Karl Streitmann

8 May 1858 Vienna – 29 October 1937 Vienna

Streitmann started studying medicine, but when his father, who owned a bank, went to the wall, he needed money and decided to become an actor: he made his debut in Pressburg/Bratislava, then went to Berlin, Bromberg/Bydgoszcz, Thorn/Toruń and Sigmaringen. Then he studied voice, and in 1879 got a contract at the Vienna Carl-Theater, where already his sister Rosa sang operetta. From 1882, he was a the Deutsches Landestheater in Prague, and was so successful in operetta that he ventured into opera: José, Wilhelm Meister, Tamino, Manrico. In 1885, he came back to Vienna, to the Theater an der Wien, this time, where he developed into one of Austria's most prominent operetta singers. He was Barinkay in the world premiere of Zigeunerbaron on 25 October 1885 – just one in a long list of operetta world premieres in which Streitmann participated. But he also sang the odd opera part, for instance Lyonel as a guest at the Berlin Court Opera in 1888. 1889 to 1891, he went on a long tour through North America, and sang Barinkay in the US premiere in New York on 22 September 1889. 1892–1900, he was again at the Theater an der Wien, then in Berlin until 1902, and then back to Vienna (alternating at the Theater an der Wien and the Carl-Theater until 1910). After 1910, he made only occasional guest appearances.

Judging from his more accessible records (G&T and Odeon, like the Zigeunerbaron selection below), it's hard to imagine him in any other operatic part than Giuseppe in La traviata (four-words-on-one-note role, "La cena è pronta"); but his just few years earlier Favorite discs are altogether a different story, and here, you can even listen to Streitmann in an (admittedly obscure) opera aria.

Karl Streitmann singsDas goldene Kreuz (Brüll): Was ist Leben ohne Liebe?

Karl Streitmann singsEin Walzertraum: Leise, ganz leise

Karl Streitmann singsDer Zigeunerbaron: Ja, das alles auf Ehr'

Karl Streitmann singsDie Jagd nach dem Glück (Suppé): Muss ewig ich dein gedenken
This is not just a very rare but also a very interesting record (from 1901): Suppé's completely forgotten operetta Die Jagd nach dem Glück was written for Streitmann, and he sang of course the 1882 world premiere.

Source for the recordings (Das goldene Kreuz, Walzertraum, Zigeunerbaron)
Source for the pictures: Theatermuseum, Wien
Reference for the biography: Kutsch & Riemens

Many thanks to Anton Bieber for the Suppé recording and label scan.

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