Obituary: Tenor Kenneth Riegel Dies at 85

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Mubi)

Tenor Kenneth Riegel has died at the age of 85.

Born on April 19, 1938 in Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania, Riegel made his theatrical debut as the Alchemist in “König Hirsch” at Santa Fe Opera in 1965. That same year he went on to sing at the Royal Opera House for the first time and in 1969 he made his New York City Opera debut.

His Metropolitan Opera debut came in 1973 in “Les Troyens” and that would lead to a career of 102 performances with the company. He would perform such operas as “La Clemenza di Tito,” “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” “Elektra,” “Fidelio,” “Lulu,” “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” and “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny,” among others.

Riegel also appeared at the Paris Opera, and Hamburg State Opera and created the role of Leper in “Saint François d’Assise.”

Throughout his career he recorded a number of operas including “Don Giovanni” with Ruggero Raimondi, “Lulu” with Teresa Stratas, and “Salome” with Catherine Malfitano, and Bryn Terfel. He went on to receive two Grammy Award nominations for his work on “La Damnation de Faust” and “Boris Godunov.”