Hans Hotter

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Hans Hotter (19 January 1909, Offenbach am Main, Hesse – 6 December 2003) was a German operatic bass-baritone, admired internationally after World War II for the power, beauty, and intelligence of his singing, especially in Wagner operas. He was extremely tall and his appearance was striking because of his high, narrow face, wide mouth, and big, aquiline nose. His voice and diction were equally recognisable.

Born in Offenbach am Main, Hotter studied with Matthäus Roemer in Munich. He worked as an organist and choirmaster before making his operatic debut in Opava in 1930.

He performed in Germany and Austria under the Nazi regime, but was unable to pursue an international career until his Covent Garden debut in 1947. After that time, he sang in all the major opera houses of Europe. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as the title role in The Flying Dutchman (in English) in 1950. In four seasons at the Met, he performed 35 times in 13 roles, almost all Wagnerian.

Probably Hotter's best known vocal achievement was his Wotan in Der Ring des Nibelungen, beginning with the Rheingold Wotan and Siegfried Wanderer (debuting as the latter at the Bavarian State Opera in 1937), and adding the Walkure Wotan in 1941; he owned the roles until the mid-1960s, by which time his voice had begun to display an incipient wobble due to hard use. He was afflicted, too, with a chronic back injury.The Times (13 December...
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