Ernst Gruber

20 December 1918 Vienna – 24 August 1979 Berlin

Picture of Ernst Gruber in Sadko
Ernst Gruber in Sadko

Picture of Ernst Gruber as Sly
Ernst Gruber as Sly

Picture of Ernst Gruber as Otello
Ernst Gruber as Otello

Picture of Ernst Gruber as Tristan
Ernst Gruber as Tristan
Ernst Gruber studied first in Vienna, then in Graz, where he also made his debut in 1947 as Max. He sang a bit around Switzerland and Hungary before being hired by the Nationaltheater Weimar in 1949. 1949, that's the year the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR) was founded (in October, so probably just when Gruber took up his new post) – and Weimar was in the GDR. Now 95 percent (a cautious estimate) of Gruber's fellow Austrians would rather have starved anywhere else before deliberately choosing to live in the Soviet orbit; the fear that the country could, like Germany, be divided into a Western and a Russian-controlled part actually overwhelmed Austria in those years after WWII. Gruber however stayed in the GDR, and he stayed for good.

In 1953, he became a member of the Leipzig opera, where he remained, loosely speaking, for the rest of his career. Actually, his Leipzig engagement was interrupted by a short period at the Berlin State Opera (which lay in the GDR, as well, mind you); and he was a frequent guest at the Semperoper in Dresden. He also sang abroad, including Frankfurt (West Germany!), Philadelphia, Barcelona, Lisbon and Amsterdam.

Gruber's voice was hardly beautiful, but strong, heroic and definitely impressive, and he was a competent, quite thrilling interpreter, particularly in the Italian repertory.

Reference: Kutsch & Riemens

Ernst Gruber singsIl trovatore: Lodern zum Himmel
In RA format

Ernst Gruber sings Die Walküre: Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond
In RA format

Ernst Gruber sings Otello: Jeder Knabe kann mein Schwert mir entreißen

Repertory minimum
Tristan und Isolde
Die Götterdämmerung
Der Freischütz
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Die Zauberflöte
Il trovatore
Adriana Lecouvreur
Iphigénie en Tauride
I would like to thank Daniele Godor for the picture (Sadko).
I would like to thank Georges Cardol for the recording (Otello).
Reference: Orpheus Oper International, December 2002

Go Home