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Bass/Baritone

Paul Schöffler, German baritone

By December 15, 2023No Comments

Paul Schöffler was an important post WWII singer. He has a beautifully colored voice. He is quite expressive in German and Italian. The sound is round and resonant, and it is never forced. I hope that you enjoy the excerpts that I have posted. Notice that he does not push his voice at all.

Brahms, “Die Mainacht”, op 43, No.2

Wann der silberne Mond durch die Gesträuche blinkt,
Und sein schlummerndes Licht über den Rasen streut,
Und die Nachtigall flötet,
Wandl’ ich traurig von Busch zu Busch.

Überhüllet von Laub girret ein Taubenpaar
Sein Entzücken mir vor; aber ich wende mich,
Suche dunklere Schatten,
Und die einsame Träne rinnt.

Wann, o lächelndes Bild, welches wie Morgenrot
Durch die Seele mir strahlt, find ich auf Erden dich?
Und die einsame Träne
Bebt mir heißer die Wang hera

Brahms, “The May night”, op.43, No.2

Whenever the silver moon peers through the the thicket
And scatters its slumbering light over the grass,
And the nightingale sings like a flute,
I wander sadly from bush to bush.

Covered over by foliage, a pair of doves is cooing
Their devotion in front of me; but I turn and
Look for darker shadows,
And a single tear runs down my cheek.

When, oh smiling picture, which, like dawn
Is shining through my soul, when shall I find you on earth?
And a single tear
Trembles warmly as it goes down my cheek.

Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro, “Se vuol ballare”, K. 492

FIGARO
Se vuol ballare
Signor Contino,
il chitarrino
le suonerò.
Se vuol venire
nella mia scuola
la capriola
le insegnerò.
Saprò… ma piano,
meglio ogni arcano
dissimulando
scoprir potrò!
L’arte schermendo,
l’arte adoprando,
di qua pungendo,
di là scherzando,
tutte le macchine
rovescerò.
Se vuol ballare
Signor Contino,
il chitarrino
le suonerò.

Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro, “If you would like to dance”, K. 492

FIGARO
If, my dear Count,
You want to dance,
It’s I
Who’ll call the tune.
If you’lI come
To my school,
I’ll teach you
How to caper.
I’ll know how… but wait,
I can uncover
His secret design
More easily by dissembling.
Acting stealthily,
Acting openly,
Here stinging,
There mocking,
All your plots
I’ll overthrow.

Lisa della Casa sings Arabella.

Richard Strauss, Arabella, “Der Richtige – so hab’ ich still zu mir gesagt”, op.79

ARABELLA
Der Richtige – so hab’ ich still zu mir gesagt,
der Richtige, wenn’s einen gibt für mich,
der wird auf einmal da sein, so hab’ ich gesagt,
und wird mich anschaun und ich ihn,
und keine Winkelzüge werden sein und keine Fragen,
nein, alles heil und offen, wie ein lichter Fluß,
auf den die Sonne blitzt!

MANDRYKA
So fließt die helle stille Donau mir
beim Haus vorbei, und hat mir dich gebracht! Du
Allerschönste! – Und heute abend noch, zur
Schlafenszeit, wärst du ein Mädchen aus den Dörfern,
einem meinigen, du müßtest mir zum Brunnen gehn
hinter deines Vaters Haus
und klares Wasser schöpfen einen Becher voll
und mir ihn reichen vor der Schwelle,
daß ich dein Verlobter bin vor Gott
und vor den Menschen, meine Allerschönste!

ARABELLA
So wie Sie sind, so hab’ ich keinen Menschen je
geseh’n! Sie bringen Ihre eigne Lebensluft mit sich,
und was nicht Ihnen zugehört, das ist nicht da für Sie.

MANDRYKA
Darum kann ich erst leben, wenn ich etwas Herrliches
erhöhe über mich, und so zu dieser Stunde
erhöhe ich dich, und wähle dich zu meiner Frau,
und wo ich Herr bin, wirst du Herrin sein
und wirst gebieten, wo ich der Gebieter bin!

ARABELLA (ihren Ton völlig ändernd, aber ernst)
Und du wirst mein Gebieter sein, und ich dir untertan.
Dein Haus wird mein Haus sein,
in deinem Grab will ich mit dir begraben sein –
so gebe ich mich dir auf Zeit und Ewigkeit.
Jetzt aber fahren Sie nach Haus. Ich bitte Sie darum.

Richard Strauss, Arabella, “The right one – that’s what I told myself”, op.79

ARABELLA
The one who’s right (that’s what I’ve told myself),
the one who’s right, if there is one for me,
one day he’ll stand before me, (that is what I said),
his eyes upon me, mine on him –
with no more subterfuges or questions.
No – everything bright and open like a clear stream
under a radiant sun.

MANDRYKA
Thus does the quiet Danube glitter, flowing past
my house, and brought you to me, loveliest of all!
This very evening, at bedtime,
if you were living in a village,
one of my own, you’d go to the well
behind your father’s house,
and draw some pure water, a brimming goblet,
for me who’s standing on the threshold,
to show that I’m am betrothed to you
in the eyes of God and man, my lovely one!

ARABELLA
I have never known anyone like you.
You have an aura all your own, and anything
that has no part in it does not exist for you!

MANDRYKA
That’s why I cannot live unless I have something
that’s beautiful, that I can exalt above me,
so in this hour I exalt you and choose you as my wife,
and where I am master you shall be the mistress –
and you’ll command where I am the master!

ARABELLA (changing her tone, but serious)
You shall be my lord and master and I your liege.
Your house shall be my house,
and I shall be buried in your grave.
I give myself to you for all the time to come.
But now go home, I’m asking you to leave.

Paul Schöffler
September 15, 1897 – November 21, 1977

Paul Schöffler was a distinguished German bass- baritone. He studied in Dresden, Berlin, and Milan. In 1925 he made his operatic debut at the Dresden State Opera as the Herald in Lohengrin; continued on its roster until 1938, then was a member of the Vienna State Opera until 1965. He also sang at London’s Covent Garden (1934–39; 1949–53), the Bayreuth Festivals (1943–44; 1956), and the Salzburg Festivals (1938–1; 1947; 1949–65). He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. on Jan. 26, 1950, as Jochanaan in Salome; continued to sing there, with interruptions, until 1956, returning there in 1963 to sing one of his finest roles, Hans Sachs; remained on its roster until 1965, when he went to England. His other notable roles included Figaro, Don Giovanni, the Dutchman, Kurnawal, Scarpia, and Hindemith’s Cardillac and Mathis der Maler; he also created the role of Jupiter in the first stage perf. of Strauss’s Die Liebe der Danae (1952) and Einem’

Schöffler, who prior to his death lived in England, possessed a firm, warm and expressive voice; when allied to his convincing stage presence the results were continuously impressive. The extraordinary extent of his career – articulated at an international level from the 1930s to the 1960s – is demonstrated by the vast number of recordings, especially of live performances, in which he sings.