How bassoonist Siegfried Jerusalem became one of the leading heldentenors of his generation is one of the great stories in the world of opera. At a recording in Stuttgart of the operetta
"Der Zigeunerbaron," the tenor, Franco Bonisolli, had backed out of the production, and Jerusalem was playing bassoon in the orchestra. With no tenor in sight, his colleagues in the orchestra knew that Jerusalem sang and persuaded him to audition for conductor Kurt Eichhorn. He was impressed with his voice, and Jerusalem learned the part in one week and recorded it. Already in his thirties, Jerusalem started his new musical life as a singer. He studied the part of Lohengrin, and learned it in two weeks, took it to auditions everywhere and was given a contract to sing it in Aachen. Lohengrin was also the vehicle for his début in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Bayreuth, the Metropolitan Opera, and La Scala. He has performed Parsifal at Bayreuth, Vienna, Paris and Hamburg; Tristan at Bayreuth, and Siegmund and Siegfried just about everywhere. These days, Jerusalem has left behind his heldentenor days and now concentrates on the Charaktertenor Wagner roles. Loge in Das Rheingold is one of his specialties.