Gerd Grochowski died the day after singing Wotan

Gerd Grochowski died the day after singing Wotan


norman lebrecht

January 18, 2017

Wiebaden Opera has published details of the death of the international bass-baritone, Gerd Grochowski.

On Sunday January 15, Gerd sang Wotan in the first performance of a new production of Wagner’s Die Walküre. He received great public acclaim and several ovations.

On Monday he rang the emergency doctor, complaining of chest pains. He received prompt treatment but died at 3:o9 pm.

The company pays tribute to his kindness and truthfulness, the sincerity of his honest struggle for life-affirming art.



  • Emmanuel says:

    So, he withdrew from the performance in the middle of Act II, Scene 2? People get sympathy for that, but not ovations. My guess is that Norman’s poetic instinct trumped his knowledge of Die Walküre. Grochowski’s last stage words were, presumably, ‘Wer meines Speeres Spitze fürchter, durchstreite das Feuer nie!”

    • norman lebrecht says:

      I was quoting what was written on the Wiesbaden Oper website.

    • Olassus says:


      To NL’s point, I suppose someone in the company’s PR department thought it a cute story — and Wotan’s state of mind as he draws the ring of fire does of course fit the earlier words.

      His Klingsor was terrific last August, but that’s a lousy role!

      Very sad. RIP.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    This was the Walküre that Anja Harteros cancelled months earlier which were to have been her first staged Sieglindes.

  • Medi Gasteiner says:

    I had been in this WALKÜRE last Sunday, was shocked when I read the press release about Grochowski`s sudden death. I also heard his Holländer in Wiesbaden which was great. And Klingsor in Bayreuth. He also was a charming and handsome man – R.I.P.

  • John Borstlap says:

    What a terrible terrible story. Wagner operas drag a trail of strange deaths of performers in their wake, beginning with Ludwig Schnorr who sang the first Tristan and died some days later, three conductors – forgot who – who suddenly died around the same spot in the Tristan score, a singer who committed suicide after studying the role of Brünhilde for a year, and King Ludwig of Bavaria who slowly deteriorated under the influence of Wagner operas and went off the rails, drowning in the Starnberger See together with his doctor. Herbert Karajan suggested these deaths, especially the conductors’ Tristannesque ones, should be scientifically researched. As far as I know, that never happened.