|Year of Birth:||1904|
|Year of Death:||1942|
Joseph Schmidt (March 4, 1904 – November 16, 1942) was an Austro-Hungarian and Romanian Jewish tenor and actor. He was born in Davideny (Ukrainian: Davydivka) village in the Storozhynets district of the Bukovina province of Austria-Hungary, which became part of Romania after World War I and is now part of Ukraine.
In addition to German, which was his first language, and Yiddish, he learned Hebrew and became fluent in Romanian, French and English. His first vocal training was as a boy alto in the Czernowitz Synagogue. His talents were quickly recognised and by 1924 he was featured in his first solo recital in Czernowitz singing traditional Jewish songs and arias by Verdi, Puccini, Rossini and Bizet. Soon he moved to Berlin and took piano and singing lessons from Professor Hermann Weissenborn at the Königliche Musikschule. He returned to Romania for his military service.
In 1929, he went back to Berlin, where Cornelis Bronsgeest, a famous Dutch baritone, engaged him for a radio broadcast as Vasco da Gama in Meyerbeer's L'Africaine. This was the beginning of a successful international career. Owing to his diminutive stature (he was just over 1.5 m, or 4' 11") a stage career was impossible; however his voice was extremely well suited for radio. He made many records, first for Ultraphone, then for Odeon/Parlophone, was featured in many radio broadcasts and acted in several movies in both German and English.