Ernst-Dieter Suttheimer

born 19 October 1941 Lorsch

Excellent 1980s and 1990s comprimario first in Graz, then at both the Vienna Volks- and Staatsoper. Still (in 2007) occasionally active at the Volksoper and in Klagenfurt/Austria. He was by no means gifted with a remarkable (let alone beautiful) voice; however, as an excellent (also vocal) actor, he delivered intense portrayals of his mostly small roles, but also of Mime. His Spoletta was, strange as it may seem to who could not see him on stage, actually thrilling, and his "Sì, come Palmieri" was bringing goosebumps.

He had started his career, after vocal studies in Heppenheim and Darmstadt, in 1964 in Oldenburg. In 1977, he went to Graz, and in 1990 to Vienna. Among his further roles were Monostatos, the First Jew in Salome (another great achievement), Shujskij, the Shepherd in Tristan und Isolde or Josef K. in Gottfried von Einem's Der Prozess. But above all, his Mime was absolutely thrilling, and sung with rare perfection (it's such a difficult part!). In my opinion, that Mime (in both Rheingold and Siegfried) had no equal, neither in his time nor in any other.

He made many guest appearances, Barcelona, La Scala, Rome, Palermo, Catania, Naples, Geneva, Basel, Hongkong, Singapur, Jakarta, Munich, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Wiesbaden, Bregenz, Santiago de Chile and so on.

Being such a good actor, he also appeared in film and TV productions – of opera (in Robert Dornhelm's Bohème film as Parpignol, Zauberflöte on Israeli TV and many others), but also in the Austrian short film thriller Anna and the Austrian whodunit Bell Canto (2010). Late in his career, he ventured also into musical and sang a spine-chilling Phantom of the opera at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna for a full year. At the Vienna Volksoper and in Klagenfurt, he made operatic appearances well into the 21st century, and as late as 2017, he sang in a new musical (Don Camillo und Peppone by Dario Farina) at the Vienna Ronacher.

Chronologically, Suttheimer was the last tenor able to satisfy the demanding listener so far. When Bonisolli was already dead and Terranova and Giacomini had retired, Suttheimer was still going strong in his (completely different, of course) repertory. And among the tenors active in the 21st century until now (I'm writing in 2022), all the others were not fit to hold a candle to him. With his retirement, the history of great tenor singing has thus come to an (at least temporary) end.

Picture source
Reference for the earlier part of Suttheimer's life: Kutsch & Riemens

Ernst-Dieter Suttheimer singsDas Rheingold: Wer hälfe mir, with Wolfgang Müller-Lorenz (Loge)
In RA format

Wolfgang Müller-Lorenz singsSiegfried: Hier hilft kein Kluger ... Nothung! Nothung! ... Schmiede mein Hammer ... So schneidet Siegfrieds Schwert, with Ernst-Dieter Suttheimer (Mime)

Ernst-Dieter Suttheimer singsSiegfried: Willkommen, Siegfried!, with Wolfgang Müller-Lorenz (Siegfried)

Ernst-Dieter Suttheimer singsThe phantom of the opera: Spürt diesen Mörder auf, with Colleen Besett and Timothy Breese

Ernst-Dieter Suttheimer singsTosca: O galantuomo, come andò la caccia? ... Tal violenza!, with Wicus Slabbert, Maria Guleghina, Emil Ivanov (Cavaradossi) and Roland Schubert
Roland Schubert, who sings Sciarrone here, was an equally great singer of smallest (bass-baritone) roles.

Ernst-Dieter Suttheimer singsTosca: Eccellenza! L'Angelotti al nostro giungere s'uccise!, with Wicus Slabbert and Maria Guleghina

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