Károly Schmidt

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The career of the Hungarian bass Károly Schmidt (1929 – ?) started in Austria, where he had found refuge after having fled there during the Hungarian Counterrevolution.

Schmidt made his stage debut in Sazburg, as a last minute replacment in the role of Alfonso, in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Following, he was engaged at the Vienna State Opera for two years, before becoming a member of the Mozarteum Salzburg, where he is currently engaged as a teacher. According to critic Leo Hoost in Haagsche Courant, September 1960, Schmidt’s interpretations of a Mussorgsky aria and a song by Wolf, were of rare artistic and vocal merit:

‘Schmidt’s timbre is a mild perfection, his diction is winning, and it is nuanced and delves deep into the psychology of the character portrayed.’

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Regarding his discography, there is some confusion over a 1958 live recording of Don Carlo, with the Vienna State opera performing in Salzburg, under Herbert von Karajan, with a certain… Carlo Schmidt in the cast. Given the date, which matches his engagement there, one would imagine Von Karajan’s Conte di Lerma to be the IVC’s Károly. Since Lerma is a tenor role, this seems highly unlikely, unless as a last minute improviso. That Károly sung under the name of Carlo Schmidt is certain, since he does appear as the bass Carlo Schmidt in Ernst Hinreiner’s 1962 recording of Haydn’s Schöpfungsmesse, with Maria Taborsky, and 1959 IVC winner Julia Falk (LP Musica Sacra AMS 35). Other than that, Schmidt recorded an untraceable 1965 Ady Records LP with Hungarian Folk Song settings by Kodály and Bartók, again with Julia Falk.


Haydn: Schöpfungsmesse (bass samples)
Károly Schmidt (bass), Julia Falk (alto), Maria Táborsky (soprano), Erich zur Eck (tenor), Salzburger Rundfunk-und Mozarteum Chr und orchester – Ernst Hinreiner (1961)