Otto Macha

31 January 1895 Klagenfurt – late 1955 Baden bei Wien

Otto Macha sings Don Carlo: Als mein Auge sie erblickte

Otto Macha was born in Klagenfurt (the capital of the region of Carinthia in southern Austria) into a Czech family: his father Otakar, a violinist and violist, had an engagement as a conductor at the Municipal Theater there. (Also the son's name was officially Otakar Mácha, but he was as fluent in German as in Czech, and from 1920 on used the German form of his name, even at Czech theaters.)

In 1900, the family returned to Prague (Mácha senior became a violist in the orchestra of the National Theater), and Otto Macha studied voice at the conservatory there from 1910. He began his career in 1914 as a chorister at the National Theater; in 1915 and 1916, he was promoted to drama actor at the same theater (the Prague National Theater has always been staging both drama and opera). Next, he was a tenor soloist in Plzeň (until 1918); in 1918/19, he sang at Prague cabarets, before returning to Plzeň for another operatic season, where he sang Riccardo and Jeník.

From 1920 to 1927, he was one of the leading tenors of the German Theater Prague, where Alexander von Zemlinsky was the music director. Macha sang Max in 1920, Dick Johnson in 1921, Paul (Die tote Stadt), Cavaradossi and Gounod's Faust in 1922, Konrad (Hans Heiling) and Don José in 1923, Lukáš (Hubička), Pinkerton, Fool (Der Schatzgräber by Schreker), Otello and Lorenzo (Fra Diavolo) in 1924, Jeník, Jean de Leyde, Erik and Lohengrin in 1925, Herodes, Števa Burja, Éléazar, Froh and Tannhäuser in 1926, Officer (Cardillac by Hindemith) and Mathias (Der Evangelimann) in 1927. Macha also made a few guest appearances at the National Theater (where he had begun as a chorister): a total of eleven evenings between 1916 and 1932.

When Zemlinsky left the German Theater in 1927, Macha left, too. He went to Saarbrücken (1927–29), Münster (1929/30) and Teplice/Teplitz-Schönau, where he stayed from 1930 to 1933 and sang Prince (Rusalka), Stolzing, Sly, German, Lohengrin, Tristan, Tannhäuser, Herodes (which was considered his best role), Samson, Florestan, Siegmund, Max and Alfred (Die Fledermaus). Next, Macha had two brief contracts in Ostrava and in Ústí nad Labem/Aussig an der Elbe, was then a freelancer for a few years, before closing his career in Brno/Brünn from 1939 to 1942.

After WWII, he taught voice at the conservatory in Vienna.

Reference 1, reference 2

Discography

Grammophon/Polydor, Berlin, January 1923
2071ar	Tannhäuser (Wagner): Den Bronnen, den uns Wolfram nannte	14668
2072ar	Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Hüll dich in Tand nur			14669
2073ar	Der fliegende Holländer (Wagner): Mit Gewitter und Sturm	14668
2074ar	Don Carlo (Verdi): Als mein Auge sie erblickte			14669
2075ar	Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor (Nicolai): Horch, die Lerche	14670
2076ar	Le postillon de Lonjumeau (Adam): Freunde, vernehmet		14670
1113as	Les contes d'Hoffmann (Offenbach): Die Liebe fürs Leben		19108
1114as	Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni): Schäumt der süße Wein		19109
1115as	Carmen (Bizet): Ich seh' die Mutter dort (w. Beata Malkin)	65750
1116as	Don Carlo (Verdi): Als mein Auge sie erblickte			19109
1117as	Prodaná nevěsta (Smetana): Es muss gelingen			19108

Artiphon, Berlin, 7 July 1927
S984	Il tabarro (Puccini): Ja, du hast recht				test 980
Source for the discography: Gesellschaft für historische Tonträger, Wien

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