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Josef Wagner - Baritone/Bass


The musical training of the bass baritone Josef Wagner, born in Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), began in a boys choir, and with violin and piano lessons. After deciding for a career in voice, he studied at the University for Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna with Kurt Equiluz and Robert Holl. He has received important artistic incentives in master classes of Paul Esswood, Walter Berry and Christa Ludwig. His present teacher is Prof. Wicus Slabbert.

After his stage debut as Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte) and Dulcamara (Elisir d’amore) he became a member of the ensemble of the Vienna Volksoper in 2002. There he expanded his repertoire considerably and sang a.o. Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), Papageno (Zauberflöte) and recently with sensational success the title role in the Achim Freyer production of Don Giovanni. He still feels closely connected to this house.

In summer 2006, Josef Wagner gave his debut at the Salzburg Festival as Don Cassandro (La Finta Semplice). Since then he has been working as a freelance singer, performing e.g. Konrad Nachtigall (Die Meisteringer von Nürnberg) at Geneva Opera, Guglielmo at Opera Ireland and Papageno at Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Japan. Further engagements included appearances as Herkules in Anton Schweitzer’s Alceste with Concerto Cologne under the baton of Michael Hofstetter; Lord Sidney (Viaggio a Reims) at Israeli Opera, Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress) at Opera Nantes, Frank (Fledermaus) at Geneva Opera, Escamillo with Bavarian Radio Orchestra and in Tel Aviv, Eduard (Neues vom Tage by Hindemith) and Pantalone (Turandot by Busoni) at Dijon Opera, as well as Leporello and Publio (La Clemenza di Tito) in Marseille. He is also regularly guest at Opera Vlaanderen where he sang Don Alfonso, Ercole/Giove in Cavalli’s Giasone, Assur (Semiramide) with Alberto Zedda conducting, Fra Melitone (La Forza del destino) and the title role in Don Giovanni.

At Deutsche Oper Berlin he participated in a concert version of “Le Vaisseau Fantôme” (by Pierre-Louis Dietsch). With great success he sang Jochanaan at Royal Opera Stockholm by Nina Stemme’s side, Papageno at the Festival Aix-en-Provence as well as Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande) at Deutsche Oper Berlin. In Toronto he had a big success as Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) in a production from Claus Guth.

Further projects include the Ruler (The Miracle of Heliane) at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Guglielmo at Marseille Opera. He will return to Volksoper Vienna with The Tales of Hoffmann and in the title role of Don Giovanni, and to Opera Vlaanderen as Papageno. He will sing the role of the Musiklehrer (Ariadne auf Naxos) at Opera Nancy and at the Festival of Aix-en-Provence and give his role debut as Eugene Onegin in Helsinki.

Josef Wagner is also greatly in demand as a concert singer, whose repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary pieces. He has performed under the conductors Ton Koopman, Dennis Russel Davies and Nikolaus Harnoncourt e.g. at Wiener Musikverein, Wiener Konzerthaus and the Festival of Ludwigsburg (Ludwigsburger Festspiele). He also often appears as a Lied singer, Die Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin belonging to his favourite repertoire.

Last updated: 18.08.2016

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