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James King

This page lists known recordings of American tenor James King (1925-2005). King had a strong powerful voice and he specialised in the taxing heldentenor roles of Strauss and Wagner. From the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s he was pre-eminent as Bacchus in Ariadne aux Naxos, the Emperor in Die Frau Ohne Schatten, and as Siegmund in Die Walkure. He was also a notable Walther, Lohengrin, Parsifal, Florestan and Otello. While he sang all over the world, he achieved greatest fame in Europe (particularly in Germany and Austria), a notable achievement for an American singer. King was already in his 40s when his career reached its height, but continued singing smaller roles (such as Aegisth in Elektra) well into his 60s. His recorded legacy is dominated by live performances, some of which were recorded professionally and issued commercially, but others are radio broadcasts and in-house recordings of varying quality.

Live Recordings


August 3, Salzburg Iphigenie en Aulide (Orfeo)


October 29 Tokyo Fidelio (video)

Berlin Macbeth


May 21-25 Vienna Daphne (DG)

June Berlin Die Zauberflote (DG) 1st man

June 9, Berlin Die Frau Ohne Schatten (radio broadcast)

August 11, Salzburg Elektra

December 16 Munich (Bavarian TV) Daphne


August 14 Bayreuth Die Walkure (radio broadcast)

November 7 Munich Sunday Concert (stereo radio broadcast) with Dvorakova and Weiner. King sings arias and duets from Fidelio, Lohengrin, and Ariadne


January 22 Met Fidelio (radio broadcast)

February 11 Vienna Carmen (Orfeo)

July 27, Bayreuth Die Walkure (radio broadcast)

October 25, Met Frau ohne Schatten (in house)

November 20 Met Frau ohne Schatten (in house)

November 24 Met Elektra (in house)

December 10 Met Elektra (radio broadcast)

December 17 Met Frau ohne Schatten (radio broadcast)


June 17 London Frau ohne Schatten (stereo radio broadcast)

July 23 Bayreuth Walkure (Phillips)

July 30 Bayreuth Lohengrin (radio broadcast)

August 5, Bayreuth Parsifal (radio broadcast)

November 29 Vienna Ariadne aux Naxos


February 27, Met Lohengrin (in house)

March 19 London Der Fliegende Hollander (RFH Concert radio broadcast)

May 23, Carnegie Hall Concert Walkure Act 1

July 24 Munich Concert

July 26 Bayreuth Lohengrin

July 30 Bayreuth Die Walkure

August 12 Salzburg Fidelio

November 21, Stockholm Das Lied von der Erde (in house)

December 1, Munich concert (extracts from Otello)


February 22, Met Turandot (in house)

March 8, Met Frau ohne Schatten (radio broadcast)

July 26 Bayreuth Parsifal (radio broadcast)

July 29 Bayreuth Die Walkure (radio broadcast)

August 13 Salzburg Fidelio (stereo radio broadcast)

Sept/Oct San Francisco Fidelio


March 28, Met Ariadne auf Naxos (radio broadcast)

April 11 Munich Concert

April 12, Munich Concert with Gwyneth Jones

June 3 Vienna Tosca

June 9, Vienna Fidelio (radio)

June Vienna Fidelio (Decca video)

July 24 Bayreuth Parsifal (DG)

December 14 Vienna Leonore


February 25 Berlin Manon Lescaut

June 1, Colon, Samson et Dalila

June 18 Colon Aida (radio broadcast)

October 1, San Francisco Meistersinger (stereo radio broadcast)

October 29, San Francisco Trovatore


January 15, Met Meistersinger (radio broadcast)

April 4 Boston Concert Tristan und Isolde (act 2)

May 28 Vienna Der Freischutz

July 27 Bayreuth Die Walkure (radio broadcast in stereo)

August 4 Bayreuth Parsifal (radio broadcast)


February 12, Vienna Turandot (in house)

March 18 Munich Concert

March 27 Rome Der Freischutz


January 30 Paris Trovatore

June 21, Vienna Otello

August 16 Salzburg Frau ohne Schatten (stereo broadcast)

November 15 San Francisco Otello

December 10, La Scala Fidelio


April 3, Met Tosca (in house)

June 11 London Frau ohne Schatten (Acts 1 & 2)

June 21 London Frau ohne Schatten (Act 3)

July 21 Munich Parsifal (act 1 incomplete - mono in house recording)

July Salzburg Die Frau Ohne Schatten (radio broadcast in stereo)

July 29 Bayreuth Die Walkure (radio broadcast in stereo)

October 21 Vienna Meistersinger


April 5, London Frau ohne Schatten

May 15 Vienna Carmen

September 30, Vienna Ariadne auf Naxos

October 3 Munich Frau Ohne Schatten

November 20, Vienna Ariadne auf Naxos

Vienna Aida


February 19, Met Die Walkure (radio broadcast)

March 13 Vienna Die Walkure

March 27 Munich Concert

April 7 Munich Parsifal (in house - stereo audience recording)

April 10 Munich Parsifal (in house - stereo in house recording - from the lighting bridge?)

July Tanglewood Tristan und Isolde (extracts)

October 13 Vienna Frau ohne Schatten (in house)

October 23 Vienna Frau ohne Schatten (in house)

October 27 Vienna Frau ohne Schatten (in house)

October 23/27 Vienna Frau ohne Schatten (DG composite)


January 30, Munich Fidelio

April 1 Met Frau ohne Schatten (radio broadcast in stereo)

November 4 Marseille Die Walkure


January 21, Munich, Sunday concert with Leonie Rysanek

February 20, Vienna Tosca

March 29 Vienna Frau ohne Schatten

May 26 Prague Carmen

Juily 27 Vienna, Karl Bohm 85th Birthday concert

July 28 Vienna Ariadne auf Naxos

August 28 Ossiach Liederabend (radio broadcast in stereo)

November 6 Vienna Pagliacci

November 25, Munich Sunday Concert


January 8 Hamburg Frau ohne Schatten

April 13 Vienna Frau ohne Schatten (in house)

April 17 Vienna Tosca (Act 1)

April 22 Vienna Ariadne auf Naxos

June 15 Stuttgart Meistersinger (in house stereo)

August Salzburg Ariadne auf Naxos

September 25, San Francisco Die Frau Ohne Schatten (radio broadcast in stereo)

November 28 San Francisco I Pagliacci


June Vienna Wozzeck

July 14 Munich Frau ohne Schatten

September Athens, Die Walkure (act 1)

October Buenos Aires Die Walkure

November San Francisco Die Walkure


May 16 Vienna Palestrina

July 1 Berlin Lohengrin (in house)

August 6, Salzburg Ariadne auf Naxos


August 17, Salzburg Fidelio

August Berlin Die Tote Stadt


June 11, Vienna Frau ohne schatten

July 30, Munich Ariadne aux Naxos

November 21, Munich Frau Ohne Schatten

Berlin Die Tote Stadt


May 21 Vienna (concert) Siegfried (act 3)

July 27 Salzburg Die Zauberflote (1st man)

August 11, Vienna Il ritorno d’Ulisse

December 23 Vienna Die Tote Stadt


February 2 Paris Die Walkure


January 4 Hamburg Lohengrin

September 12 San Francisco Salome


November 25 Chicago Salome

Metropolitan Opera Ariande auf Naxos (DG video)


Vienna Elektra (Pioneer video)

Berlin Notre Dame (Capriccio studio)


January 6, Met Wozzeck (radio broadcast)

June 9 Netherlands Frau Ohne Schatten


March 3 Carnegie Hall Elektra

December 7, San Francisco Elektra

Orange Festival Elektra (video)


April 18, Met Elektra (radio broadcast)


January 22, Met Elektra (radio broadcast)


December 16, Valencia Elektra


April 27 Met James Levine Gala - Meistersinger Act 3 finale (radio broadcast)


November 15 Bloomington Indiana, Walkure Act 1 Sc 2 and 3

Studio Recordings

July 10, 11, & 31, Aug 1-4, 1964 – Bamberg, Der Fliegende Hollander (DG studio extracts)

1965 Vienna Die Walkure (Decca)

1966 Rome Tosca (Decca extracts)

1966 Beethoven 9 (Decca)

1966 Das Lied von der erde with Fischer-Dieskau (Decca)

1967 Songs of Schubert and Strauss LP RCA LSC-2975 with William Hughes, piano

1967 Operatic Aria LP Decca 0 LXT6326 0 SXL6326, Vienna Opera Orchestra c. Dietfried Bernet.

June 26 - July 5 1968 Dresden, Ariadne aux Naxos (EMI)

1968 Salome (RCA)

1969 Dresden Fidelio (DG)

1970 James King in Operetta and Song LP London OS 26153 Berlin Symphony Orchestra c.Hans Carste

1971 April Munich Lohengrin (DG)

1972 Munich Madam Butterfly (Eurodisc)

1973 Munich Samson et Dalila (RCA)

1975 Das Lied von der erde with Janet Baker (Phillips)

1977 Munich Mathis der Maler (EMI)

1980 Munich Parsifal (Arts & Archives)

Dec 1982 & July 1983 London Gotterdammerung (Lodia extracts)

Opera Recital LP, EMI Odeon 1C 063-01 850, Bavarian Radio Symphony c. Kurt Eichhorn

Turandot Arias 45rpm, Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, c. Heinrich Hollreiser