Franz Crass

Franz Crass ( born March 9, 1928 in Wipperfuerth, Rhine Province; † June 23, 2012 in Rüsselsheim, Hesse ) was a German opera singer ( bass).


Crass ' home is in Krommenohl, formerly community Klüppelberg, now the town Marie Heath. He spent several years of his childhood. In the 1930s, his family moved to Silesia to Legnica. At the age of eleven he was already there, his first engagement as a second boy in the opera The Magic Flute. A few weeks before the end of the Second World War, he fell into American captivity and could not be used to Volkssturm. In 1945 he returned to Krommenohl.

Crass studied singing, first in Cologne with Margarethe spots. He was a student of Gerda Heuer in Wiesbaden and at the Musikhochschule in Cologne Clemens Glettenberg. He made his debut in 1954 at the Stadttheater Krefeld as king in the opera Aida. 1956-1962 he sang at the Opera House Hannover, 1962-1964 at the Cologne Opera. From 1964, he was only guest performances.

He sang 1963-1974 regularly at the Vienna State Opera; there he joined, among others, as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Hermit in Der Freischütz and Rocco in Fidelio; He also took over several Wagner roles ( Landgraf in Tannhäuser, King Marke in Tristan und Isolde, Fasolt in Das Rheingold, Gurnemanz in Parsifal ). He sang again at La Scala: 1960 as commander and as Don Fernando in Fidelio; 1963 as Fasolt; 1965 as Telramund in Lohengrin; 1972 as Orest in Elektra.

Other guest performances he gave at the Covent Garden Opera in London (1966 with the ensemble of the Hamburg State Opera as Barak in Die Frau ohne Schatten ) at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires ( 1964 as King Henry in Lohengrin; 1966 as Rocco, in 1968 and 1971 as King brand as well as Veit Pogner in the Mastersingers of Nuremberg, and in 1969 as Amfortas in Parsifal ) at the Grand Théâtre de Genève (1965 in the title role of the opera the Flying Dutchman in 1973 as Landgraf, 1979 as Don Fernando ), at the Staatsoper Berlin ( 1965 as Sarastro and Rocco ), at the Opera House by Nancy ( 1972 as King Marke ), at the Lyric Opera in Chicago ( 1975 as Rocco ) and at the Bayreuth Festival.

As a song interpreter Crass occurred together with the pianist Sebastian Peschko.

1981 forced him hearing damage to end his career. He joined in 1981 at the Frankfurt Opera farewell to the stage, as a hermit in the opera Der Freischütz. Since the late 1970s, signs of increasing deafness had increasingly been felt in Crass. Thereafter he devoted himself to singing lessons. Among his pupils was the bassist Lars Woldt.

Franz Crass took over in addition to the classic games of the bass bin and a few selected heroes baritone roles.

Crass was holder of the Bavarian Order of Merit.

End of his life spent Crass in Hochheim am Main in Hesse. Since an accident in May 2011 Crass was bedridden; since the autumn of 2011, he lived in a nursing home in Hochheim ..

Work in Bayreuth

Crass was 1954-1956 member of the choir of the Bayreuth Festival over the years. As a soloist he has performed in Bayreuth in 1959, when King Henry in Lohengrin. From 1959 to 1973 he was a regular cast member of the Bayreuth Festival. In Bayreuth Crass singing mainly Wagnerian roles in the serious bass - bin; However, he took over as stand-ins, there also the heroic baritone role of the Flying Dutchman. He sang in Bayreuth in detail the following roles: King Henry (1959, 1962, 1971, 1972 ), Dutch (1960, 1961), Biterolf in Tannhäuser (1961, 1962), Fasolt (1963 ), GURNEMANZ (every year from 1967 to 1973 ) and King Marke (1970).


  • With Rafael Kubelik: Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 8 (as Pater profundus )
  • With Otto Klemperer: The Magic Flute ( as speaker )
  • With Rafael Kubelik: The Mastersingers of Nuremberg (as Veit Pogner )
  • With Karl Böhm: Fidelio ( Rocco )
  • With Pierre Boulez: Parsifal (as GURNEMANZ )
  • With Carlos Kleiber: Der Freischütz ( a hermit )
  • With Karl Böhm: The Magic Flute ( Sarastro )
  • With Karl Richter: Christmas Oratorio
  • With Wolfgang Sawallisch: The Flying Dutchman, 1961
  • The postilion of Lonjumeau, with Gedda, Pütz


  • Portrait of Franz Crass: fono forum 03/ 1962, page 27