1916 – 2011
Who was Gerhard Unger?
Gerhard Unger was a German light tenor born in Bad Salzungen. He studied in Berlin and began singing concerts and oratorios in 1945, once the war was over. He had his debut as an opera singer in 1947 in Weimar. From 1949 to 1961 he sang with the Berlin State Opera. When the Berlin Wall was erected, he left for Stuttgart. After 1951 Unger sang regularly at the Bayreuth Festival. One of his signature roles was David from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, which is confirmed by the number of times he recorded the role, including with Herbert von Karajan, Rudolf Kempe, Hans Knappertsbusch, Hans Rosbaud, and Rafael Kubelík. Equally known was his Pedrillo in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, notably in the legendary 1965 Salzburg Festival production staged by Giorgio Strehler and designed by Luciano Damiani, which was conducted by Zubin Mehta, and was kept in the festival's repertory for 10 years and was also shown at Milan's La Scala. Unger's other Salzburg Festival roles included Monostatos in two different stagings of The Magic Flute
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