|Year of Birth:||1947|
Wolfgang Brendel (born 20 October 1947, in Munich) is a German opera singer (baritone), and a professor of voice at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He has performed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America.
Wolfgang Brendel grew up in Wiesbaden, where he took singing lessons with Rolff Sartorius during his time at the conservatory. In 1971, he debuted at the Pfalztheater in Kaiserslautern as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. His artistic home for the greater part of his career was the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, where in 1977 he became the youngest Kammersänger in the company's history.
In some sense taking up the mantle of Josef Metternich, who had retired in 1971, Brendel established his primacy as the star Munich baritone of his era across an extraordinary range of roles, from Mozart (not only Guglielmo but Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, the title role in Don Giovanni) to Verdi (Germont in La traviata, Posa in Don Carlo, Renato in Un ballo in maschera, Carlo in La forza del destino, and di Luna in Il trovatore) and beyond. Already in 1973, he achieved acclaim as Pelléas in a new production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. Sabine Tomzig wrote in the Hamburger Abendblatt: "A discovery: the 25-year-old Munich baritone as Pelleas, a Gallic figure with that lightness and brightness of timbre that predestines him for a part that is usually sung by tenors" ("Eine Entdeckung: der 25jährige Münchener Bariton Wolfgang Brendel als Pelleas, ein romanischer Typ mit jener Leichtigkeit und Helligkeit des Timbres, das ihn für diese meist von Tenören gesungene Partie prädestiniert"). Early on the conductor Carlos Kleiber selected him to sing Germont, conducting him also in other roles (for example, Falke in Die Fledermaus; in later years, Brendel would graduate to Eisenstein). In these early years he also sang a variety of other roles, including Silvio in Pagliacci.