Breitenfeld was born in Reichenberg (now in the Czech Republic) and made his debut in 1897 as Count Luna in Verdi's Il trovatore in Cologne. In 1912, he sang the role of the count in Act II of Franz Schreker's Der ferne Klang in its world premiere at the Frankfurt Opera. The contralto Magda Spiegel, also of the Frankfurt Opera, was murdered in Auschwitz. According to Peter Hugh Reed writing in American Record Guide (1949), Breitenfeld recorded for Odeon and HMV between 1910 and 1914.
- Biography in Dutch by OperaNederland.nl Archived December 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. with photo.
- F. C. DeCoste, Bernard Schwartz, The Holocaust's ghost: writings on art, politics, law, and education, 80, 2000. "Others who died in Auschwitz, often via Holland and Terezin, were Alfred Kropf, a conductor from Stettin; Magda Spiegel, a Frankfurt contralto; and composer James Simon, a student of Max Bruch."
- Peter Hugh Reed, American Record Guide, No. 16, 1949
- Dinah Shelton, Encyclopedia of genocide and crimes against humanity, 2, 2005. Quote: "However, among them are: the baritone and cantor Erhard E. Wechselmann, murdered in Auschwitz; the contralto Magda Spiegel, murdered in Auschwitz; Richard Breitenfeld, a member of the Frankfurt opera ensemble, murdered in Theresienstadt"
- Great singers, from the seventeenth century to the present day Kurt Pahlen - 1974 Ottilie Metzger-Lattermann, who before 1914 had sung in all the important opera-houses and at Bayreuth, died in Auschwitz; the baritone Richard Breitenfeld, also a Wagner lead, in Theresienstadt.
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