Raymond WolanskyU. S. American Baritone (of Ukrainian origin)
Having studied in Cleveland (Ohio) and Boston, Wolansky started his career at the opera houses of Lucerne (Switzerland) and Graz (Austria). In 1958, he became a member of the Stutgart State Opera ensemble, where he debuted as Rigoletto. He soon was to become a prominent figure in the legendary Stuttgart ensemble during the era of director Walter Erich Schäfer and conductor Ferdinand Leitner. At Stuttgart, Wolansky performed in numerous performances together with Fritz Wunderlich, amongst them "La Traviata" and "Don Pasquale". From 1960 on he regularly performed at the Hamburgische Staatsoper. In 1966, he created the titel role in Hermann Reutter's opera "Der Tod des Empedokles" at the Schwetzingen Festival. Wolansky was a guest to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (London), the Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), the Metropolitan Opera (New York), la Scala (Milan), the Vienna State Opera, the Paris Opera and the Bayreuth Festival. In the last years of his life, Wolansky still performed at the Stuttgart Sate Opera in roles such as the old prisoner in Shostakovich's "Lady Macbeth of Mzensk" in 1997. He died at the age of 72 during a recital he gave at an old people's home at Leonberg, where he sang arias from Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess".
"Raymond Wolansky gave an intensity to the characters he played on stage which made them credible and let the audience identify with those men and their fates. Wolansky's was the art of mellow, delicate singing and nuances, even when he portrayed rough, ribald and ranting characters. With his own depth of feeling he gave them the neccessary emotional outline. In his noble way, he always came second to the characters he portrayed. Wolansky regarded his voice as a gift which he had to prove to be worthy of by dealing gently with it, in order to be able to always give everything on stage." (Dieter Kölmel, "Stuttgarter Nachrichten", 1998-12-03)