Kurt Moll

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Kurt Moll
Born (1938-04-11)11 April 1938
Buir, Germany
Died 5 March 2017(2017-03-05) (aged 78)
Cologne, Germany
Education Musikhochschule Köln
Occupation Operatic bass

Kurt Moll (11 April 1938 – 5 March 2017)[1] was a German operatic bass singer who enjoyed an international career and was widely recorded.[2]

His voice was notable for its range, a true basso profondo, including full, resonant low and very-low notes with relaxed vibrato; also for its purring, contrabassoon-like timbre.[a][3] Although he had a powerful voice and stamina adequate for the most demanding parts, he was not a thunderer, and never performed as Wagner's vocally athletic, bellowing bassos Hagen, Hans Sachs, nor Wotan.[4] His interpretations tended to be restrained and intelligent, even in comedic roles like Osmin in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier.


Moll was born in Buir, near Cologne, Germany.[2] As a child, he played the cello and hoped to become a great cellist. (He also had ambitions to be an industrialist/businessman.[5]) He also sang in the school choir, the conductor of which encouraged him to concentrate on singing. He studied voice at the Musikhochschule Köln with Emmy Müller. He joined the Cologne Opera at age 20 and remained a member of the ensemble until 1961. He then sang for three years at the Mainz Opera and five years at the Wuppertal Opera. In 1969, he accepted an engagement with the Hamburg State Opera, and then performed in major opera houses of Europe.[6]

He made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival in 1968, Nachtwächter in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and sang there for several years Fafner in Der Ring des Nibelungen, Marke in Tristan und Isolde and Pogner in Die Meistersinger.[3]

He made his US debut with the San Francisco Opera as Gurnemanz in Wagner's Parsifal in 1974, a role he reprised with the company in 2000. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera on the opening night of the 1977/78 season, appearing as the Landgraf in Wagner's Tannhäuser. He sang there also Rocco in Beethoven's Fidelio and Sparafucile in Verdi's Rigoletto.

He made many recordings of opera, sacred music, and lieder with notable conductors and accompanists. He was awarded several prestigious European record awards; he also won a 1990 Grammy Award for his participation in James Levine's 1988 recording of Wagner's Das Rheingold. Moll can be heard as Ochs in seven complete recordings of Der Rosenkavalier, as Sarastro in six recordings of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, as Marke in six sets of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, and as the Archangel Raphael in three recordings of Haydn's Die Schöpfung. His recording for the Orfeo label of Schubert's philosophical "Lieder für Bass" set a new standard for these songs; he also recorded an album of dramatic/heroic ballads by Carl Loewe. He can be seen in many roles on commercial video, including Sarastro (twice), Osmin, the Commendatore, Bartolo, Hunding in Wagner's Die Walküre (three times), Fafner in Das Rheingold and Siegfried, in Gurnemanz in Parsifal, and Ochs (three times).

Kurt Moll retired from the stage in 2006, after singing the Nachtwächter at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.[3] He gave a master class in January 2011 at Carnegie Hall.[7]

Moll lived in Cologne with his family until his death.


  • Kurt Moll – Ein Mann, ein Bass. portrait, Germany 2000, 60 min., directed by Eckhart Schmidt, produced by Raphaela Film GmbH and Preview Release GmbH in coproduction with Bayerischer Rundfunk


  1. ^ According to Vladimir Miller he would have been appropriately fitted to sing Russian liturgical parts for basso profondi (Octavists)


  1. ^ "Opernsänger Kurt Moll gestorben" (in German). ORF. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Bagnoli, Giorgio (1993). Kurt Moll. The La Scala encyclopedia of the opera. Simon and Schuster. p. 258. ISBN 0-671-87042-4. 
  3. ^ a b c Luehrs-Kaiser, Kai (11 April 2008). "Ein Bass wie der von Gottvater: Kurt Moll wird 70.". Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  4. ^ http://www.bruceduffie.com/moll.html
  5. ^ New York Times obituary
  6. ^ "Kurt Moll (Bass)". Bach-Cantatas. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  7. ^ Kurt Moll master class

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