocco seemed once again the central character, and more than that: He was Humanity, willing to ignore the implications of his ordinary life, suddenly awakened, witnessing this spectacular drama, agog at Leonore’s achievement, astonished at Florestan’s heroism, horrified by Pizzarro. Not only his matchless voice but his acting as he came out to the crowd almost beyond words to tell them of the astonishing deeds he has witnessed. He became us. He became humanity, living our humanity, showing us the truth of the moral tale Beethoven is telling. That, I believe, is what we all felt and what we all applauded — so passionately that he was visibly embarrassed to be stealing the center stage from the soprano and the tenor.

    The greatest singer I ever heard. The moment you heard his voice, you know you were in the Presence of a survivor of the Golden Age. The only other bass who had that quality, in my experience, was Matti Salminen.

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