Theodore Ritch


Picture of Theodore Ritch

Born in Odessa (his name, in standard transliteration, is Fjodor Rich), he is said to have made his operatic debut already in Russia – although he already left Russia after the revolution in 1917, so I frankly have doubts about the debut (he would have been very young). Most of his biography awaits clarification; his first nine years outside Russia are largely a mystery, the only ascertained fact is that he sang in Yugoslavia (what, how often, how long, that's all uncertain).

From the late 1920s onwards, he was in Paris; he sang Grigorij at the Opéra (debut 23 March 1926), but whether he already lived there at the time is not certain; probably he was still based in Yugoslavia at the time. Anyway, from 1927, he was a member of the Opéra Russe troupe that was at home in Paris but traveled widely, and definitely made Paris his own home at some uncertain point.

In 1929, he is said to have sung at the Colón in Buenos Aires (proof pending), and in London both at Covent Garden and in the British premiere of Sadko at the Lyceum Theater. From 1929 to 1931, he sang at the Chicago opera, where he appeared in smaller parts like Léopold or Cassio. In 1932, he was Vladimir Igorevich in Rome.

He had already retired when he, being Jewish, was arrested by the Nazis in Paris in 1943; he died on board a train, on his way from the French concentration camp Drancy to some extermination camp in Poland (presumably Auschwitz).

Theodore Ritch sings Tosca: E lucevan le stelle
In RA format

Theodore Ritch sings Manon: En fermant les yeux
In RA format

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