1881 - 1949
The Viennese bass-baritone Arthur Fleischer was a distinguished interpreter of Wagnerian roles, including Hans Sachs in “Die meistersinger von Nürnberg,” Wolfram in “Tannhäuser,” and Wotan in “Die Walküre.” Some of his other notable roles were Scarpia in “Tosca” and Amonasro in “Aida.” In addition to his work in Austria and Germany he performed in Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, and Italy.
Known as a singer who was also a brilliant actor, Fleischer did his own makeup for his roles.
Born in Vienna in 1881 and educated at the Vienna Conservatory, he sang at the Wiener Volksoper from 1914 to 1921, and also held tenures at the Dresden Staatsoper and Berlin Staatsoper. In addition to his work in Austria and Germany, Fleischer performed in Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, and Italy.
One of his recital accompanists was Anton Webern. Another accompanist, his son Thomas, noted that Fleischer needed to buy a new shirt for the perpetually-strapped Webern when they went on tour. The singer's high regard for Webern did not extend to the music of the Second Viennese School in general: Fleischer turned down the starring role in the premier of Wozzeck when Alban Berg offered it to him, claiming it would ruin his voice.
In 1939 he immigrated to the USA, settling in San Francisco where he taught until his death in 1949