Richard Tauber (1891-1948)
One of the world’s finest tenor singers.
There are nearly always fresh flowers on the handsome black marble grave of Austrian opera singer and composer Richard Tauber.
Tauber was one of the world’s finest tenors, hugely popular in Europe and America for his opera and operetta performances. He was born in Linz; his father was an actor and his mother was in musical comedy. He made his singing debut in Freiburg on the day after his 21st birthday, then went on to sing with the Dresden Opera and the Vienna and Berlin State Opera companies.
He spent the early 1920s based in Vienna then moved to Berlin, while also performing in London’s Covent Garden and touring America. In Germany Tauber was attacked by the Nazis for his Jewish heritage, so he moved back to his native Austria. He then left Austria too, when the Nazi government annexed it in 1938. His passport and rights were withdrawn by the government in retaliation, so Tauber applied to become a British citizen. He received his papers in 1940, and spent the rest of the Second World War in Britain. He never returned to Austria.
When the Vienna State Opera came to Covent Garden in September 1947, for the first time since before the war, Tauber was asked to perform with them. Though he sang beautifully that night, it was to be his last ever performance. He was suffering from lung cancer, and died three months later.