(born August 2
) is an Austrian
) singer of operas
Gundula Janowitz studied at the Graz Conservatory
in Austria, and had already begun to sing at the highest level by the end of the 1950s (Die Schöpfung
, with Herbert von Karajan
in 1960). In 1959, Karajan engaged her as "Barbarina" in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro
(The Marriage of Figaro
) at the Vienna State Opera
, of which she became a permanent member in 1962. In the 1960s and 1970s, she became one of the most popular singers in her field internationally and she developed a comprehensive and widely-followed discography of works ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach
to Richard Strauss
, in cooperation with the most prominent conductors (her mentor at times, Karajan, as well as Otto Klemperer
, Eugen Jochum
, Leonard Bernstein
, Rafael Kubelik
, Karl Böhm
, Georg Solti
, Carlos Kleiber
One of the emphases of Janowitz's work was the development of song recitals, such as several at the Salzburg Festivals (Salzburger Festspielen). Following her vocal career, she was active as a vocal teacher. In 1990, she temporarily took over the position of Opera Director in Graz, Austria.
In 1978, Gundula Janowitz was awarded the Joseph Marx Music Prize of the state of Styria, Austria, named for the composer, Joseph Marx.
Gundula Janowitz appeared on many of the great stages of the world, for example, regularly at the Salzburg Easter Festivals (Salzburger Osterfestpielen). In 1973, she sang the part of the Countess in a now legendary new production of Le nozze di Figaro (with Georg Solti as conductor, Giorgio Strehler as director and Ezio Frigerio as set designer).
Her farewell premier was at the Vienna State Opera in the title role of Christoph Willibald Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide (Iphigeneia in Aulis) (with Charles Mackerras as conductor, Claus Helmut Drese as director, and Hans Schavernoch as set designer). Gundula Janowitz made her official farewell from the stage in 1990.
Voice and Repertory
Gundula Janowitz's voice is distinguished by its very bright, pure, tremolo
-free sound with little vibrato
and its even breathing technique, and it kept its youthful, angelic tone and its freshness well into her mature years. Like her predecessors, Elisabeth Grümmer
and Maria Stader
, who had similar timbre
to her, and like her contemporary, Elizabeth Harwood
, Janowitz mastered first and foremost the high and middle register and lyrical-emotional expression. Despite her comparatively weak sound projection, she occasionally attempted dramatic roles (Sieglinde, Leonore) or comic roles (Marzelline, Rosalinde), but she was most highly regarded as Countess Almaviva, Pamina, Agathe, Eva, Gutrune and Countess Madeleine. With a few exceptions, she avoided foreign-language roles, as well as the modern repertory in general (Bavarians Richard Strauss
and Carl Orff
being the exceptions).
An excerpt of her portrayal of the Figaro Countess features prominently in the 1994 critically acclaimed film, The Shawshank Redemption.
- With Otto Klemperer: Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)
- With Herbert von Karajan: Die Schöpfung (The Creation), Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons), Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods), Matthäuspassion (St. Matthew Passion), h-Moll-Messe (Mass in B Minor), Fidelio (as Marzelline), Ninth Symphony, Missa Solemnis, Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem), Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs)
- With Leonard Bernstein: Fidelio (as Leonore)
- With Eugen Jochum: Carmina Burana
- With Carlos Kleiber: Der Freischütz
- With Karl Böhm: Cosi fan tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), Die Fledermaus (The Bat), Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons), Capriccio
- With Rafael Kubelik: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg), Lohengrin
- With Rudolf Kempe: Ariadne auf Naxos (Ariadne on Naxos)
- With Karl Richter: Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio), Messiah
- With Hans Knappertsbusch: Parsifal (1962 - as Flower Girl)