Ernst-August Steinhoff

28 July 1917 Bentierode (near Bad Gandersheim) – 23 June 1998 Zürich

Picture of Ernst-August Steinhoff

Picture of Ernst-August Steinhoff
with William Justus

Ernst-August Steinhoff singsFra Diavolo: Ewig will ich dir gehören
Steinhoff wasn't much recorded, probably because – remember, it was the LP era – his wobble made the needle skip like a warped disc would do. Seriously: rarely heard anything like this!
After studies with Wilhelm Rabot und Hans Winkelmann in Hannover, he started his career in 1939 at the Staatstheater Hannover (debut role: Nando in Tiefland). He stayed at that theater until 1941.

After contracts in Posen/Poznań (1941/42) and Gera (1942–44), he became mayor of his home town Bad Gandersheim in 1945. In 1946, he resumed his singing career in Göttingen; 1947–49 in Kassel, 1949–53 in Krefeld, 1953–55 in Braunschweig, 1955/56 in Freiburg, and from 1956 in Zürich, where he was a member of the theater until 1982, and returned as a guest until 1995 (!). During that long period, he made guest appearances throughout Switzerland, at the Vienna Staatsoper (one single performance as Don Ottavio), in Mannheim, at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein and the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Into his earlier Zürich years, he was a lyrical tenor: Tamino, Ferrando, Duca, Alfredo, Fenton in Falstaff, Froh, Bacchus, Turiddu, Nureddin in Der Barbier von Bagdad, Hoffmann, Rodolfo, Cavaradossi, Pinkerton, Rinuccio, Almaviva, Jeník. Later on, and throughout his career on the radio, he was a comprimario.

Steinhoff sang a lot of contemporary opera in Zürich. On 6 September 1961, he participated in the world premiere of Martinů's Greek passion in the role of Michelis. He also took part in the Swiss premieres of: Aroldo (1956/57 season as Godvino), Schule der Frauen by Rolf Liebermann (1957/58 as Horace), A midsummer might's dream by Britten (1960/61 as Lysander), Mystère de la Nativité by Frank Martin (1961/62 as Ysambert), Karl V. by Krenek (1969/70 as Henry Mathys), Der Besuch der alten Dame by Gottfried von Einem (1971/72 as Koby), Jakob Lenz by Wolfgang Rihm (1982/83 as Kaufmann), Owen Wingrave by Britten (1986/87 as Sir Philip Wingrave), Rothschilds Geige von B. Flejschman (1987/88 as Rothschild), Lear by Aribert Reimann (1987/88 als Kent) and Venus by Othmar Schoeck (1988/89 as Baron de Zarandelle).

He had a career as a concert tenor, too. Married to the singer May Torrend (1911–2009).

Reference 1: Kutsch & Riemens, reference 2

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