Josip Gostič

Josip Gostič as Siegfried in Götterdämmerung

Picture of Josip Gostič

Josip Gostič singsAida: Holde Aida

Josip Gostič singsPorin: Na osvetu?
In RA format

Biographical notes

Josip Gostič was born in Stara Loka near Škofja Loka, Slovenia, on the 5th of March 1900. Soon afterwards, he moved to Homec near Ljubljana, where his father worked as an organist in the parish church. Having completed his secondary schooling at the organ school in Ljubljana, he worked for two years as an organist in Homec. In 1921 he enrolled in the state conservatory in Ljubljana, singing at the same time in the choir of the Ljubljana opera and occasionally appearing in some small roles. His debut as Lenskij in Evgenij Onegin on the 5th of September 1929 revealed the enormous potential of the young tenor. He possessed all the qualities indispensable for a first-class opera singer, i. e. a nice, strong, well-balanced voice of great volume, excellent musicality and musical proficiency, as well as a good figure and a talent for the convincing musical interpretation of his roles on stage. In 1930 he graduated with honours from the Ljubljana conservatory. As a member of the Ljubljana opera, he appeared in more than 40 opera and operetta roles, ranging from Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus to Rodolfo in La bohème, Werther, des Grieux in Manon and Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera. Sometimes he had to appear in as many as a hundred performances per season. He also had private tutoring with Marie Rado-Danielli in Vienna and attained a masterful singing technique. He became a permanent member of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb in 1937. From his first guest appearance in the role of Janko in Prodaná nevěsta in 1932 until his last performance of Manrico in Il trovatore on the 12th of October 1963, he was an adored favourite of the Zagreb audience, who best expressed their enthusiasm on the 30th anniversary of his artistic work, when he appeared as Andrea Chénier on the 6th of June 1959. Indeed, it was in Zagreb that Gostič's artistic personality fully evolved. At the Zagreb opera, he appeared in 54 roles for about thousand times.

In 1942 his guest appearances in Vienna began; first at the Volksoper, where he sang Canio in Pagliacci, Wagner's Lohengrin and Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos. In 1951, he became a permanent member of the Vienna State Opera, appearing 260 times in 16 different roles in ten seasons. Sticking to the rule to sing only the roles suited to your age, he began to expand his repertoire with heroic roles. The light color of his voice and a soft mezzavoce lent exceptional dramatic feeling and deep human warmth to his renditions of Parsifal, Porin by the Croatian composer Vatroslav Lisinski (1819–1854), Cavaradossi in Tosca, Don José in Carmen, German in Pikovaja dama, Don Carlo, Radames in Aida, Manrico, Florestan in Fidelio, and above all to Otello. This, along with great musicianship, made him one of the most complete artists in both musical and scenical terms, a perfectly reliable partner to singers and conductors alike. Gostič also appeared in first performances of several Croatian operas and was an unsurpassed interpreter of a cult role of Croatian music – Mića in Ero s onoga svijeta (Ero the joker) by Jakov Gotovac (1895–1982).

Gostič's international fame began in 1951 when he appeared in the premiere of Lohengrin in Vienna under the baton of Clemens Krauss in Rudolf Hartmann's production. He was compared with Leo Slezak, the best compliment a singer interpreting Lohengrin could have received. Impressed by Gostič's masterful performance, Krauss engaged him to sing Midas in the world premiere of Die Liebe der Danae by Richard Strauss at the Salzburg Festival on the 14th of August 1952. He also sang Midas at the premiere of the same opera in Vienna, at La Scala as well as in the guest performance given by the Vienna Opera ensemble at the Opéra in Paris. At the Vienna State Opera he also appeared as Don José, Cavaradossi, Florestan, Manrico, Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana, Radames, Otello, Herman, Riccardo, Andrea Chénier, First armed man in Die Zauberflöte, and rendered Dick Johnson at the very successful premiere of Puccini's La fanciulla del West and a splendid Bacchus at the premiere of Ariadne auf Naxos.

Guest appearances in other European countries followed, most frequently in the role of Lohengrin in Spain and Italy. His interpretation of Lohengrin, exceptionally powerful in its harmony of the material and immaterial, of the human and divine, immanent to Wagner's hero, was enthusiastically acclaimed by the audience of Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, where he received the highest recognition for his rendition of the role. In 1957 he interpreted role of Siegfried in Götterdämmerung in Wolfgang Wagner's production in Venice. In 1958 he appeared at the premiere of Boris Godunov at Covent Garden in London, and he also sang in Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg, Athens and other European cities. In 1961 he delivered the 115th role of his repertoire – Pierre Bezukhov at the Croatian premiere of Prokofiev's War and peace in Zagreb. Gostič was also a concert singer. He appeared in Verdi's and Mozart's respective Requiem, Beethoven's Symphony no. 9 and Mahler's Lied von der Erde.

Gostič died in Ljubljana on the 25th December 1963. His appearances in 115 main roles on about two thousand evenings, his enormous talent and highest standards of performance throughout his career made him a pivotal figure and mainstay of the splendid days of the Zagreb opera. According to the great conductor Karl Böhm, Josip Gostič .. was a singer of the kind that does not exist nowadays.
Martin Ramor

The best of Josip Gostič's discography

Vatroslav Lisinski: PORIN – Frano Lovrić, Mirka Klarić, Dragutin Bernardić, Mira Štor, Zbor i orkestar Zagrebačke opere, Mladen Bašić JUGOTON, LPY-793

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE – Hilde Güden, Wilma Lipp, Emmy Loose, Leopold Simoneau, Kurt Böhme, Walter Berry, Paul Schöffler, August Jaresch, Chor der Wiener Staatsoper, Wiener Philharmoniker, Karl Böhm DECCA-LXT 5085-5087

Jakov Gotovac: ERO S ONOGA SVIJETA – Drago Bernardić, Marijana Radev, Branka Oblak-Stilinović, Vladimir Ruždjak, Solisti, zbor i orkestar Hrvatskog narodnog kazališta u Zagrebu, Jakov Gotovac JUGOTON LPY-V-94-96

Richard Strauss: DIE LIEBE DER DANAE – Josef Traxel, Paul Schöffler, László Szemere, Annelies Kupper, Anny Felbermeyer, Dorothea Siebert, Esther Réthy, Georgine von Milinković, Sieglinde Wagner, Chor der Wiener Staatsoper, Wiener Philharmoniker, Clemens Krauss ORFEO D'OR C 292 923



1. Chaikovskij: Evgenij Onegin (Lenskij) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 5th September 1929
2. Foerster: Gorenjski slavček/The nightingale of Gorenjska (Franjo) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 16th October 1929
3. Lortzing: Zar und Zimmermann (Peter Iwanow) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 23th October 1929
4. Puccini: La bohème (Rodolfo) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 15th February 1930
5. Bravnicar: Pohujšanje v dolini Šentflorjanski/ Scandal in Saint Florian Valley (Popotnik/Wayfarer) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 11th May 1930
6. Smetana: Prodaná nevěsta – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 8th September 1930
7. Šafranek-Kavić: Hasanaginica/Hasan Aga's wife (Imotski kadija/The Cadi of Imotski) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 21th October 1930
8. Borodin: Knjaz Igor (Vladimir) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 25th October 1930
9. Musorgskij: Boris Godunov (Shuiskij) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 30th November 1930
10. Massenet: Werther (Werther) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 4th January 1931
11. Mozart: Così fan tutte (Fernando) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 22nd January 1931
12. Charpentier: Louise (Julien) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 5th March 1931
13. Musorgskij: Boris Godunov (Jurodivij/Simpleton) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 18th April 1931
14. Novák: Lucerna/The lantern (Zajíček) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 8th October 1931
15. Rimskij-Korsakov: Snegurochka – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 3rd November 1931
16. Zajc: Nikola Šubić-Zrinjski (Juranić) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 8th December 1931
17. Osterc: Medea (world premiere) (Jason) – Ljubljana,Narodno gledališče, 27th February 1932
18. Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana (Turiddu) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 3rd April 1932
19. Dvořák: Rusalka (Prince) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 3rd May 1932
20. Auber: Fra Diavolo (Fra Diavolo) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 1st October 1932
21. Verdi: Rigoletto (Duca di Mantova) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 1st November 1932
22. Massenet: Manon (des Grieux) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 19th November 1932
23. Hatze: Adel in Mara/Adel and Mara (world premiere) (Adel) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 30th November 1932
24. Gotovac: Morana (Bojan) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 5th February 1933
25. Giordano: Andrea Chénier (Chénier)- Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 17th May 1933
26. Cherepnin: Ol-Ol (Nikolaj)- Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 19th October 1933
27. Verdi: La traviata (Alfredo) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 11th November 1933
28. Janáček: Její pastorkyňa (Laca) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 18th January 1934
29. Rossini: Guillaume Tell (Rodolphe) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 8th February 1934
30. Janáček: Kát'a Kabanová (Vanja) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 26th May 1934
31. Offenbach: Les contes d'Hoffmann (Hoffmann) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 27th October 1934
32. Zandonai: Francesca da Rimini (Paolo) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 14th March 1935
33. Koczalski: Zemruda (Princ) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 9th May 1935
34. Musorgskij: Khovanshchina (Andrej) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 11th May 1935
35. Gounod: Faust (Faust) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 19th June 1935
36. Rossini: La Cenerentola (Don Ramiro) – Ljubljana,Narodno gledališče, 12th October 1935
37. Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 17th October 1935
38. Strauss: Salome (Narraboth) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 21st December 1935
39. Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth Mtsenkogo uezda/Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Sergej) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 12th February 1936
40. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier (Italian singer)- Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 25th March 1936
41. Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 22nd April 1936
42. Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 11th June 1936
43. Verdi: Un ballo in maschera (Riccardo) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 18th October 1936
44. Respighi: La fiamma (Donello) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 21th April 1937
45. Vladigerov: Tsar Kalojan (Balduin) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 15th May 1937
46. Kienzl: Der Evangelimann (Matthias) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 2nd October 1937
47. Wolf-Ferrari: I gioelli della Madonna (Gennaro) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 18th December 1937
48. Puccini: Tosca (Cavaradossi) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 29th January 1938
49. Mozart: Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 22nd February 1938
50. Dvořák: Jakobin (Jiří) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 19th March 1938
51. Wagner: Das Rheingold (Loge) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 5th April 1938
52. Catalani: La Wally (Hagenbach) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 25th June 1938
53. Odak: Dorica pleše/Dancing Dorica (Ivek) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 4th September 1938
54. Ponchielli: La Gioconda (Enzo) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 10th September 1938
55. Bizet: Carmen (Don José) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 18th December 1938
56. Musorgskij: Boris Godunov (Grigorij) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 30th December 1938
57. Chaikovskij: Pikovaja dama (German) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 9th March 1939
58. Wagner: Parsifal (Parsifal) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 7th April 1939
59. Verdi: Don Carlo (Don Carlo) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 20th May 1939
60. Lisinski: Porin (Porin) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 31th August 1939
61. Goldmark: Die Königin von Saba (Assad) – Ljubljana, Narodno gledališče, 30th September 1939
62. Bellini: Norma (Pollione) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 21st October 1939
63. Zajc: Nikola Šubić-Zrinjski (Sokolović) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 22nd December 1939
64. Verdi: Aida (Radames) – Zagreb, Hrvatsko narodno kazalište, 5th April 1940
65. Puccini: Manon Lescaut (des Grieux) – Zagreb, Hrvatsko narodno kazalište, 4th April 1941
66. Gotovac: Ero s onoga svijeta (Ero) – Zagreb, Hrvatsko drzavno kazalište, 22th June 1941
67. Leoncavallo: Pagliacci (Canio) – Wien, Volksoper. 15th March 1942
68. Papandopulo: Sunčanica/Sunflower girl (Vezir) – Zagreb, Hrvatsko drzavno kazalište, 13th June 1942
69. Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur (Maurizio) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 31st October 1942
70. Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos (Bacchus) – Wien, Volksoper, 4th September 1943
71. Wagner: Lohengrin (Lohengrin) – Wien, Staatsoper, 11th January 1944
72. Wagner: Der fliegende Holländer (Erik) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 28th November 1944
73. Lisinski: Ljubav i zloba (Vukosav) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 4th April 1946
74. Gotovac: Kamenik/The quarry (world premiere) (Nenad) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 17th December 1946
75. Beethoven: Fidelio (Florestan) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 22nd February 1947
76. Glinka: Zhizn za tsarja (Sobinin) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 6th February 1949
77. Verdi: Otello (Otello) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 10th September 1950
78. Gotovac: Mila Gojsalića (Petar Kulišić) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 18th May 1952
79. Strauss: Die Liebe der Danae (world premiere) (Midas) – Salzburg, Altes Festspielhaus, 14th August 1952
80. Mozart: Die Zauberflöte (Erster Geharnischter) – Wien, Staatsoper, 1st September 1952
81. Puccini: La fanciulla del West (Dick Johnson) – Wien, Staatsoper, 29th October 1952
82. Menotti: The saint of the Bleecker Street (Michele) – Wien, Volksoper, 16th September 1955
83. Wagner: Götterdämmerung (Siegfried) – Venice, La Fenice, 16th March 1957
84. Rimskij-Korsakov: Sadko (Sadko) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 30th April 1957
85. Prokofiev: Vojna i mir/War and peace (Pierre Bezukhov) – Zagreb, Narodno kazalište, 20th November 1961
I wish to thank Alessandro Sciocchetti for the recording (Porin).
I wish to thank Martin Ramor for the biographical notes, the picture, the discography and the Aida recording.
I wish to thank Martin Ramor for extracting the repertory from Marija Barbieri et al.: Josip Gostič, Kulturno drustvo Josip Gostič, Homec, 2000
I wish to thank Daniele Godor for the picture in Götterdämmerung.

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