News from the Committee

19.01.2017
Unexpected death of Gerd Grochowski, well-known Wagnerian bass-baritone
Gerd Grochowski, known to Wagner fans the world over as a fine interpreter of the great bass-baritone roles, died unexpectedly on Monday 16 January. We will miss him greatly.


Those of us going to the Ring in Wiesbaden will know that we were due to enjoy his Wotan in this new production.  And of course he performed a memorable Klingsor in Bayreuth in 2016.

The Praesidium of the RWVI, along with all our members extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family of Gerd Grochowski and we mourn a very fine Wagnerian, who left us before his time.

The biographical piece below is taken from Gerd Grochowski's website.

Gerd Grochowski was one of opera’s most successful dramatic bass-baritones. After being nominated for Singer of the Year by the magazine Opernwelt for his title role in Ferruccio Busoni’s Dr Faust, he made a breakthrough with his debut at New York’s Metropolitain Opera as Kurwenal in Tristan and Isolde, conducted by Daniel Barenboim. He was subsequently invited to La Scala Milan to sing the same role and at the same time took on the part of Gunther in Götterdämmerung. Further engagements in this role took him to the Berliner Staatsoper, the Royal Albert Hall, San Francisco Opera and under Sir Simon Rattle to the Salzburg Easter Festival.

He achieved further plaudits as Telramund at Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, the NNT Tokyo and in the Berlin Philharmonie. As Amfortas and Klingsor he guested at the opera houses in Lyon and Frankfurt as well as at the Bavarian State Opera under Kent Nagano.

Alongside his specialism as a Wagner singer, Gerd Grochowski was also in great demand as an interpreter of other dramatic bass-baritone roles. Thus at the Teatro Real Madrid he sang for the first time the roles of Dr Schön in Bergs Lulu, Prus in The Makropulos Case at San Francisco Opera and the Stuttgart State Opera, Scarpia at the Berlin and Munich State Operas as well as Pizarro at the Berlin State Opera, at London’s Royal Albert Hall for the Proms and at the Dresden Philharmonie. He dazzled audiences with his singing of Schischkoff in Janá?eks From the House of the Dead in a production with Pierre Boulez and Patrice Chéreau at the Vienna Festwochen, at the Festival Aix-en-Provence and Amsterdam’s Holland Festival, where he also appeared as Orestes in Richard Strauss’s Electra. Gerd Grochowski achieved two further noteworthy successes in Barcelona with the role of Bluebeard in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle at the Palau de la Musica Catalan and with the role of Thoas in Gluck’s Iphigenie auf Tauris at the Gran Teatre del Liceu there in a production by Pina Bausch.

Outside the field of opera Gerd Grochowski was in great demand internationally as a concert artist, singing most recently in Britten’s War Requiem under Charles Dutoit in the Tokyo Radio Hall and the Brahms Requiem in the Dresden Philharmonie, the Salzburg’s Festspielhaus and in Liverpool. He also impressed audiences and critics alike with his interpretation of the baritone part in Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony in January 2014 at the Düsseldorf Tonhalle. With the German premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s Der Opfergang conducted by Steven Sloane he furthermore demonstrated his technical and musical mastery of contemporary music.

In the meantime a number of productions and performances with Gerd Grochowski have appeared on CD and DVD, such as Orestes (Electra) with Marc Albrecht and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Telramund (Lohengrin) with Marek Janowski and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Schischkoff (From the House of the Dead) with Pierre Boulez directed by Patrice Chéreau, Kurwenal (Tristan) with Daniel Barenboim in the La Scala production directed by Patrice Chéreau, and Gunther (Götterdämmerung) with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic.