Franz Mazura (born 22 April 1924 in Salzburg) is an Austrian bass-baritone opera singer and actor. He was made a Kammersänger in 1980 and an Honorary Member of the National Theater of Mannheim in 1990. He most often plays villains and strange characters.
Mazura studied with Frederick Husler at the Academy of Music in Detmold, and worked during his studies as an actor at the National Theater in Detmold. Mazura's debut on the operatic stage was delayed by the outbreak of World War II until 1949; he debuted then in Kassel, thereafter singing in Mainz, Brunswick, and Mannheim (where he was a member from 1964–1987). In 1960 he performed at the Salzburg Festspiele, in 1961 at the Berlin Opera, in 1971 at Bayreuth, and in 1973 at the Hamburg State Opera; he has also performed at the Vienna State Opera, the Paris Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera.
Notable appearances include his 1976 performance as Alberich in Richard Wagner's Das Rheingold under Georg Solti and Peter Stein, and as Dr. Schön in Alban Berg's Lulu under Pierre Boulez and Patrice Chéreau, in its first complete performance as well as performances of Parsifal, Tosca, Wozzeck, Fidelio, Moses und Aron, and Der Kaiser von Atlantis. Although he is typecast as a villain, he appeared at Bayreuth as good-guys a few times: as the Wanderer in Siegfried (1988, with Daniel Barenboim conducting) and as Gurnemanz in Parsifal (1973, with Eugen Jochum conducting).
Mazura is one of the longest-careered opera singers in history, having performed in 2017 in the world premier of Giorgio Battistelli's opera Lot, in the role of Abraham, when he (Mazura) was 93 years old. In April 2019, he performed as Meister Hans Schwarz the stocking-weaver in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden. The final performance of this run was April 21; on April 22 Mazura celebrated his 95th birthday.
Mazura appears on three Grammy Award winning recordings: as Dr. Schön in Lulu, conducted by Pierre Boulez (Best Opera Recording 1980), as Gunther in The Ring of the Nibelung (Best Opera Recording 1983), and as Moses in Moses und Aron, conducted by Sir Georg Solti (Best Opera Recording 1985).
He can be seen on video as Gunther in the Jahrhundertring production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Klingsor in a performance of Parsifal from the Metropolitan Opera conducted by James Levine, Biterolf in a performance of Tannhäuser, and as Doktor Schön in Lulu, also from the Metropolitan Opera under Levine.
- Cummings (2000) p. 426
- Magazin-Bereich: Kulturdatenbank
- Prof Frederick Husler cursa-ur.com
- Schonberg (26 February 1979) p. A1
- Schalz-Laurenze, Ute (2017). "Mit oder ohne Gott? – Giorgio Battistellis Oper "Lot" an der Niedersächsischen Staatsoper uraufgeführt". Neue Musikzeitung (in German).
- Ottawa Citizen (26 February 1981) p. 61
- Billboard (8 March 1986) p. 88
- "Der Doyen der deutschen Oper gastiert in Brüssel"[permanent dead link], Interview of Franz Mazura with Margaretha Mazura (in German), 27 January 2010
- Billboard, "Grammy Winners", 8 March 1986
- Corriere della Sera, "La «Lulu» di Berg seduce la Scala", 26 March 2010 (in Italian, accessed 13 April 2010)
- Cummings, David (ed.), "Mazura, Franz", International Who's Who in Music, Routledge, 2000, p. 426. ISBN 0-948875-53-4
- Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Mazura, Franz (in German, accessed 13 April 2010)
- Magazin-Bereich: Kulturdatenbank, Franz Mazura (in German, accessed 13 April 2010)
- Henhan, Donal, "Siegfried, under Leinsdorf, Back at the Met", 26 September 1981
- Metropolitan Opera, Mazura, Franz (Bass), performance record on the MetOpera Database (accessed 13 April 2010)
- Ottawa Citizen, "Newcomer makes sweep of top Grammy Awards: Complete list of Winners", 26 February 1981, p. 61
- Schonberg, Harold, C., "First Full 'Lulu' of Berg Draws World Notables to Paris Opera", New York Times, 26 February 1979, p. A1
- Winship, Frederick M. (via UPI), "Opera to Air Nationwide", The Hour, 19 December 1980 p. 49 (accessed 13 April 2010)
- Further reading
- Buderer, Hans-Jürgen and Homering, Liselotte, Die Oper, Spiegelbild der Welt: Franz Mazura, der Sänger-Schauspieler, Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, 2004 (Festschrift for the 80th birthday of Franz Mazura, in German). ISBN 3-88462-197-1
- Mazura, Franz, Franz Mazura - Mit Tusche und Notenband, Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, 2006 (Memoirs written and illustrated by Mazura, in German). ISBN 3-927455-21-0