Obituary: Famed Bass-Baritone Franz Mazura Dies at 95

By Dejan Vukosavljevic
(Credit: Boris Orlob Management)

Legendary Austrian bass-baritone Franz Mazura died today, according to multiple sources.

Mazura enjoyed a very rich and a lengthy career, appearing on the major world stages and at the biggest opera houses in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera House, The Opéra National de Paris and the Wiener Staatsoper, among others.

Mazura studied at the Academy of Music in Detmold, and worked during his studies at the Nationaltheater Detmold. He made his first appearance at the Staatstheater Kassel in 1949, and continued his career at the Stadttheater Mainz and Staatstheater Braunschweig. He was a member of the ensemble at Nationaltheater Mannheim from 1964 until 1987 and received regular invitations by major German theaters such as the Staatsoper Hamburg, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Bayerische Staatsoper Munich.

Mazura was pronounced Der Kammersänger in 1980 and an Honorary Member of the National Theater of Mannheim in 1990.

Mazura appeared at major festivals, including the Salzburger Festspiele, where he performed the role of Don Pizzaro in Beethoven’s opera “Fidelio.” He had also appeared in the roles of Baron Scarpia in Puccini, Illica, and Giacosa’s “Tosca” and Jochanaan in Strauss and Lachmann’s “Salome.”

In 1980 Mazura joined the ensemble of the Metropolitan Opera House. He debuted in New York with the role of Dr. Schön in Berg’s opera “Lulu” and performed major roles in several Wagner operas, including “Parsifal” and the Ring cycle.

From 1975 until 1995 Mazura was a regular guest at the Bayreuther Festspiele, where he performed the roles of Klingsor in “Parsifal,” Biterolf in “Tannhäuser,” König Marke in “Tristan und Isolde,” and others.

His most recent appearances included the roles of Der Pfleger in Strauss and Hofmannsthal’s “Elektra” at the Staatsoper unter der Linden Berlin; Abraham in Batistelli’s opera “Lot;” and Sir Edgar in Henze’s “Der Junge Lord” at the Staatsoper Hannover.

Mazura’s last appearance on the stage was in April 2019, when he performed the role of Hans Schwarz in Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” at the Staatsoper unter der Linden in Berlin, under the baton of Daniel Barenboim.