24 Songs

TITLE TIME
9:58
6:49
1:46
10:46
4:14
24:49
2:35
5:39
5:22
6:58
7:55
4:55
2:29
9:17
4:01
12:03
4:13
4:25
6:42
2:06
4:29
4:15
4:06
7:04

About Karl Elmendorff

Karl Elmendorff was a German conductor whose career was almost exclusively tied to the opera house. Certainly, his recorded legacy involves only opera, and for a conductor who died in 1962 he is fairly well represented on several labels, with over 30 recordings available. That said, many of those recordings are actually billed under the name of an opera star from yesteryear, featured in a collection of numbers from various operas under several different conductors. Nevertheless, Elmendorff was a prominent conductor who led major performances at some of the most prestigious venues, including at the Bayreuth Festival, the Dresden State Opera, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Bavarian State Opera, and others. Critically, Elmendorff is generally viewed as a seasoned master of a broad repertory largely of German, Italian, and French opera. He was particularly known for his incisive interpretations of Wagner's operas. Elmendorff's efforts to promote German opera in Italy and Italian opera in Germany helped create a climate of reciprocal pursuit in the operatic traditions of both countries. His recordings are still widely available, mostly on reissue labels like Preiser Records, Pearl, Hafg, and Gala.

Karl (Eduard Maria) Elmendorff was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, on October 25, 1891. From 1913-1916 he studied conducting at the Hochschule für Musik Köln under Hermann Abendroth and Fritz Steinbach. In 1916 Elmendorff debuted at the Dusseldorf Opera, and he continued to regularly conduct there until 1920.

Elmendorff next had two short stints, the first at the Staatstheater Mainz from 1920-1923, and the second at the Theater Hagen from 1923-1924. He then served as first conductor at the Bavarian State Opera (1925-1932) under music director Hans Knappertsbusch, and during this time he also conducted at the Berlin State Opera.

In 1932 Elmendorff was appointed music director at both the Staatstheater at Kassel and the Wiesbaden-based Hessische Staatstheater. He also served as the music director at the National Theater Mannheim from 1935-1942. Meanwhile, he was occupied during his summers: from his 1927 Bayreuth debut (Wagner's Tristan und Isolde), Elmendorff was a regular at the Bayreuth Festival until 1942.

Elmendorff served at the Dresden State Opera from 1942, but returned to the posts he held with the Kassel Staatstheater and Hessische Staatstheater from 1948-1956. He freelanced in his remaining years, appearing at opera houses throughout Europe, including La Scala. Among Elmendorff's more memorable recordings is his 1942 Wagner/Götterdämmerung, taped live at the Bayreuth Festival and available on Music & Arts.

Top Songs by Karl Elmendorff

Top Albums by Karl Elmendorff