Johannes Martin Kränzle was born in Augsburg, and is known especially for his intense music-theatre interpretations of complex characters. He is regarded as one of the leading baritones of his generation. Initially, Martin studied violin, direction in music theatre, and thereafter voice with Martin Gründler in Frankfurt. He had a permanent contract of engagement with the opera houses of Dortmund, Hannover and Frankfurt.
Martin is regularly a guest artist at the major opera houses: The Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala in Milan, Royal Opera House in London, National Opera of Paris, Wiener Staatsoper, and at the Teatro Real in Madrid; also in Zurich and Geneva, in Salzburg-, Bregenz-, Glyndebourne- and Luzern Festivals, also in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, San Francisco, Cairo, Spoleto, Tel Aviv, Tiflis and Tokyo.
Martin’s opera repertoire comprises of 130 scores and extends from Handel and Mozart, to Rossini, Verdi, Strauss and Lehar, up to and including Henze and Rihm. ‘ Dionysos’ (UA: Salzburg Festival 2010).
Martin focuses on Mozart and Wagner as much as on the Slavic repertoire of Tschaikowsky, Rimsky- Korsakov, Prokofiev and Janacek. He has created roles such as Wozzeck, Alberich, Amfortas, Beckmesser, Wolfram, Bluebeard, Tomsky, Prus (The Makropulous Affair) Griasnoj (The Tsar’s Bride), Bolkonski (War and Peace), Ford, Sharpless, Alfonso, Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva, Papageno, Eisenstein and Danilo. Martin works with conductors such as Barenboim, Levine, Petrenko, Janowsky, Jurowsky, Luisi, Mallwitz, Mälkki, Metzmacher, Pappano, Runnicles, Shani, Soddy, Thielemann and with the stage directors Loy, Brieger, Tscherniakov, Jones, Kosky, Mouchtar-Samorai, McVickar, and Wieler.
Martin often dedicates his time to the song repertoire, giving Lieder recitals and oratorio performances. For example, he was the baritone in Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem at the Maggio Musicale in Florence (Jeffrey Tate's last concert) and at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam (Bernhard Haitink).
In 1997 his self- composed chamber opera, ‘ The Worm’, was distinguished in a composition competition in Berlin, and the opera was consequently premiered. In addition, his cycle ‘ Songs about love’ composed in 2016 after Brechts love poems, received many performances allover in Europe. His new composition ‘ Mutationes’ was premiered with the Hessian State Orchestra Wiesbaden 2022.
Martin was a prize winner in the international voice competitions of Vercelli ( Viotti), Perpignan and Paris (Placido Domingo). Since winning the first prize in Rio de Janeiro in 1991, he is an honourable guest professor in Natal/Brazil, and also, since 2013, at the Cologne Musikhochschule.
In 2010, Martin was nominated for the German Theatre prize DER FAUST. In 2011 and 2018, he was twice named ‘Singer of the Year’ by the poll of the OPERWELT and he was awarded the Cologne Opera Prize. Since 2014 Martin is a member of the German Academy of the Performing Arts.
In 2015 Martin was diagnosed with an advanced aggressive form of bone marrow disorder MDS, and he underwent a stem cell transplant. His brother Andreas could be his life -saving donor.
With great success, Martin returned to the stage in 2016 in his debut at the Royal Opera House London in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. This year 2017, there followed performances and debuts at the National Opera of Paris (Wozzeck), with the Hamburg Elb Philharmonic (Rhinegold) and with the Bayreuth Festival (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg). In 2019 he made a highly acclaimed role debut as Don Pasquale at Zurich Opera House and he debuted 2020 as Rangoni in Boris Godunov in Zurich. In the corona years 2020/ 2021 he was Don Alfonso at the Salzburg Festival in a benchmark-setting produciton. He sang again Beckmesser in 2021/22. at the Metropolitan Opera New York followed by the Music Teacher (Ariadne auf Naxos) there.
Highlights in the current season include: Alberich in the new "Ring des Nibelungen" at Staatsoper Berlin, Wozzeck at the Wiener Staatsoper, Don Pasquale at Opernhaus Zürich, Eisenstein (Fledermaus) at Bayerische Staatsoper and "Bluebeard's Castle" with the Rotterdam Philharmonic.
|Bartok||Herzog Blaubarts Burg||Blaubart|
|Britten||Death in Venice||Traveller|
|Peter Grimes||Ned Keene|
|Des Mädchens Bruder|
|Dallapiccola||Il prigioniero||Prigioniero *|
|Delius||A village Romeo and Julie||Dark Fiddler (mit Violinenspiel)|
|Donizetti||Don Pasquale||Don Pasquale|
|Haydn||Il mondo della luna||Buonafede*|
|Humperdinck||Hänsel und Gretel||Peter Besenbinder|
|Janacek||Das schlaue Füchslein||Förster|
|Die Sache Makropulos||Prus|
|Aus einem Totenhaus||Schischkov|
|Korngold||Die tote Stadt||Frank|
|Krenek||Jonny spielt auf||Jonny|
|Lehar||Die lustige Witwe||Graf Danilo|
|Lortzing||Zar und Zimmermann||van Bett*|
|Messiaen||Saint-François d’Assise||Saint-François d’Assise*|
|Millöcker||Der Bettelstudent||Oberst Ollendorf*|
|Mozart||Nozze di Figaro||Figaro|
|Don Giovanni||Don Giovanni|
|Così fan tutte||Don Alfonso|
|Offenbach||Orpheus in der Unterwelt||Orpheus|
|Porter||Kiss me Kate||Petrucchio|
|Prokofieff||Liebe zu den drei Orangen||Pantalone|
|Krieg und Frieden||Bolkonski|
|Gianni Schicci||Gianni Schicci*|
|Rossini||Barbiere di Siviglia||Figaro|
|Il turco in Italia||Prosdocimo*|
|L’Italiana in Algeri||Taddeo*|
|Schönberg||Moses und Aaron||Moses|
|Der ferne Klang||Schauspieler*|
|Strauss, J.||Die Fledermaus||Eisenstein|
|Stauss, R.||Ariadne auf Naxos||Musiklehrer|
|Frau ohne Schatten||Barak*|
|Verdi||Simon Boccanegra||Paolo Albiani|
|Wagner||Meistersinger von Nürnberg||Beckmesser|
|* in preparation|