Excellent 1980s and 1990s comprimario first in Graz, then at
both the Vienna Volks- and Staatsoper. Still (in 2007) occasionally active at the Volksoper
and in Klagenfurt/Austria. He was by no means gifted with a remarkable (let alone beautiful) voice; however, as an excellent
(also vocal) actor,
he delivered intense portrayals of his mostly small roles, but also of Mime. His Spoletta was, strange as it may seem to
who could not see him on stage, actually thrilling, and his "Sì, come Palmieri" was bringing goosebumps.
He had started his career, after vocal studies in Heppenheim and Darmstadt, in 1964 in Oldenburg. In 1977, he went to Graz, and
in 1990 to Vienna. Among his further roles were Monostatos, the First Jew in Salome (another great achievement), Shujskij, the
Shepherd in Tristan und Isolde or Josef K. in Gottfried von Einem's Der Prozess. But above all, his Mime was absolutely
thrilling, and sung with rare perfection (it's such a
difficult part!). In my opinion, that Mime (in both Rheingold and Siegfried) had no equal, neither in his time nor in any other.
He made many guest appearances, Barcelona, La Scala, Rome, Palermo, Catania, Naples, Geneva, Basel, Hongkong, Singapur, Jakarta,
Munich, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Wiesbaden, Bregenz, Santiago de Chile and so on.
Being such a good actor, he also appeared in film and TV productions – of opera (in Robert Dornhelm's Bohème
film as Parpignol, Zauberflöte on Israeli TV and many others), but also in the Austrian short film thriller Anna and
the Austrian whodunit Bell Canto (2010).
Late in his career, he ventured also into musical and sang a spine-chilling Phantom of the opera at the Theater an der
Wien in Vienna
for a full year. At the Vienna Volksoper and in Klagenfurt, he made operatic appearances well into the 21st century, and as late
as 2017, he sang in a new musical (Don Camillo und Peppone by Dario Farina) at the Vienna Ronacher.
Chronologically, Suttheimer was the last tenor able to satisfy the demanding listener so far. When Bonisolli was
already dead and Terranova and Giacomini had retired, Suttheimer was still going strong in his (completely different, of
course) repertory. And among the tenors active in the 21st century until now (I'm writing in 2022), all the others were not fit
to hold a candle to him. With his retirement, the history of great tenor singing has thus come to an (at least temporary) end.
Reference for the earlier part of Suttheimer's life: Kutsch & Riemens