The Viennese-born tenor Julis Patzak (1898-1974) first studied conducting with Franz Schmidt but then turned to singing, being largely self-taught. After his début in 1926 at Reichenberg in Bohemia as Radames in Verdi’s Aida, he joined the opera at Brno for the 1927-28 season, before moving to the Staatsoper in Munich where he would remain until 1945.
In the latter year he became a member of the Vienna State Opera, where he remained until 1960. His first London appearance was as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte in 1938, returning in 1947 with the Vienna Company when he sang Herod and Florestan. He would appear regularly in the years 1951- 54, again as Florestan, and also as Hoffmann. He appeared at the Salzburg Festival in the post-war years 1948-50, being especially remembered for his memorable Florestan, Herod and the title-role in Pfitzner’s Palestrina. In addition he created roles in Orff’s Der Mond and Pfitzner’s Das Herz. Patzak was a highly intelligent and stylistic interpreter, equally at home in Lieder and oratorio. He is also remembered as the tenor in Kathleen Ferrier’s celebrated Das Lied von der Erde (Naxos 8.1108871).