Spas Wenkoff


Spas Wenkoff was born on September 23rd, 1928 in Veliko Tarnovo.

After practicing as a lawyer for five years while training his voice under I. Josifov in Sofia, Spas Wenkoff trained under Mme. Safirowa in Russia and Johannes Kemter in Dresden.

As early as 1954, he was singing one of the title roles in the Georgian comic opera Keto da Kote by W. I. Dolidse at the Municipal Theater of Veliko Tarnovo.

From 1962 to 1965, he was heard with the ensemble of the Ruse opera house in Bulgaria. Then he became known in East Germany, where he enjoyed great success. He sang at the Dobeln Theater from 1965 to 1968, from 1968 to 1971 at the Municipal Theater of Magdeburg, from 1971 to 1975 in Halle an der Saale (where he sang his first Tannhäuser), and in 1975, he was hired as the principal heldentenor at the Berlin State Opera, where he was heard until 1984.

During a 1975 guest engagement at the Dresden State Opera, he scored a particular success as Tristan. He sang the role at the Bayreuth Festival in 1976 and in 1982-83, while adding Tannhäuser.

Having begun his career singing the most demanding dramatic parts in the Italian repertoire, in later years he became known as a great Wagner interpreter, appearing as a guest throughout the world. In 1982 he triumphed as Tannhäuser at the Vienna State Opera, where he took over the title role for the suddenly indisposed Reiner Goldberg.

In 1981, he answered a call to the Metropolitan Opera, where he made his debut as Tristan. From 1984, he appeared mainly at the German Opera House, Berlin, at the State Operas of Vienna and Munich and at the Cologne Opera.

In 1987, he appeared at the Bern Municipal Theater and at the Vienna State Opera as Tannhäuser. In 1990, he was a guest artist in Cologne; in 1991 he appeared in Vienna as Tristan and at Covent Garden as Siegfried in Götterdämmerung.

His older brother Wenko Wenkoff (1921–92) was also a well-known tenor. Spas Wenkoff spent his final years in Bad Ischl in the Upper Austrian countryside, where he died on 12 August 2013.

Spas Wenkoff sings Otello: Sì pel ciel marmoreo giuro, with Giuseppe Taddei

Spas Wenkoff sings Otello: Niun mi tema
In RA format

Spas Wenkoff sings Siegfried: Dass der mein Vater nicht ist
In RA format

Spas Wenkoff singsParsifal: Amfortas! Die Wunde!

Repertory
Keto da Kote – Veliko Tarnovo, 1954
Die Fledermaus – Ruse, 1962
and lots of operettas at the theaters of Veliko Tarnovo and Ruse from 1954 to 1964
Don Giovanni – Ruse, April 1 ,1964
Arshin mal alan – Trastenik, April 2, 1964
Prodaná nevěsta – Popovo, April 6, 1964 Die Czárdasfürstin, April 7, 1964
La traviata – Lovetsch, June 16, 1964
Faust – Ruse, January 1, 1965
Matrosenehre – Ruse, February 1, 1965
Il barbiere di Siviglia – Ruse, February 14, 1965
Katarina Izmaïlova – Ruse, April 20, 1965
Il barbiere di Siviglia – Ruse, February 18, 1965
Zar und Zimmermann – Döbeln, October 10, 1965
Tosca – Colditz, November 11, 1965
Der Vogelhändler – Döbeln, January 23, 1966
Rusalka – Döbeln, March 20, 1966
Heitere Muse – Waldenburg, August 6, 1966
Pagliacci – Döbeln, September 4, 1966
Estrade – Waldheim, November 12, 1966
Manon Lescaut – Döbeln, May 7, 1967
Otello – Döbeln, September 17, 1967
Der Freischütz – Döbeln, February 25, 1968
Un ballo in maschera – Döbeln, June 30, 1968
Carmen – Magdeburg, September 1, 1968
Don Carlo – Magdeburg, December 5, 1968
Pazifik 60 – Greifswald, March 20, 1969
Fidelio – Magdeburg, September 13, 1969
Rigoletto – Greifswald, December 12, 1969
Les contes d'Hoffmann – Greifswald, February 1, 1970
Die zweite Entscheidung – Magdeburg, May 10, 1970
Maâtre Pathelin – Magdeburg, September 6, 1970
Turandot – Erfurt, February 13, 1971
Ariodante – Halle, May 30, 1971
Il trovatore – Görlitz, October 16, 1971
Tannhäuser – Magdeburg, January 8, 1972
Manon – Gera, March 25, 1972
Jenůfa – Halle, April 9, 1972
La bohème – Halle, Ocotber 22, 1972
Cavalleria rusticana – Zwickau, October 21, 1972
Aida – Erfurt, February 17, 1973
Die Zauberflöte – Halle, April 7, 1973
Die Meister – Erfurt, June 29, 1973
Kraftstrom – Halle, October 7, 1973
Lampenfieber – Halle, December 8, 1973
Il tabarro – Halle, July 5, 1974
Der Rosenkavalier – Bitterfeld, September 27, 1974
Tristan und Isolde – Dresden, October 26, 1975
Pikovaja dama – Halle, December 17, 1975
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Berlin (GDR), November 7, 1976
Parsifal – Berlin (GDR), July 10, 1977
Die Walküre – Dallas, December 3, 1981
Die Götterdämemerung – Augsburg, February 27, 1983
Siegfried – Buenos Aires, October 2, 1983
Die Liebe der Danae – Milano, September 17, 1988

Reference: Peter M. Schneider Heldentenor Spas Wenkoff. Alles war Zufall, 2008
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the recording (Niun mi tema), and additions to the biographical notes.
I wish to thank Vladimir Efimenko for the recording (Siegfried), the picture and biographical notes.
I wish to thank Tom Silverbörg for the recording (Parsifal).

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