Music for Holy Week (I)

Bach: Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244; Richter, Munich Bach Orchestra
DVD Deutsche Grammophon 000617709
Recorded 1971

Siegmund Nimsgern (Bass), Peter Schreier (Tenor), Helen Donath (Soprano), Ernst Gerold Schramm (Bass), Julia Hamari (Alto), Horst Laubenthal (Tenor), Walter Berry (Bass).

Julia Hamari‘s being so under the radar in the U.S. makes me think that there must be so many other truly exceptional singers who for one reason or another, we never hear about. So to rectify that, here is a video from 1971 when she was in her prime; and at least she has YouTube fame, more than 1 million views.

From the Wiki entry:

Julia Hamari was born in Budapest, where she received her vocal training with Fatime Martins and Jenö Sipos. She studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music and received her diploma in both singing and teaching singing. In 1964, she won the Erkel International Singing Competition in Budapest. She then continued her studies at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Stuttgart until 1966.

Richter DVDIn 1966, she made her debut as a soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Karl Richter in Vienna, together with Teresa Stich-Randall, Peter Schreier, Hermann Prey and Ernst Gerold Schramm.

Her opera début was the part of Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen at the 1967 Salzburg Festival, together with Grace Bumbry, Jon Vickers, and Mirella Freni, Herbert von Karajan conducting; in 1987 she herself appeared in the title role at the Staatsoper Stuttgart with conductor Carlos Kleiber. Her early career soon included major roles such as Malcolm in a 1970 Turin revival of Rossini’s La Donna del Lago, joining Franco Bonisolli as Uberto and Montserrat Caballé as Elena. In 1975, she sang the part of Magdalene in Georg Solti’s first recording of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with the Vienna Philharmonic, Norman Bailey as Sachs, and René Kollo as Stolzing. In 1979, she sang Celia in Haydn’s La fedeltà premiata at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, in 1980 Orfeo in Glück’s Orfeo ed Euridice at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, in 1984 Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Dallas Opera, and in 1986 Angelina in Rossini’s La Cenerentola. In 1982, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia. At the Cologne Opera, she sang Sesto in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, and at the Covent Garden Opera Cherubino in his Le nozze di Figaro.


Quite a remarkable career, and quite a beautiful voice.

# # #