Josef Witt

Picture of  Josef Witt

Josef Witt sings Otello: Hierher! Hier hört uns niemand, with Paul Schöffler and Torsten Ralf (Otello)

Josef Witt sings Macbeth: Das Vaterland zu retten, with Willy Franter (Malcolm)
In RA format
Josef Witt, born 17 May 1901 in Munich; died 3 January 1990 in Vienna. Studied voice in his home city, where he also made his debut in 1920. Thereafter at the theaters of Stettin (now Szczecin/Poland), Breslau (now Wrocław), Karlsruhe, Dortmund, Cologne and Braunschweig. At the Vienna Staatsoper from 1937 on, where he sang a wide repertory of both leading and secondary roles: Parsifal, Erik, Loge, Pedro, Mathias (Der Evangelimann), Max, Eisenstein, Shujskij, Herodes, Cassio, Altoum, Cajus and many others – his most important success being the title role in Pfitzner's Palestrina. At the Salzburg Festival in 1942, 1947 (world premiere of Gottfried von Einem's Dantons Tod) and 1948. From 1942 on, he had a successful second job as a stage director at the Vienna Staatsoper. Later in life, he was a voice teacher in Vienna (Walter Berry and Mimi Coertse being among his pupils). His recorded legacy is minimal.

Of the two tenors in the Macbeth selection, Franter is the one who sings the opening bars, and Witt responds with one single line before the join into their duettino; or in other words, Franter is the one with the lighter, more forward voice who is pushing, and Witt the one with the rasping voice and the wobble who sounds like Rosvaenge's younger brother having catched cold.

Reference 1: Kutsch & Riemens, reference 2: archives of the Vienna Staatsoper

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