Hans Siewert

26 November 1872 Córdoba (Argentina) – 31 March 1941 Berlin

Hans Siewert singsLe postillon de Lonjumeau: Freunde, vernehmet die Geschichte
Is this the very first tenor high D on record?

Hans Siewert singsIl trovatore: Dass nur für mich dein Herz erbebt

Siewert's father Hermann was a famous chemical scientist, and a university professor in Argentina at the time of Hans Siewert's birth. The family returned to Germany when Hans was 4 years old.

He became a pharmacist in Wrocław/Breslau. When his beautiful voice was noticed, he studied singing, and in 1899 made his debut in Cologne, where he stayed until 1903. Then he went back to Breslau, this time as an opera tenor (until 1908). Next, he was in Hamburg for two years, 1911–16 in Karlsruhe, 1916/17 in Essen and 1919–23 in Königsberg/Kaliningrad.

For a brief time, he was married to a Jewish concert singer. They had admittedly divorced back in 1911, but he had a daughter from that marriage; nonetheless, he became a member of the Nazi party already in 1932, i.e. before they came to power. His daughter, Eva Siewert, was "half-Jewish" under the racist Nazi laws; a Lesbian; a leftist and avid antifascist; and an extremely successful radio journalist in the tiny neighbour state of Luxembourg, where she did her best to fight the Nazis (her services could be heard in considerable parts of Germany). After she got trapped in Berlin when trying to get her passport renewed in 1938 (which was denied), she lived precariously in every sense, and continued to fight the Nazis as best she could, even in Germany. And while she struggled for her economic and physical survival, and lived in secret life partnership with a (fully Jewish, and hence constantly hiding) woman, her Nazi father lived placidly in the very same city of Berlin. Some biographies and some people just make you wonder, or shudder... (Eva Siewert was later on twice jailed by the Nazis as a political prisoner, and her life companion was deported to Auschwitz and murdered.)

Coming back to Hans Siewert, the tenor... his most important roles were Jacquino, Lyonel, Tamino, Sylvain (Les dragons de Villars), Phöbus (Notre Dame by Schmidt), David, Chapelou, Duca and Loge. In the last years of his career, he sang comprimario parts only, and also worked as a stage director. He was a successful concert tenor, as well, noted for his performance of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde (which is rather not compatible with his Nazi party membership, either).

Reference 1; reference 2; reference 3: Kutsch & Riemens
Picture source
Source for the recordings

Gramophone, 1908
12401u  Martha (Flotow): Ach so fromm 			 4-42057
12402u  Trovatore (Verdi): Dass nur für mich 		 4-42058
12403u  Postillon de Lonjumeau (Adam): Postillonlied 	 4-42059
12408u  Trovatore (Verdi): Lodern zum Himmel		 unpubl ("cancelled")
12409u  Trovatore (Verdi): Einsam steh' ich (w. Beeg)    2-44360
12449u  Gute Nacht, du mein herziges Kind (Abt) 	 unpubl
12449┬Żu d:o 						 4-42060
12466u  Fatinitza (Suppé): O Fatinitza (w. Wallauer)     2-44363
Discography source: Robert Johannesson's fantastic but defunct 78opera.com

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