Wagner tenor calls it quits, at 75

Wagner tenor calls it quits, at 75


norman lebrecht

October 10, 2013

Most singers say that, sooner or later, it gets them in the knees.

René Kollo says he got fed up. He tells Bunte magazine: ‘Ich mag nicht mehr. Ich höre auf.’ He will give four church concerts by way of farewell.




Kollo, born René Kollodzieyski in Berlin, ruled the Wagner tenor roles in the 1970s and 1980s. He sang Siegfried in the unforgettable centennial Bayreuth Ring of 1976, directed by the late Patrice Chéreau.


  • He’s great as Parsifal as well, especially in Solti’s 1972 recording.

  • PK Miller says:

    I suppose the ravages of time catch up to all of us sooner or later. (I have less than 2 months till the Big Seven Oh!) And, as I well know, this kind of heavy declamatory singing takes its toll on the voice. Gutes arbeit, Herr Kollo. Wir dir gemusst! And as Shubert so wonderfully put it, “Du Holde Kunst, Ich danke dir dafur!”

  • Donald Wright says:

    “So schneidet Siegfrieds Schwert!” That last clip, of the anvil aria, was phenomenal! “In fernem Land” was terrific too. Thanks for posting them.

  • DavisA says:

    A memorable Siegfried in Janowski’s recording of the Ring and a young sounding Walther in Karajan’s masterful Mastersingers. A very distinguished career. Not bad for a tenor to make it to 75.

  • operacentric says:

    Despite almost losing all voice by the end of the performance (and didn’t sing the role again for some years by which time the voice was less rounded and beautiful), his Siegfried at Bayreuth in 1976 was the best acted performance I’ve ever seen – a youthful, stroppy but endearingly naive teenager. Boy, how good that production seems now n the light of what we have seen since!