V0856. JOSEPH SCHWARZ: Songs by Liszt & Lewandowski; Arias & Duets (w.Dux) from Il Trovatore, L'Africaine, Rigoletto, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Guillaume Tell, Ballo, La Traviata & Otello. (Austria) Preiser 89033, recorded 1916-18. - 717281890335
"Josef Schwarz made his début at Linz in 1900 as Amonasro. Subsequently he toured with enormous success and returned to his home town Riga at the Imperial Opera in St. Petersburg. He was invited to the Vienna Volksoper and later became a member of the Imperial Vienna Opera where he remained an admired member of the ensemble from 1909 to 1915. After the sudden demise of Leopold Demuth he had to take over the latter’s roles. Very soon, triumphant acclaim followed, especially when he partnered Enrico Caruso, who often made guest appearances in Vienna. His repertory included roles such as Amfortas, Wanderer, Wolfram, Scarpia, Germont, Escamillo, Renato and Valentin. After a guest appearance in Berlin in 1915, Schwarz decided to terminate his contract with the Vienna Opera and moved to Berlin where he was hailed as “second Battistini.” He soon became one of the most splendid and popular members of the ensemble. His psychological study of Iago made theatre history in Berlin. In 1921 he toured the United States, and for several years he was associated with the Civic Opera Company in Chicago and was also immediately engaged at the Met (where he never appeared since he died prematurely). His singing was enhanced by his superb stage presence. His histrionic ability caused his style to be compared to Chaliapin’s! Josef Schwarz ideally combined classical Italian “belcanto style” with emotional intensity; he is among the greatest baritones of the 20th century. His is a gloriously vibrant, warm and dark-colored voice of outstanding quality. His legato and resonant mezza voce, his musical expression and flexibility are remarkable, in particular his exceptional use of portamento."
- Ned Ludd