Obituary: Baritone Jan Buchwald Passes Away At 45

By Nicole Kuchta

The Staatsoper Hamburg has announced the death of baritone Jan Buchwald. He was 45.

Buchwald was born in Solingen in 1974. According to Musik Heute, the baritone studied with teachers including Carl-Heinz Müller, Klesie Kelly, and Alois Orth before making his opera debut in Britten’s “Billy Budd” at the Niedersächsischen Staatstheater Hannover.

From fall of 2000 to the summer of 2002, Buchwald was a member of Staatsoper Hamburg’s International Opera Studio, performing the roles of Pantalone in “The Love for Three Oranges” and Dancaïro in “Carmen.” He became a member of the company’s ensemble at the start of the 2002-03 season.

A career highlight, Buchwald sang the title role of Reinhard Keizer’s Hamburg Baroque comedy “Der lächerliche Prinz Jodelet” in 2004. It was recorded by Norddeutscher Rundfunk, becoming the first complete recording of the opera. His interpretation of the role earned him the Dr. Wilhelm Oberdörffer Prize from the Foundation for the Promotion of the Hamburg State Opera.

In 2007, Buchwald performed as Herr von Faninal in Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier” and as Wolfram von Eschenbach in Wagner’s “Tannhäuser.” The following year, he appeared in Alban Berg’s “Lulu” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

In another notable moment of his career, he sang the role of Donner at La Scala and in Berlin, later being invited by Daniel Barenboim to perform the entire Ring Cycle at BBC Proms in 2013.

His final appearance with Staatsoper Hamburg was in February 2015 as Geôlier in Poulenc’s “Dialogues des Carmélites.” Staatsoper Hamburg stated in a Facebook post on Aug. 16 that the company “will keep [Buchwald’s] memory in dignity” (“Wir werden sein Andenken in Würde halten.”)

Here is a clip of the late singer.