Sad news: A dominant German bass has died, at 78

The death has been announced of Kurt Moll, one of the finest German singers of the late 20th century.

He joined Cologne Opera in 1958 and made the city his home. Soon he was appearing in the major international houses. His US debut was in San Francisco in 1974, followed fours years later by the Met.

He sang Baron Ochs in seven commercial recordings of Der Rosenkavalier, practically owning the role.

He gave his final stage performance at Bayreuth on July 31, 2006 and died in Cologne yesterday, March 6.


‘He expanded my awareness of what the human voice can do’.


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  • Anders Lindgren says:

    One of the very best. Never heard anybody like him. Will be very much missed.

  • Bruce says:

    “Kurt Moll, one of the finest German singers of the late 20th century.”

    There — fixed that for you.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    So deeply sorry to learn of Moll’s passing. May he rest in eternal peace. Here he is in an excerpt from the LvB Missa Solemnis. Very sad day.

  • Nigel Harris says:

    He was simply the finest bass I have heard, bar none. As to his personality, he comes over very well in an interview with August Everding that’s somewhere on YouTube: courteous, intelligent, modest, but also fun. And with a subterranean speaking voice that’s a thing of wonder in itself.

  • Michael Yonan says:

    One of the voices I feel most privileged to have experienced in my operagoing life, and luckily enough in two of his Paraderollen, Ochs and Osmin. A fantastic singer in every way. Very sad to learn of his passing. RIP.

  • O.G says:

    My first memory ever of an operatic voice is of Kurt Moll. A huge soft bass that made even Wagner sound beautiful. R.I.P.

  • jaypee says:

    Saw him several time at the Vienna Staatsoper in the 90s… Osmin, Ochs, Gurnemanz… One of the best singers I have ever seen… Never less than perfect both as a singer and actor…

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    He gave his final stage performance at Bayreuth on July 31, 2006

    Are you sure? I thought his last Bayreuth appearance was in 1976 as König Marke.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    Very sad, there are few enough even adequate basses performing, even if he did retire 10 years ago.

  • Colin says:

    His last performance was at the Nationaltheater in Munich, 31 July 2006, Nachtwächter, Meistersinger.

  • Eric Lane says:

    His recordings of Schubert’s Leider für Bass are without peer.

    • Ungeheuer says:

      It is an exceptional record, agree. So is his Winterreise, both with the ultra excellent Cord Garben at the piano.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    Sad but true, four days later and not one word on the passing of this legendary singer in the “Newspaper of Record”, aka The New York Times. A testament to reduced arts coverage at said paper. Or to preference for superficial coverage of equally superficial artists or to preference for cheerleading sessions, deserving or not, on behalf of the Met.

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