Heinrich Hensel

29 October 1874 Neustadt an der Haardt – 23 February 1935 Hamburg

Picture of Heinrich Hensel

Picture of Heinrich Hensel as Parsifal

Heinrich Hensel sings Die Walküre: Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond
In RA format

Heinrich Hensel sings Les hirondelles (Hirschmann): Das Falkenpaar, with Hermann Schramm (as André)

The son of an industrialist, Hensel had a try at business, too, before studying voice with Gustav Walter in Vienna, later in Berlin, Milano and Frankfurt. He made his debut as a lyrical tenor in Freiburg in 1897. Two years later, he was already a guest at the Vienna Court Opera. 1900 to 1906, he was a member of the Frankfurt opera house, then he went for five years to Wiesbaden, where he developed into a heldentenor.

In 1911, he sang Loge and Parsifal in Bayreuth, and in 1912, Siegmund and Siegfried at the Met. In New York, he worked with the voice teacher Oskar Saenger, who was successful in consolidating Hensel's heldentenor efforts; he soon became really famous, and could now live as a freelance singer, making guest appearances at the Brussels Wagner festival, at Covent Garden, where he had considerable success, and above all in Hamburg, where he sang regularly from 1912 to 1929. Hamburg was also where he taught voice after the end of his career. Hensel was friends with Richard Tauber, whom he served as a model.

Reference: Einhard Luther: Preiser LP liner notes

I wish to thank Daniele Godor for the picture (Parsifal).

Many thanks to Anton Bieber for the hilarious Hirondelles recording.

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