Манфред Хемм

Biography

Born in Austria, studied in Vienna, he made his debut singing Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro. After a triumphant success at the Opera House in Graz as Leporello, Claudio Abbado and Claus Helmut Drese invited him to the Vienna State Opera and Jean-Pierre Ponnelle engaged him in Venice and Zurich. Herbert von Karajan also invited him to the Salzburg Festival where he performed Figaro (Levine/Ponnelle), Angelotti in Tosca (Karajan), and later roles in Elektra (Abbado) and Die Frau ohne Schatten (Sir Georg Solti). His time in Salzburg led directly to his famous interpretation of Papageno at the Metropolitan Opera in New York which he repeated in five successive seasons with enormous success. Manfred became increasingly well-known for his Mozart roles and sang Papageno, Figaro and Leporello in Tokyo, for the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, in Zurich and also Masetto at the Metropolitan Opera.
At this point in his career he wished to learn the secrets of the old belcanto. He moved to Venice to study the belcanto technique of Manuel Garcia with Randolph Mickelson, whose association include Joan Sutherland and Montserrat Caballe.
His first major success in this new repertoire was as Gurnemanz in Parsifal for Scottish Opera. He repeated this role to great acclaim at the Tyrol Festival conducted by Gustav Kuhn, in Genova with Michail Jurowski, for the National Theater in Mannheim and for the Opera of South Australia. He then added the role of Sarastro to his repertoire which he sang for San Francisco Opera and at the Theatre des Champs Elysses in Paris, Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier for Scottish Opera and Den Norske Opera (Oslo), The Grand Theatre in Marseille and in Sydney, as well as the role of Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail.
In the Italian repertoire Manfred takes great pleasure in singing Ramfis (Aida) which he has performed for Scottish Opera and Enrico VIII in Anna Bolena at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Finnish National Opera and Pittsburgh Opera. Other roles include Giorgio (I Puritani) in Philadelphia, Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia) in Munich, Orbazzano (Tancredi) at the Staatsoper Berlin.

In 2012 he performed the role of Baron Ochs (Der Rosenkavalier) at the Bolshoi Theatre.

Manfred Hemm also appears regularly on the concert platform. Particular favourites include Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Verdi’s Requiem. In recent years he sang Beethoven’s 9th in Stockholm, Bruckner’s Te Deum and Dvorak’s Requiem at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.