William Wildermann at Lyric Opera of Chicago
1955 - Puritani (Gualtiero Walton) [Opening Night] with Callas, DiStefano, Bastianini, Rossi-Lemeni; Rescigno
Aïda (Ramfis) with Tebaldi, Varnay, Antonioli, Gobbi; Serafin
Trovatore (Ferrando) with Callas, Bjoerling, Bastianini/Weede, Stignani/Turner; Rescigno
Rigoletto (Sparafucile) with Gobbi, Stich-Randall, Bjoerling, Dunn, Ardis Krainik as Giovanna; Rescigno
Tabarro (Talpa) with Gobbi, Ribla, Bergonzi, Turner, Ardis Krainik as a Lover; Rescigno
Ballo in Maschera (Samuele) with Cerquetti, Bjoerling, Gobbi, Turner; Rescigno
1956 - Fanciulla del West (Ashby) [Opening Night] with Steber, Del Monaco, Gobbi; Mitropoulos
Walküre (Hunding) with Nilsson, Borkh, Suthaus, Schöffler, Ardis Krainik as Rossweisse; Solti
Trovatore (Ferrando) with Nelli/Ribla, Turner, Bjoerling, Bastianini; Bartoletti
1957 - Otello (Lodovico) [Opening Night] with Del Monaco, Tebaldi, Gobbi; Serafin
Mignon (Lothario) with Simionato, Misciano, Moffo; Gavazzeni [Photo with Moffo below]
Gioconda (Alvise) with Farrell, Tucker/DiStefano, Simionato, Protti; Serafin
Ballo in Maschera (Samuele) with Cerquetti, Bjoerling, Protti, Turner; Solti
Don Carlo (Grand Inquisitor) with Cerquetti, Sullivan/Bjoerling, Gobbi, Christoff, Rankin; Solti
1958 - Turandot (Timur) with Nilsson, DiStefano, Moffo; Serafin, Rosing (Producer)
Trovatore (Ferrando) with Ross, Bjoerling, Simionato, Bastianini; Schaenen
Gianni Schicchi (Simone) with Gobbi, Moffo, Misciano; Serafin
Tristan und Isolde (Marke) with Nilsson, Liebl, Hoffman, Cassel; Rodzinski
Rigoletto (Sparafucile) with Gobbi/MacNeil, Moffo, Bjoerling, Ardis Krainik as Giovanna; Sebastian
Boris Godunov (Pimen) with Christoff, Sullivan, Hoffman; Sebastian
Aïda (Ramfis) with Rysanek, Bjoerling, Simionato, Gobbi; Sebastian
1960 - Walküre (Hunding) with Nilsson, Vickers, Hotter, Brouwenstijn, Ludwig; Matačič
1961 - Lucia (Raimondo) [Opening Night] with Sutherland, Tucker/Bergonzi, Zanasi; Votto; Zeffirelli (Producer) [Backstage photo below]
Don Giovanni (Commendatore) with Waechter, Schwarzkopf/Della Casa, Stich-Randall, Simoneau, Berry; Maag
Fidelio (Rocco) with Nilsson, Vickers, Hotter, Seefried, Berry; Maag
The Harvest (Sam) with Horne, Evans, Morell; Giannini
1962 - Bohème (Colline, alternating with Christoff) with Rubio/Sighele, Tucker, Zanasi, Corena; Cillario
Samson et Dalila (Abimélech) with Kaart, Gorr, Bacquier; Dervaux
Rigoletto (Sparafucile) with Bastianini, D'Angelo, Tucker; Dervaux
1963 - Nabucco (High Priest) [Opening Night] with Gobbi, Mastilovic, Lo Morena, Christoff; Bartoletti
Fidelio (Rocco) with Crespin, Vickers, Christoff, Steffek, Knoll; Rieger
Otello (Lodovico) with Vickers/Uzunov, Jurinac, Gobbi, Cossutta as Cassio; Baartoletti
Tannhäuser (Hermann) with Uzunov, Crespin, Bumbry, Wolansky, Cossutta as Walther; Danon
1966 - Boris Godunov (Pimen) [Opening Night] with Ghiaurov, Cosutta, Pospinov; Bartoletti, Benois (Producer)
Otello (Lodovico) with Vickers/Craig, Kabaivanska, Gobbi; Sanzogno, Gobbi (Director)
Coronation of Poppea (Seneca) with Lear, Montal, Berganza; Bartoletti
Italian Flood Relief Concert (Soloist) with others in the company [Photo in tuxedo below]
Angel of Fire (Inquisitor) with Weathers, Mittelmann; Bartoletti
1983 - Mikado (Pooh-Bah) [Spring Season] with Harman-Gulick, Rosenshein/Negrini, Curry, Adams; Sellars (Producer)
1986-87 - Katya Kabanova (Dikoy) with Shade, Palmer, Bailey, Jenkins; Bartoletti
[Note: Names which are links refer to my interviews elsewhere on this website.]
|One of the more charming interludes
of last fall's New York City Opera season was its new production of ''The
Merry Wives of Windsor,'' with William Wildermann prancing goutily and hilariously
through the same Falstaffian part that he had taken 25 years earlier in the
company's previous production of Otto Nicolai's light classic. Thursday night,
the City Opera opened its spring season with ''The Merry Wives,'' and again
it was Mr. Wildermann's show.
The veteran baritone sometimes indicated more clearly by his facial expression or gestures where certain lower notes ought to have been, but his Falstaff left no one in doubt as to where the wit and sentiment in the part resided. Whether drinking lesser men under the table in a guzzling contest or making love to two merry wives simultaneously, Mr. Wildermann was a delight, plainly enjoying himself as the ludicrous old sot as much as he was being enjoyed.
Mr. Wildermann was at his best, as before, while wearing the antlers and careering about the stage in the moonstruck final scene. His Falstaff, like many portly men, is a dainty dancer. There is arthritis in his step, but he overcomes it bravely.
If the cast had in most respects approached the standard that Mr. Wildermann set, the night could have been another blow for Nicolai. But Lou Galterio's direction did not take with other key players. This is an opera that vacillates gently between burlesque and genial sentiment, and any movement too far in either direction can upset the balance...
[From a review in The New York Times by Donal Henahan of The Merry Wives of Windsor at the New York City Opera, published February 20, 1981.]
|Of the other principals, William
Wildermann stood out, as he so frequently does, for the intelligence of his
portrayal. He did not merely put on the robes of the Hermann - he became
that good-hearted Thuringian landgrave. He is that rarity, a singer who acts
with his voice and his whole person.
[From the review of Tannhäuser at the Met in The New York Times by Donal Henahan, published February 12, 1984, in which Leonie Rysanek celebrated her 25th anniversary with the company. James Levine conducted.]
Opera Company of Boston's sublime, sumptuous Der Rosenkavalier
DER ROSENKAVALIER By Richard Strauss.
Opera Company of Boston, Conducted by William Fred Scott; Staged by Lisi Oliver; Scenery by Herbert Senn and Helen Pond.
The Opera House, Washington St., Boston, April 13 at 8 pm; April 16 & 23 at 3 pm.
Rush tickets may be available for $15 with student ID from 2 pm on April 23.
By JONATHAN RICHMOND
"HOW COME OCHS gets such wonderful music?" I asked Opera Company of Boston Artistic Director Sarah Caldwell, who was for once enjoying the opera from a seat in the house, rather than conducting the proceedings in the pit and on the stage. "It's all he gets," replied Caldwell of the ungainly lecher, whose advances only lead to ever more humiliating embarrassments and failure in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. But Strauss's music is no booby prize, especially when played by the Opera Company orchestra.
This is a Rosenkavalier worth seeing: The singing of Gwyneth Jones as the Marschallin and Jeanne Ommerle as Sophie is ravishing; the buffoonery of William Wildermann as Baron Ochs is hilarious; the staging by Lisi Oliver touches the deeper moments as well as the comic; the orchestra's performance of Strauss's sublime music under William Fred Scott is sumptuous. And if you have a student ID you can attend the final performance this coming Sunday at 3 pm for only $15 (subject to rush availability from 2 pm onwards). (...)
[First part of a review of this performance from The Tech, online edition, Volume 109, Issue 19, Friday, April 21, 1989. MIT's oldest and largest newspaper & the first newspaper published on the web.]
|Notoriously "the worst opera recording
ever made", this heavily cut performance of LA JUIVE is probably not in fact
that, but suffers from two tenors very much past their prime, Miklos Gafni
as Eleazar, and Nico Feldman as Prince Leopold. The two ladies, Francis Yeend
as Rachel and Alberta Hopkins as Princess Eudoxie are just fine, and bass
William Wilderman is really superb as Cardinal Brogni. (...) MET
bass William Wilderman is the real star here, unfurling waves of beautiful
To economize, the orchestra, under Erasmo Ghiglia, was recorded in Florence, Italy while soloists and chorus were recorded in New York City. This was simply not a realizable technical feat in 1960. The joins and splices are audible and clunky. The set comes with a nicely designed booklet with background information, bios and performer photos, as well as a copy of an old Rullmann libretto that doesn't always match the work as performed.
[From a customer review of the vinyl set on Amazon.com]
This interview was recorded at his apartment in Chicago on December
11, 1986. Portions (along with recordings) were used on WNIB
twice in 1989, and again in 1994 and 1999. The transcription was made
and published in Wagner News in
December, 1989. It was re-edited and posted on this website in 2013.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.