Obituary: Baritone Hans Helm Passes at 89

By David Salazar
(Image Source: Vienna State Opera)

Baritone Hans Helm has passed away at the age of 89.

Born in 1934 in Passau, Germany, he was a major staple of the Vienna State Opera where he performed for over 25 years and became a Kammersänger in 1986. His debut with the company came in Hans Pfitzner’s “Palestrina.” But during his lengthy career with the company he appeared 46 times as Figaro in “Il Barbiere di Siviglia;” 45 times as Almaviva in “Le Nozze di Figaro;” 30 times as Marcello in “La Bohème,” and 69 times Faninal in “Der Rosenkavalier.” Another major role of his was Malatesta in “Don Pasquale.”

His repertory also featured works by Beethoven, Mozart, and Wagner, among others.

He also had stints in Graz, Kassel, and Dortmund.

“He clearly loved his profession, the house, his colleagues,” adds a statement on the Vienna State Opera website. “At the same time, he was not one of those who wanted to push himself into the foreground. Even after the end of his career (which had also taken him to many other important international stages), he preferred to praise the achievements of others in order to modestly distract from himself.”