The Otto Edelmann Society

A monumental voice or simply a monumental moment?  The twenty-year-old Otto Edelmann debuted as a bass-baritone in Germany in 1937 and continued his singing career until he was called for duty just three years later.  Surviving conditions as a Russian prisoner of war that few ever mentioned thereafter, Edelmann made his way home to a devastated Austria and used his voice to uplift those living in the newly formed Second Austrian Republic.  He soon became a leading voice in the ensemble of the Vienna State Opera, where he sang four hundred thirty performances, thirty-six roles and thirty operas and represented Austria a star opera singer in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Milan and New York.  When he took his final bow, he dedicated the rest of his life to training young singers at what is today the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna and giving masterclasses.  It only make sense that, since 2006, the Otto Edelmann Society was founded in Vienna in his honor.  The Society keeps the memory of the late Kammersänger alive by producing concerts that allow young singers to introduce themselves to critical audiences and network with established singers, by hosting discussion rounds about critical issues concerning the classical music industry and by organizing the flagship International Otto Edelmann Singing Competition together with the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna, his alma mater.  Let’s speak to Sylvia Saavedra-Edelmann, Managing Director of the Otto Edelmann Society and get to know what happens when a monumental voice meets a monumental moment! 

(Photo credit: Diego Delso,, License CC-BY-SA)

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