Andrew Foldi: Singer admired for his Schigolch

András Harry Foldi (Andrew Foldi), opera singer, teacher and director: born Budapest 20 July 1926; married (one son, two daughters); died Federal Way, Washington 21 November 2007

The bass Andrew Foldi was a character singer who was equally well suited stylistically to Italian, French or German opera. Though an excellent comic actor, he could make a convincing villain if necessary. His home opera house was the Lyric, Chicago, but he also sang in San Francisco and Santa Fe, at the Metropolitan, New York and at a number of European opera houses, including Glyndebourne, where he sang one of his best roles, Doctor Bartolo in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. He was also very good as the other Doctor Bartolo, in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, but his finest interpretation of all was undoubtedly Schigolch in Berg's Lulu.

He was born András Harry Foldi in Budapest in 1926. He travelled with his family to the United States in 1939, and settled in Chicago. He made his dbut at the Lyric Opera in 1954 as Biondello in Giannini's The Taming of the Shrew, and for the next five years sang an average of three small roles a season.

Foldi also made visits to Europe: at Zurich in 1962 he sang Zacharias in Meyerbeer's Le Prophte and the following year sang his first Schigolch there. At Santa Fe in 1963 Foldi took on Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, and received great praise for his interpretation; as with all his comic roles, he never overdid the comic business. He found another sympathetic character in Sancho Panza in Massenet's Don Quichotte at San Diego in 1969.

He sang Alberich in Das Rheingold, one of his few really villainous roles, at Naples in 1971, followed by San Diego, then made his Metropolitan dbut as Alberich in 1975.

At Santa Fe in 1978, Foldi sang Schigolch in the first US performance of the three-act version of Lulu (completed by Friedrich Cerha). Two years later he sang Schigolch in the three-act version at the Met. On both these occasions the bass was greatly admired for his performance of the old reprobate, supposedly Lulu's father, but more likely one of her ex-lovers.

Since 1978, Foldi had been teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Music, while still fulfilling two or three singing engagements a year. As a director he staged Nicolai's The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Chicago Opera Theater in 1990.

Elizabeth Forbes

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