For me, Heesters is a do-nothing-tenor par excellence.
His is the astonishing story of a singer without any hint of a voice, who became nevertheless one
of the most famous operetta tenors ever. He was very handsome, and obviously a good actor,
which may have helped, but doesn't explain it. He also made several successful films in Nazi
Germany, where he enjoyed a great career, and in post-1945 Germany. There is a 1941 photo of
Heesters visiting the Dachau concentration camp; though one of the prisoners later testified
that the purpose of Heesters' visit was a concert for the SS, and that he, the prisoner, had
to open and close the curtain for Heesters, the singer himself always denied to have performed
There's one truly fascinating thing about Heesters: he sang his last concert, though already completely blind,
in 2009, played his last theater role in 2010, and appeared in his last film in 2011 – at 106, 107 and 108 years
old, respectively. And there was actually
not much difference between his voice in the early 2000s,
and his voice of 60 years earlier... Danilo in "Die lustige Witwe" was his most famous role by far.