10 August 1931 (age 90)
|Occupation||Opera singer, actress|
|Spouse(s)||Horst-Wolfgang Haase (1965–1972)|
Holm was born as Renate Franke in Berlin. She says she decided to become an opera singer when she was twelve after being inspired by a film version of Madama Butterfly with Maria Cebotari in the lead role. Her mother had taken her to the cinema as a treat in celebration of an excellent school report. In 1943 her parents separated. That same year women with children were evacuated from the bombed out centre of Berlin, and the Frankes were sent to the Spreewald region roughly 90 km (50 miles) to the east of the city. Appreciative of her new surroundings, she lived out the rest of her childhood in and around the village of Ragow where her mother at one stage served as local mayor and registrar. Renate's first taste of musical performance came in Lübben as a member of the school and church choir. She was a pupil at the Paul-Gerhardt-Gymnasium, a six kilometer (four mile) cycle journey from her home at Ragow. In Berlin she had attended a single-sex school, and the Paul-Gerhardt-Gymnasium provided her first experience of mixed gender schooling: fifty years later she would still be in touch with two friends – a tenor and a bass – with whom she had formed a school singing trio.
The region had ended up administered as part of the Soviet occupation zone, which in October 1949 was relaunched as the Soviet sponsored German Democratic Republic (East Germany). In 1950 her mother arranged for a meeting with Waltraud Waldeck, a local singer and singing teacher who declared that Renate had a natural singing voice and should take singing lessons. She had already been encouraged with her singing at school, and now Waltraud Waldeck became Renate Franke's first "private" singing teacher. Franke trained and then worked as a dentists' assistant in order to finance the singing lessons and satisfy her mother's insistence that she should have a "proper trade". (Had the singing career not blossomed, she might have qualified a dentist.) Later she worked in the local theatre, walking up and down the 150 steps in the auditorium with a large tray full of cigarettes and chocolates for sale pressed against her stomach. Meanwhile she studied privately with the internationally known Coloratura soprano, Maria Ivogün in Berlin and later, after moving to Vienna, with Maria Hittorf.
In 1953 her mother entered her in a local talent competition. She sang "Lied der Nachtigall" ("Song of the Nightingale") by Franz Grothe. Winning the contest, she was now "discovered" by the RIAS, an American sponsored radio station set up in West Berlin to provide an alternative source of broadcast news and entertainment. (Berlin's existing broadcasting organisation had ended up in the Soviet controlled sector.) She quickly established a singing career as a radio "schlager singer", and then broadened her scope to include film music. It was around this time that she changed her professional name from Renate Franke to Renate Holm, in order the avoid confusion with the established Schlager singer Renée Franke.
During the mid-1950s Holm appears in several music and Heimatfilms , becoming popular with cinema audiences in German-speaking parts of Europe. Her profile was further enhanced by operetta recordings and radio broadcasts. Then, in 1957, she was engaged by Hubert Marischka to work at the Vienna Volksoper. At the time she had recently received an invitation to star as Eliza Doolittle in the German-language premier of My Fair Lady at the Theater des Westens in Berlin, but by now her sights had already for several years been a firmly set on a career as an opera singer rather than on musicals.
Renate Holm had never been to Vienna and there was something a little dreamlike about the prospect. She had recently acquired her first car, and with her mother in the passenger seat she drove there over the Riederberg Pass (the West Autobahn into the city from the west not yet having been completed). She made her Volksoper debut with the lead soprano part as Princess Helene in Walzertraum by Oscar Straus. Following the death of Stalin and a difficult negotiation between the wartime allies, the Soviet Union had agreed to end the four-power occupation of Austria in 1955: but two years later Vienna remained an impoverished city. Despite her substantial reputation and impressive earning power in Berlin, at the start Holm earned barely 300 Marks a month at the Viennese Volksoper. She had, she later told an interviewer, moved to Vienna only for artistic reasons ("Das habe ich wirklich nur wegen der Kunst so gemacht").
In professional terms Renate Holm's big breakthrough came when she switched to the Vienna State Opera. Her debut performance here, in 1960, was as the fiancée Gretchen in Wildschütz. She was a member of the ensemble for twenty-seven years, from 1964 till 1991. It was under the direction of "the doctor", Karl Böhm that she made her first State Opera, appearances but it was Herbert von Karajan who offered her the permanent contract, and under his direction that she enjoyed a stream of successes. Although it is the professional relationship with Karajan that is more widely celebrated, she was also able to advise him over a personal problem which arose when the maestro acquired a donkey which his wife found impossible to control.
Once she had been talent-spotted by Karajan, Renate Holm appeared in many of the world's great opera houses, performing alongside the great stars of her generation. Frequent stage partners included Rudolf Schock, Fritz Wunderlich, Hermann Prey and Peter Minich. Holm's artistic career has lasted for more than fifty years, but she has remained faithful to Vienna's Popular Opera ("Volksoper") and the Vienna State Opera. She has been resident in Austria for more than sixty years. In 1971 she was bestowed with the honorific title "Österreichische Kammersängerin", nominated for this badge of establishment recognition by the State Opera. Her wide-ranging repertoire has embraced the classical operatic mainstream, operettas and modern music theatre, along with songs ("Lieder") and concert arias. She has made a speciality of Wienerlieder (literally, "Viennese songs"). Her numerous operatic recordings were made not just for the mainstream record companies such as EMI, Decca and Polydor, but also for the radio. In particular, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) have made many recordings featuring Renate Holm with the conductor and operetta specialist Franz Marszalek: these include such rarities as "Wenn Liebe erwacht" (When Love Awakens) by Eduard Künneke.
In 1986 and 1987, on the recommendation of Gerhard Gutruf (who had founded it), she served as president of the "Weinviertler Kultursommer" and under its auspices headed up master classes in singing at its annual summer arts event festivals between 1983 and 1990.
Renate Holm has continued to give concerts during the present century. She participates in festivals such as the Elblandfestspiele Wittenberge in Germany, and in 2006 she took the role of Viktoria in Mich hätten Sie sehen sollen (If you'd only seen me) at the Theater in der Josefstadt (Vienna) which had its premier in September 2006. She also remains in demand as a teacher of singing and as a jury member in international competitions. Since 2009 she has chaired the kuratotium of the Berlin based "Europäische Kulturwerkstatt". She lives for most of the year in Vienna, and has for many years hosted cultural events at the 350 year old water mill at Altenmarkt im Thale (north of Vienna), which she acquired back in 1966.
Renate Holm married Horst-Wolfgang Haase in 1965. The marriage lasted seven years.
- Hit Parade (1953)
- The Telephone Operator (1954)
- The Big Star Parade (1954)
- Request Concert (1955)
- Where the Lark Sings (1956)
- The Count of Luxemburg (1957)
- Love, Girls and Soldiers (1958)
- Marina (1960)
- Von Dassanowsky p. 175
- Stefanie Hanus (26 April 2008). "Renate Holm zu Gast bei Freunden". Lausitzer Rundschau (in German). Retrieved 23 January 2019.
- Volker Grohskopf (22 March 2016). "Renate Holm Kammersängerin, Hundefreundin & engagierte Tierschützerin". PETMEDIA Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.H. (WUFF), Maria Anzbach. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- Dr. Ernst Emrich (13 May 2002). "Renate Holm,Kammersängerin". Das Online-Angebot des Bayerischen Rundfunks (transcription of radio interview). Bayerischer Rundfunk. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- Renate Holm; Christine Dobretsberger (11 October 2017). "Wer seiner Seele Flügel gibt ...": Mit Kunst das Leben meistern. Aufgezeichnet von Christine Dobretsberger. Amalthea Signum Verlag. p. 58. ISBN 978-3-903083-74-5.
- Frederik Hanssen (9 August 2011). "Adele verpflichtet". Zum 80. Geburtstag der Sängerin Renate Holm. Verlag Der Tagesspiegel GmbH, Berlin. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- Alexandra Goll (Hollabrunn) (24 August 2016). "Renate Holm feierte ihren 85er!". Die bekannte Opern- und Operettendiva Renate Holm, mit Zweitwohnsitz in Altenmarkt im Thale, wurde 85. "Meinbezirk" Niederösterreich. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- Christine Dobretsberger (7 August 2016). "Ich wollte es immer besser als gut machen". Kurz vor ihrem 85. Geburtstag zieht Kammersängerin Renate Holm eine Bilanz ihres vielseitigen künstlerischen Schaffens und verrät, wie es gelingen kann, dass man sich 30 Jahre lang fühlt, als ob man 50 wäre: Man braucht dazu Liebe zu seinem Beruf, Disziplin und schließlich auch Humor. Wiener Zeitung GmbH. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- "Vom Schlager zur Oper: Renate Holm wird 80". Im Geburtstags-Interview spricht die Opernsängerin Renate Holm über zwei Mal 40 Jahre, ihre Farm der Tiere und ein Arrangement mit dem Alter. Telekurier Online Medien GmbH & Co KG, Wien. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- Maria Ecker (Baden) (5 November 2018). "Renate Holm zu Gast im Theatercafé". "Meinbezirk" Niederösterreich. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- Andrea Harrandt; Georg Demcisin. "Holm (eig. Franke), Renate". Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon online), Vienna. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- Hans J. Wulff (compiler) (22 April 2015). "Holm, Renate (d.i. Renate Franke)" (PDF). Der deutsche Schlagerfilm: Kleines biofilmographisches Lexikon der Musiker der Musik- und Schlagerfilme von 1945–1965. Medienwissenschaft: Berichte und Papiere. pp. 29–30. ISSN 2366-6404. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- Irene Suchy: Wein. Wetter und Gesang. Musik. In: Mella Waldstein und Manfred Horvath (Hrsg.): Das Weinviertel. Mehr als Idylle. Jahrbuch Volkskultur NÖ, 2013, pp. 236–243.
- "Holm, Renate". Personen .... "Weinviertler Kultursommer" (1982 - 1997). "MSc Interactive Media Management 6", Donau-Universität Krems i.A. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
- "Renate Holm ... vita". Thorsten Groneberg, Steinhorst. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
- "Holm, Renate *10.08.1931 – Opernsaengerin, Koloratursopran, D/ Oesterreich – mit Ehemann Horst Wolfgang Haase nach der Trauung". Getty Images International.
- Robert von Dassanowsky. Austrian Cinema: A History. McFarland, 2005.