Waldemar Kmentt

2 February 1929 Vienna – 21 January 2015 Vienna

Waldemar Kmentt sings Die Rosen der Madonna (Stolz): Maria, o komm zu mir, with Eberhard Waechter
In RA format

Waldemar Kmentt sings Il trovatore: Lodern zum Himmel
In RA format

Waldemar Kmentt sings Va, dal furor portata (Mozart)
In RA format

Kmentt was a local hero in Vienna, where he was considered one of the truly great tenors (I beg to differ). He studied the piano first, then voice at the Vienna Academy of Music (with Hans Duhan, among others). He made his debut in 1950 in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony under Karl Böhm.

His operatic debut followed the next year at the Vienna Staatsoper, where he spent his entire career. His debut role was the Prince in L'amour des trois oranges; until 2005, he sang a total of 75 roles in 1388 performances: lots of Mozart (Tamino, Ferrando, Belmonte, Ottavio), many evenings as Hoffmann (perhaps his most famous part) and as Jeník, but also José Faust, Erik, Bacchus, Almaviva, Châteauneuf, Rodolfo; and many comprimario roles (particularly in his later years): Beppe, Narraboth (for decades, no Vienna Salome was imagineable without his Narraboth), Froh, Erster Geharnischter, Jacquino, Shujskij.

As a guest, he sang a lot at the Salzburg Festival and in Düsseldorf-Duisburg, but also at La Scala, in Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Munich, Stuttgart, Buenos Aires, Aix-en-Provence, Edinburgh... At the Bayreuth Festival, he was Stolzing from 1968 to 1970.

1978–95, he was head of the opera department at the Vienna City Conservatory; among his numerous pupils were Wolfgang Bankl and Mehrzad Montazeri (which is no recommendation).

While there is no doubt that he had a secure top (something that his fans have always raved about), his dry, narrow, pungent, bleating sound is very unpleasant to my ears, and his coloratura is abominable.

Reference 1, reference 2: archives of the Vienna Staatsoper, reference 3 (wrong number of Staatsoper roles and performances)
Picture source

I would like to thank Thomas Silverbörg for the recording (Va, dal furor portata).

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