Arthur Cavara

16 (29) June 1901 Liepājā – 9 April 1979 Gulfport (Florida)
They don't make tenors like Cavara anymore; in fact, they haven't been making them for decades. Cavara is a prime example of what's wrong with opera today.

True, he was no master of style and vocal technique like Schipa, no genius of individualistic interpretation like Kozlovskyj, his tone was not the epitome of beauty like Beniamino Gigli's, he did not have the artistic seriousness of Faniard, the controlled power and virtuosity of Sirota, the refinement of Vinogradov or the vocal compactness of Tudor Davies. His manner of showing off what he had to offer (and that was a lot) adds a slightly provincial touch. From a 1930 point of view, you might call him a B tenor. And in his time, there were so many wonderful singers that he was actually a B tenor; his career was nice, but by no means spectacular.

But what a blessed age that had such brilliant B tenors! Cavara's singing is so committed and convincing, his voice so radiant, his top so easy that it's a sheer joy to listen to him. And his repertory was incredibly wide and varied. After WWII, there were exceedingly few tenors who could compete with Cavara: Bonisolli. Moldoveanu. Perhaps Veronelli. Who else? And the 21st-century tenors, including the relatively best among them, could not even be accepted as a member of a choir accompanying someone like Cavara.

Born Arturs Priednieks, he chose Cavara as his stage name because Cavaradossi was his favorite role. In Latvia, however, and also on his Latvian discs, he was billed as Priednieks-Kavara (Kavara with K because Latvians would otherwise pronounce it as Tsavara.)

Cavara was self trained when he made his debut in the opera choir of Liepājā in 1923. His debut as a soloist was in 1926: he stepped in for a sick tenor as Riccardo. An attempt to get a contract at the Riga opera theater was unsuccessful, so he went to Berlin for vocal studies in 1927. While studying, he sang in cinemas; but very soon, he was engaged to the theater of Barmen-Elberfeld as a soloist. He continued his studies nonetheless until 1931 (and later studied again in Vienna, from 1935 to 1937).

From 1929 (or 1928?) to 1931, he was at the Krolloper in Berlin, where he sang the main tenor roles in Les contes d'Hoffmann, L'heure espagnole, Angélique by Ibert, Prodaná nevěsta, Krenek's Leben des Orest, La muette de Portici, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, Z mrtvého domu/From the house of the dead, and the world premiere of Hindemith's Neues vom Tage (8 June 1929) with Stückgold, Krenn, Wirl, Kalter, and Ernster under Otto Klemperer's baton.

He also sang at the Städtische Oper Berlin (1932/33) in Salome (Narraboth), with Maria Németh and Hans Reinmar (premiere on 22 January 1933); Undine (Hugo von Ringstetten), with Gerhard Hüsch (premiere on 16 August 1932); and Graf Ferraud in Oberst Chabert by Hermann Waltershausen, with Hans Reinmar and Gerhard Hüsch on 4 March 1933.

From 1930 onwards, he sang regularly in Riga (Lohengrin, Alvaro, Faust, Alfredo, Rodolfo and many others) and Liepājā (Lenskij, Manrico, Radames).

As a guest, he appeared in Vienna (both at the Volksoper and the Staatsoper, where he sang Riccardo, Cavaradossi, Rodolfo, Manrico and Calaf in 1935), Graz (1938–40), Zürich (1933–34; world premiere of Zemlinsky's Kreidekreis in 1933), Geneva, and in 1936, he toured South America, where he was successful at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.

Further roles included Assad (Die Königin von Saba by Goldmark), Florestan, Laca in Její pastorkyňa/Jenůfa, Lyonel, Osaka, Turiddu, Tamino, Sly, Nadir and Faust (La damnation de Faust).

Other than making lots of records (also with lots of popular music), he was also a favorite on the Latvian radio.

When the Soviets occupied Latvia in 1944, he fled to Germany, then emigrated to the United States, where he taught singing and still gave concerts, but never again appeared on stage.

The details on Cavara's Berlin activities have been contributed by Guido Bathe.

Arthur Cavara singsTosca: E lucevan le stelle, in Latvian

Arthur Cavara singsLohengrin: In fernem Land, in Latvian

Arthur Cavara singsDie drei Musketiere: Ja tev sirdi cits

Arthur Cavara singsLes pêcheurs de perles: Je crois entendre encore, in Latvian

Arthur Cavara singsPagliacci: Smejies, Pajaco

Arthur Cavara singsDschainah, das Mädchen aus dem Tanzhaus: Nav laimes bez mīlas

Arthur Cavara singsAida: Holde Aida
transposed – one half-note upwards!

Arthur Cavara singsDas Land des Lächelns: Immer nur lächeln
another half-note transposition upwards

Arthur Cavara sings Un ballo in maschera: Nur Scherze sind's und Possen,
with Elsa Ruziczka-Tegetthoff, Felix Fleischer-Janczak, Eduard Kandl and Erna Berger

Artiphon, Berlin 1928-06?
3164      Rigoletto:  Freundlich blick' ich                			3164, Audiphon 40114 
3165      Tosca: Und es blitzen die Sterne                 			3165
3166      Tosca: Wie sich die Bilder gleichen              			3166                       
3167      Carmen:  Hier an dem Herzen                      			3167, Audiphon 40114

Artiphon, Berlin 1928-06/07
3204 	  Trovatore (Verdi): Dass nur für mich dein Herz erbebt			03204, Phonycord 131
3205 	  Martha (Flotow): Ach, so fromm 					03205, Phonycord 45, Clangor M9190, Paloma K231
3206 	  Trovatore (Verdi): Lodern zum Himmel 					03206
3207 	  Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner): Morgenlich leuchtend		03207, 9921, Phonycord 131
3218 	  Grüsst mir das blonde Kind am Rhein (Heiser) 				03218, Phonycord 155
3219 	  Ein rheinisches Mädchen bei rheinischem Wein (Hoppe) 			03219, Phonycord 155
3220 	  Vom Rhein der Wein (Brandt) 						03220
3221 	  Der lachende Ehemann (Eysler): Fein, fein schmeckt uns der Wein 	03221, 8438, Clangor M551
3222 	  Zarewitsch (Lehár): Willst du 					03222, Audiphon 30109
3223 	  Der Lenz (Hildach) 							03223, Phonycord 45
3224 	  Paganini (Lehár): Gern hab ich die Frau'n geküsst 			03224, 8438, Phonycord 3, Brillant 171, 
										Clangor M552, Tempo 171
3225 	  O wunderreiche Nacht (Zeilbeck) 					03225

Artiphon, Berlin 1928-07/08
7356 	  Africaine (Meyerbeer): Land so wunderbar				07356, Swisscord D501
7357 	  Faust (Gounod): Gegrüßt sei mir 					07357, Swisscord D502
7358 	  Juive (Halévy): Recha, als Gott dich einst 				07358, Swisscord D517
7359 	  Lohengrin (Wagner): In fernem Land 					07359, Swisscord D518
7370 	  Friederike (Lehár): O Mädchen, mein Mädchen 				07370
7371 	  Friederike (Lehár): Sah ein Knab' ein Röslein steh'n 			07371

Artiphon, Berlin 1928-11?
3335 	  Leise flehen meine Lieder (Schubert) 					03335
3336 	  Ich liebe dich (Grieg) 						03336
3343 	  Wien, Wien, nur du allein (Sieczynski) 				03343
3344 	  Im Prater blüh'n wieder die Bäume (Stolz) 				03344
3345 	  Élégie (Massenet) 							03345, Elton 169
3346 	  Aida (Verdi): Holde Aida 						03346
3347 	  Rigoletto (Verdi): O wie so trügerisch 				03347, Hertie 800

Artiphon, Berlin 1928-12?
3457 	  Millions d'Arlequin (Drigo): Serenade 				03457
3458 	  Maria Marì (Di Capua) 						03458, Phonycord 3, Tempo 6061
3459 	  Contes d'Hoffmann (Offenbach): Es war einmal am Hofe von Eisenach 	03459, 9984
3460 	  Contes d'Hoffmann (Offenbach): Ha, wie ist meine Seele entbrannt 	03460, 9984

Artiphon, Berlin 1929-01/02
3626 	  Manon (Massenet): Flieh, o flieh 					03626, Bu-Scha 1009
3627 	  Traviata (Verdi): Auf, schlürfet in durstigen Zügen 			03627, Bu-Scha 1009, Phonycord 191

Artiphon, Berlin 1929-08?
3648 	  Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Hüll dich in Tand 				03648, Phonycord P80, 37
3649 	  Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni): O Lola 				03649, Phonycord P80, 37

Artiphon, Berlin 1929-10?
3872 	  Land des Lächelns (Lehár): Immer nur lächeln 				03872, 9607, Phonycord 39, 
										Brillant 171, Tempo 171
3873 	  Land des Lächelns (Lehár): Dein ist mein ganzes Herz 			03873, 9607, Phonycord 39
3892 	  Mignon (Thomas): Leb wohl, Mignon 					03892
3893 	  Zauberflöte (Mozart): Wie stark ist nicht dein Zauberton 		03893
3894 	  Zauberflöte (Mozart): Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön 		03894
3895 	  Gioconda (Ponchielli): Himmel und Meer				03895

Artiphon, Berlin 1930-07?
11394 	  Traviata (Verdi): Ach, ihres Auges Zauberblick 			11394, 8410
11395 	  Tosca (Puccini): Die zarten Hände					11395, 8410
11396 	  Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Nein, bin Bajazzo nicht mehr 		11396

HMV, Berlin 1930-10 (refrain singing by Cavara)
BD9128-1  Mātes sirds (My yiddishe momme) (Yellen/Pollack) 			EM72 (30-4803)
BD9128-2  d:o 									unpubl
BD9129-1  O Donna Klara (Peterburski) 						EM71 (30-4800)
BD9129-2  d:o 									unpubl
BD9130-1  Jel teic man to skaņās (Säg det i toner) (Sylvain) 			EM72 (30-4802)
BD9130-2  d:o 									unpubl
BD9131-1  Tu visu saldākā pasaule man (Du bist das süssestes Mädel) (Sylvain)	EM71 (30-4801)
BD9131-2  d:o 									unpubl
BD9132-1  Zwei Herzen im 3/4 Takt (Stolz): Tu-ar mani pievilt reiz naksi 	EM70 (30-4798)
BD9132-2  d:o 									unpubl
BD9133-1  Zwei Herzen im 3/4 Takt (Stolz): Divas sirdis trisceturdal takti 	unpubl
BD9133-2  d:o 									EM70 (30-4799)

HMV, Berlin 1930-10-10
BD9134-1  Dreimäderlhaus (Schubert-Berté): a) Nac paklausties droudzin; 
          b) Lal man to ziedonis stasta 					EM69 (30-4796)
BD9134-2  d:o 									unpubl
BD9135-1  Land des Lächelns (Lehár): Tev pieder mana sirds no 			EM69 (30-4797)
BD9135-2  d:o 									unpubl?

Artiphon, Berlin 1930-12?
11914     Das Herrgottslied (Krausz): Ich bin verliebt, mein Edelweiss 		11914
11915 	  Das Herrgottslied (Krausz): So wie du gibt's kein Mäderle mehr 	11915

HMV, København 1931-01-28/31
0T79-1 	  My love parade (Schertzinger) 					EK1060
0T79-2 	  d:o 									unpubl
0T80-1 	  Liebling, mein Herz lässt dich grüßen (Heymann) 			EK1060
0T80-2    d:o 									unpubl
(Liliedahl: EK1060 only Teddy Petersens Orkester without singing, Kelly lists EK1060 as by Cavara)
0T81-1 	  Traviata (Verdi): Brindisi 						EK1061
0T81-2 	  d:o 									unpubl
0T82-1    Rigoletto (Verdi): La donna è mobile 					EK1061
0T82-2 	  d:o 									unpubl
0T83-1 	  Tosca (Puccini): Recondita armonia 					EK1062
0T83-2 	  d:o 									unpubl
0T84-1 	  Tosca (Puccini): E lucevan le stelle 					EK1062
0T84-2 	  d:o 									unpubl
0T85-1 	  Birze dziedāja šupla dziesmu (Kalninš) 				unpubl?
0T85-2 	  d:o 									EK1063
0T86-1 	  a) Pasaciņa (Šuberts); b) Aizver actinas un smaidi (Darzinš) 		EK1063
0T86-2 	  d:o 									unpubl?
(All sung in Latvian.)

Artiphon, Berlin 1931-01/02
12062	  Schön ist die Welt (Lehár): Liebste, glaub an mich 			12062, Tempo 6060
12063 	  Schön ist die Welt (Lehár): Schön ist die Welt 			12063

HMV, Berlin 1931-03-03
0D215-1   Ja, wenn das Wörtchen 'Wenn' nicht wär' (Stolz) 			EK1064
0D215-2   d:o 									unpubl
0D216-1   Das Lied ist aus (Stolz) 						unpubl
0D217-2	  d:o 									EK1064
0D218-1   Schön ist die Welt (Lehár): Liebste glaub an mich 			EK1065
0D218-2   d:o 									unpubl
0D219-1   Schön ist die Welt (Lehár): Schön ist die Welt 			EK1065
0D219-2   d:o 									unpubl
(All sung in Latvian.)

HMV, København 1931-08-25
0T359-1   Kur tu teci, gaīlīti mans (folk song) 				EK1080
0T359-2   d:o 									unpubl
0T360-1   Maigums un grēks (Medinš) 						unpubl
0T360-2   d:o 									EK1080
2T361-1   Lohengrin (Wagner): Lohengrīna atvadīšanās (Mein lieber Schwan) 	unpubl
2T361-2   d:o 									32-2393, EL1007
2T362-1   Lohengrin (Wagner): Grāla stāsts (In fernem Land) 			unpubl
2T362-2   d:o 									32-2394, EL1007
2T363-1   Aida (Verdi): Dieviška Aīda (Celeste Aida) 				EL1008
2T363-2   d:o 									unpubl
2T364-1   Juive (Halévy): Rahel, no debess tu (Rachel, quand du seigneur) 	unpubl
2T364-2   d:o 									EL1008

HMV, København 1931-08-26/30
0T366-1   Man gribas mirt (Vorrei morire) (Tosti) 				unpubl
0T366-2   d:o 									EK1081
0T367-1   Lai tev, tu masigais draugs (Lass dir, du zarter Freund) (Rubinstein) unpubl
0T367-2   d:o 									EK1081
0T368-1   Orphée aux enfers (Offenbach): Kad biju Arkadijas keninš 		EK1082
	  (Quand j'étais roi de Boétie)
0T368-2   d:o 									unpubl
0T369-1   Tā debess izteic tā Mužīgā speku (Die Himmel rühmen) (Beethoven)	EK1083
0T369-2   d:o 									unpubl
0T370-1   Augšā aiz zvaigznēm (Über den Sternen) (Abt) 				unpubl
0T370-2   d:o 									EK1083
2T371-1   Pêcheurs de perles (Bizet): Reiz mēnesnicas zaigā (Je crois entendre) unpubl
2T372-1   Carmen (Bizet): Zieds, kuru manim kādreiz devi (La fleur)		unpubl
2T372-2   d:o 									unpubl
0T373-1   Sadko (Rimskij-Korsakov): Nav skaita dimantiem (Ne schest almazov)	unpubl
0T373-2   d:o 									EK1084
0T374-1   Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Smejies, Pajaco! (Vesti la giubba) 		unpubl
0T374-2   d:o 									EK1084
0T375-1   Ein Walzertraum (Straus): Vēl klusi telpā sapnis šis san		unpubl
	  (Leise, ganz leise)
0T375-2   d:o 									EK1082
0T376-1   Lauj ēnai man tik tavai but (Rath) (as refrain singer) 		EK1085
0T376-2   d:o 									unpubl?

Polydor/Grammophon, Berlin 1933-06
686BE8 	  Rigoletto: Sie fliehen mich (Partite, crudele)			unpubl
          with Karl August Neumann, Hans Batteux, Felix Fleischer-Janczak, 
	  Eduard Kandl and Erna Berger
(by the way, the only recording I've ever seen of the important comprimario Batteux)						
686½BE8   d:o 									35004, Decca CA8168
687BE8    Ballo in maschera (Verdi): Nur Scherze sind's und Possen		unpubl
          with Eduard Kandl, Felix Fleischer-Janczak, Erna Berger 
	  and Else Ruziczka
687½BE8   d:o 									35004, Decca CA8168

Bellaccord, Riga 1933
M3266	  Ik diena bez tevis (Ein Tag ohne dich) (Rebner)			4001
M3268	  Gribu precēties (Ich möchte heiraten) (Krausz)			4001

Bellaccord, Riga 1934
M3550	  Skumjas (Okolo-Kulaks)						3270, Rīgas 29806
M3551	  Mīļākā, tu mana laime (Okolo-Kulaks)					3270, Rīgas 29807
M3648 	  Pêcheurs de perles (Bizet): Reiz mēnesnicas zaigā (Je crois entendre) 3315, 82
M3649 	  Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Smejies, Pajaco! (Vesti la giubba)		3315, 82
M3650	  Tam, kas jauns ir (Wenn du jung bist, gehört dir die Welt) (May)	3313
M3651	  Tiritomba (folk song)							3313
M3739	  Balodis (La paloma) (de Yradier)					3351
M3740	  Mana saule ('O sole mio) (Di Capua)					3351, Rīgas 28848
M3757	  Drei Musketiere (Benatzky): Ja tev sirdi cits (Wenn du treulos bist) 	3352, Rīgas 28842
?????	  Ļauj tevi mūžam mīlēt (Okolo-Kulaks)					????

Bellaccord, Riga 1935
M3840	  Ar dziesmām dzīvē mēs ejam (Marsh vesjolykh rebjat) (Dunaevskij)	3401, Rīgas 28840
M3841	  Sirds (Serdtse) (Dunaevskij)						3401, Rīgas 28841

Bellaccord, Riga 1936
M4044	  Dschainah (Abraham): Nav laimes bez mīlas (Ohne Liebe kann mein Herz)	3484, Rīgas 28843
M4045	  Dschainah (Abraham): Es vēlos Tevi skūpstīt (Ich möchte so gern)	3484
M4046	  Jocelyn (Godard): Zem nakts spārniem (Cachés dans cet asile)		3485
M4047	  Eleģija (Massenet)							3485, Rīgas 28849

Bellaccord, Riga 1937
M4461	  Tevi mīlu es (Ich liebe dich) (Stolz)					3664, Rīgas 29804
M4462	  Klusi, sirds (Weine nicht) (Stolz)					3664, Rīgas 29805

Bellaccord, Riga 1938
M4639	  Ak Marī (Maria Marì) (Di Capua)					3745, Rīgas 28848
M4640	  Santa Lučija (Cottrau)						3745, Rīgas Līgo 29946
Live recording
Der Rosenkavalier (Strauss), complete recording
Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, 20 September 1936
Fritz Busch (conductor); Aleksandr Kipnis (Ochs), Germaine Hoerner (Marschallin), Editha Fleischer (Sophie),
Tiana Lemnitz (Octavian), Fritz Krenn (Faninal), Arthur Cavara (italienischer Sänger)
CD: Marston 53005-2 (3 CDs)
Reference for the discography: Robert Johannesson's (alas defunct), Russian Records, Europeana, Marston Records

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