5 Notable Non-Wagnerian Roles By Tenor René Kollo

By David Salazar

Rene Kollo (or René Kollodzieyski, as he was born on Nov. 20, 1937), was a renowned Wagnerian tenor.

He took on every major leading role by the great composer, recording almost all of his interpretations to great acclaim with the best of conductors. His Siegfried was recorded with Wolfgang Sawallisch, his Lohengrin and Walther von Stolzing with Herbert Von Karajan, and his Tannhäuser with Georg Solti, just to name a few.

But he also took on a number of roles outside the Wagnerian repertoire. Here’s a look at some of those prominent roles.

Bacchus in “Ariadne auf Naxos”

The tenor only ever sang two roles at the Metropolitan Opera in his entire career. One was Lohengrin and the other was the hero from this Richard Strauss masterwork. He sang alongside Leontyne Price for good measure, under the baton of James Levine. He sang it seven times in total at the Met and would also take on the role in Vienna under Karl Böhm. He also recorded it under Solti.


The tenor would take on the famed Verdi role, later in his career, most prominently in 1988 in Frankfurt.

Peter Grimes

Another rare role for the tenor, Kollo appeared as the famed Britten character even later on in his character then he did Verdi’s “Otello.” He appeared as the title character in 1991 in Munich and would reprise the role a few years later with the same company.

Florestan in “Fidelio”

One of his famous Non-Wagner roles, Kollo famously created the role for Leonard Bernstein’s iconic interpretation which is preserved on a very popular DVD.

Count Danilo From “The Merry Widow”

Few know that the great Wagnerian tenor actually started his career as a lyric tenor and he never quite left his light repertoire behind. In fact, he appears on Von Karajan’s famous recording of the operetta by Franz Lehar.


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