Helge Roswaenge 1933-1942

Born in Copenhagen in 1897, Helge Roswaenge was one of the most popular and beloved tenors of this century. He was largely self-taught, taking only a few lessons with a local singing teacher which he combined with listening to records of his great idol, Enrico Caruso. He was known as 'The Knight of the High D'. In 1951 he received the Gold Ring of the Vienna State Opera Gallery. Birgit Nilsson is the only other singer to have received this tribute, a sign of sincere gratitude for an unforgettable contribution to opera.


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"I first heard " Gott! welch dunkel hier "sung by Roswaenge about 50 years ago at a friends home. This was on a 78 and I tried in vain to get a CD version .Then I found this Prima Voce on Amazon & ordered it at once..I thought Fidelio's aria as good as I remembered, & I still think it's the best version, Although Vickers may dispute that The rest of the CD is very good too, Fine transfers & good sound for the period. For those who don't know Roswaenge, he sings everything in German as was the wont then. Whoever buys this CD won't regret it." - Charles Webb Pontypool

"In the classical situation of having to save three records from the armageddon, my choice would include this Roswaenge's CD (togheter with Caballè's Puccini's arias and Marian Anderson's spirituals, especially Crucifixion). In this CD has been peaked up the Roswaenge's the best of the best. The first three items are shocking: you'll hear in sequence the best Florestan ever recorded, the best Oberon's Huon ever recorded (consider that Placido Domingo's best recording of a complete opera is in fact Oberon with Nilsson under Kubelik; Domingo is so good that it seems somebody else, and is therefore at least three levels below Roswaenge) and the great aria from Adam's "Le Postillon de Lonjoumeau" with the incredible high D (for which Roswaenge was called the "knight of the high D") which is far better than the excellent recording provided by the great Joseph Smidth. Particulary worthly of mention is also the aria from Massenet's Manon. At last this is the synthesis of a career which spanned over 30 year, covering a repertorio of more than 110 operas, from Behetoven and Mozart (unfortunately this collection doesn't include the tremendous recording of the Aria "Un'aura amorosa" from Così fan Tutte) to Wagner and Puccini (listen again to this CD the "In fernem land" from Loengrin and you'll hear again the best Loengrin of ever). My point is that there are many similarities between the career, repertorio and vocality of Roswaenge and Giacomo Lauri Volpi, but, proofs at hand, we must realize the superiority of the former: range, legato, mezza-voce, ring, top notes, variety of roles, interpratation, diction, he had almost everything, with just one problem: the short impression of some hoarse sounds in some passaggi in the middle-low register when ther artist used the chest resonances, especially in descending scales."
Michele Ronchi

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