Gert Lutze, born September 30th, 1917 in Leipzig, had a surprising career in East Germany. Actually, he was a dermatologist,
and always kept working as such; tenor was his second job. He had been an amateur chorister in Leipzig's famous Thomanerchor
from childhood (actually from nine years old), first as a boy soprano, then as a bass, then as a tenor, and started his solo
career incidentally by stepping in for a sick tenor in Bach's Johannespassion in June 1945.
Though he couldn't of course appear
on stage (he had already been a medical doctor since 1944, and singing was restricted to his spare time), he gained prominence
in the German Democratic Republic as a concert singer (mainly oratorio, and specializing in Bach), on record (again,
mostly Bach), and on the radio, where he sang more or less everything and made a huge amount of broadcasts –
a countless number of tapes being still preserved (actually a total of 486 recordings, many complete operas among them),
though Lutze is completely forgotten now and almost all of his recordings unavailable to the collector.
For light music, Lutze used "Charles Geerd" as an alias. His astonishing number of radio recordings (as well
as records) was all made in merely 14 years, and it's about the same recording output that Rudolf Schock (another
prolific recorder) achieved in 40 years! Just 14 years for Lutze, because in 1960, he did not return to communist East
Germany from a concert tour abroad, and settled near Stuttgart in West Germany, where he continued working as a
dermatologist, but no longer as a singer.
Lutze was "rediscovered" by Gottfried Cervenka, the long-term
host of the Austrian radio's then incomparable weekly historical opera program. Lutze was still healthy on
his 90th birthday in September 2007, and so was his voice,
according to Mr. Cervenka. But then he died all of a sudden on November 6th, 2007.
Lutze's singing is characterized by outstanding musicality, secure vocal technique, a phenomenal top, and amazing stylistic
versatility – a Bach expert who was at the same time a top-rank Arnold interpreter, that's most probably unique. Lutze is
for sure one of the most unjustly forgotten and most underrated tenors ever.