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date: 17 January 2021

Slezak, Leolocked

  • Desmond Shawe-Taylor

Extract

(b Mährisch-Schönberg [now Šumperk], Moravia, Aug 18, 1873; d Egern am Tegernsee, Germany, June 1, 1946). Austrian-Czech tenor. Discovered and trained by the well-known baritone and teacher Adolf Robinson, he made a promising début at Brno on 17 March 1896, as Lohengrin. His early career was somewhat chequered; and his Covent Garden début, again as Lohengrin, on 18 May 1900, was ruined by the pandemonium aroused by the news of the relief of Mafeking. By contrast, his career in Vienna, whither he was called by Mahler in 1901, was brilliant and prolonged; he remained one of the leading tenors of the house until the mid-1920s, and subsequently made occasional guest appearances until a final Pagliacci in 1933.

During the interim Slezak had become internationally famous, especially after a period of study with Jean de Reszke in 1907. A marked improvement was noted on his reappearance at Covent Garden in ...

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