Monday, July 26, 2010


Friedrich Schorr is in the pantheon— universally recognized as the greatest Wagnerian baritone of his age.

Often teamed with dramatic soprano, Kirsten Flagstad, and heldentenor, Lauritz Melchior, Schorr dominated the operatic stages between the wars, singing at the Bayreuth Festival from 1925-1931 and at the Metropolitan Opera for nineteen uninterrupted seasons, from 1924 until his final Siegfried Wanderer there on March 2, 1943. In retirement, Schorr headed the opera department at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford. He died in Farmington, Connecticut in 1953.

Maestro David Katz founded The Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice with the enthusiastic support of Mrs. Virginia Schorr, the singer's widow, herself an emeritus professor of voice at the Hartt School of Music of the University of Hartford, and a longtime member of the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music. Created in part as a memorial, the competition was the vehicle Katz ultimately used to select the casts for productions of professional opera companies he conducted in three states.

Beginning in 1990 and continuing for more than a dozen years, The Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice provided a proving ground for literally hundreds of professional singers from throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the British Isles, who won major roles in fully-staged opera productions and oratorio soloist opportunities under Maestro Katz's baton with opera companies and orchestras in Michigan, Maine and Connecticut.

After a hiatus of several years, the Schorr Prize has returned, now under the auspices of The American Prize competitions. Re-named the Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award, the competition has been restructured to recognize and reward vocalists in art song as well as in opera through the evaluation of recorded performances.

This website seeks to relive the history of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice—winners, productions, casts, performance history, photos, reviews and more—as it celebrates the continuing legacy of Friedrich and Virginia Schorr.

For more information about The American Prize—Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award, click this link.