Lebendige Vergangenheit - Torsten Ralf (Vol.2)

Artist Torsten Ralf
Title Lebendige Vergangenheit - Torsten Ralf (Vol.2)
Release Date Friday, June 30, 2006
Genre Classical > Choro
Composers Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi
Songwriters Metropolitan Opera Orchester / Torsten Ralf, Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper / Hilde Konetzni / Torsten Ralf, Helen Traubel / Metropolitan Opera Orchester / Torsten Ralf / Herta Glaz
Copyright © Preiser Records

Promotion Text

Lebendige Vergangenheit

Tue Swedish tenor Torsten Ralf was one of numerous singers hailing from Scandinavia who spent the greater part of their career in Germany. The artist came from an exceptionally musical family; also two of his brothers, Oscar and Einar, pursued a singing career and were esteemed in their home country. Torsten Ralf initially studied engineering at the University of Lund. After graduation he worked in Stockholm as an employee of the municipal telecommunications office. Already during his university time he had taken part in amateur performances and was regarded as one of the most promising members of the famous Lund University Choir. During a US tour of this ensemble in 1925 he had also taken on solo parts. Ultimately his artistic ambitions came to the fore and he began serious vocal studies. For some years he was a pupil of the renowned Norwegian vocal coach Ingeljart, who, as the former teacher of Kirsten Flagstad and Ivar Andresen, enjoyed the best possible reputation. Eventually Ralf asked his municipal employer for leave and went to Berlin, where he continued his vocal studies with Herta Dehmloff. Already during the following year (1930) he made his debut as Cavaradossi at the Municipal theatre Stettin. From 1932 to 1933 he was engaged in Chemnitz, from 1933 to 1935 at the Frankfurt am Main Opera House. Karl Böhm engaged him to join the ensemble of the Dresden Opera, where he remained a member until 1943. Tue outstanding event of Torsten Ralfs time in Dresden was the world premiere of Richard Strauss' opera "Daphne" in which Torsten Ralf sang the role of Apollo. During the war years Ralf made outstandingly successful guest appearances at the Berlin State Opera. From 1945 to 1948 Ralf was a member of the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and in the subsequent years until his unexpected death, he divided his time between Sweden and the Vienna State Opera. Guest appearances repeatedly took him to Covent Garden, London, the Paris Opera as well as virtually all important opera houses of the German and Northem region. In 1936 Ralf was awarded the title of "Kammersänger" and in 1945 he received the Swedish order "Literis et artibus". In 1952 he was made "Court Opera Singer". Torsten Ralf's supreme importance was in the so-called "Heldentenor" repertoire, although he was a singer with decidedly lyrical traits. His voice did not possess the metallical sheen of genuine Wagner voices, but, due of his exceptionally cultivated style, he was able to sing this testing repertoire without undue strain. His repertoire included a great number of Wagner roles, the most famous being an outstandingly subtile portrayal of Lohengrin. Also, his Stolzing, Tannhäuser, Parsifal and Erik were highly acclaimed. In the Italian repertoire he was especially admired as Radames, Otello, Canio and Cavaradossi. Further roles included Pedro in "Tiefland", the Emperor in "Frau ohne Schatten", Bacchus in "Ariadne auf Naxos" as well as Don Ottavio in Mozart's "Don Giovanni". Probably his best and most profound portrayal was the sensitive performance of Florestan. He was one of the few artists able to execute the fearfully difficult final section of his aria with exemplary articulation and tonal purity. Torsten Ralf frequently appeared as a concert singer and was a highly acclaimed interpreter of the tenor part in Gustav Mahler's "Lied von der Erde".