Torsten Kerl, born 21 October 1967 in Gelsenkirchen, was an excellent
lyrical comprimario at the Wiener Staatsoper in the late 1990s. Then, he slowly ventured into larger roles such as
Alfredo, much to my delight; even though the top register was
a weak point, there was definitely hope the voice would develop in that (upper) direction, too. Then, all of a sudden,
he left the ensemble of
the Wiener Staatsoper and was considered a heldentenor, Paul in Die tote Stadt being his new cheval-de-bataille.
Well... I heard it on the radio
and preferred not to attend the performance when he came back to the Staatsoper (after a period of absence) to sing it
on stage. And I did hear him again (as a "heldentenor") in Její pastorkyňa (as
Števa) at the Staatsoper. What a failure, what a nightmare, what a misunderstanding! Same thing, even worse, in Jonny
spielt auf a few months later at the same theater.
In Tiefland at the Vienna Volksoper, he fared somewhat better, but not much better either. It seemed obvious that he had ruined,
in no time, a promising second-rank voice (a typical comprimario-that-sings-main-parts-sometimes) by pushing and forcing it
into a far too heavy repertory.
In RA format
Very surprisingly, though, a few years later, he seems to have recovered (I say "seems to" because I had no more occasion of
hearing him live), and to have coped much better with heldentenor
demands – a case similar to Jerusalem, who, too, grew into the heldentenor
business all of a sudden, after several years of having sung it with devastating results.
Picture source, © Bettina Stöß