6. Februar 2008

Remembering the Era Karl Richter in Munich: Year 1955 ff. [EN]

But it was not only the instrumentalists of the Bach-Orchestra, who influenced the interpretations of the great works of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and later those of Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Brahms, Dvorak and Verdi. The Vocal ensemble was also significantly involved, an ensemble that in the beginning was chiefly drawn from the abundant Singer-reservoir belonging to the National Theatre.

In 1952 Hertha Toepper from Graz was under contract at the State Opera in Munich. After only a short time, Guenter Ramin got into contact with her.

Hertha Toepper
"Guenter Ramin had already planned the High Mass for 1955 and had said: the same soloists as usual, but the Board of directors of Orchestra wrote saying: “we have a new contralto we think you ought to hear”. Ramin came to Munich in December 1954 on his way to Bad Gastein and came to the Opera to hear my 'Rosenkavalier'. And discovered through my Rosenkavalier, that I was a Bach singer."

And very soon she caught Karl Richter’s attention

"At that time Karl Richter had said: “Toepper didn’t come to Munich, she was suddenly there”, and thank God he got in touch with me rather quickly."


Hertha Toepper

On 6th November 1955 two further members of the National Theatre Guild made their debuts in the course of the Bach- Cantata Cycle in the Markuskirche, Antonia Fahberg and Kieth Engen.

Antonia Fahberg
"I was supposed to understudy for a colleague, and was almost due to go into confinement with my son. For Goodness sake, what am I supposed to wear? I had a black dress that we draped with a black scarf held by safety pins. Karl Richter came every day and practiced with me. I had never sung Bach before. It was a terrific success and from that moment on one of my great loves. Richter came every day, explained everything to me, it was amazing."


Antonia Fahberg

Kieth Engen
"My first meeting with Karl Richter took place in 1955 in the Markuskirche in Munich. He asked me: “What do you want to sing”? And I answered: “I would very much like to sing Arioso 'Am Abend, da es kuehle war' from the Matthews Passion. We made our way to the organ, the church was empty, and we did Arosio, Richter on the organ, and I sang. Afterwards he said: “ Very good, very good, could you do two Cantatas with me in November here in this church”? “Yes of course”, I replied,” with pleasure”!"


Kieth Engen

In 1956, for the first time, Lotte Schaedle, Fritz Wunderlich, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Peter Pears were listed on the Program of Bach Concerts in the Markuskirche and at the Bach-Woche in Ansbach. One year later Marga Hoeffgen sang the contralto arias in the b-minor Mass and in both Passions. Fritz Wunderlich, Peter Pears and Kieth Engen were also participating.


Lotte Schaedle


Fritz Wunderlich mit Karl Richter


Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau mit Karl Richter


Peter Pears


Marga Hoeffgen
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