Leo Slezak


Leo Slezak was one of the greatest singers ever – in both musical and physical terms.

Almost all his singing was exemplary, and his writing is a great source of joy and wisdom.

Some quotes (from memory):

“Ich nehme keine Rücksicht, ich nehme Fisch.”
Difficult to translate. (Page under construction!) “I don’t take [the other guests/diners] into consideration – I take fish.”

My wife allows everything. Only, I am not permitted to act on this.

At an arduous rehearsal, the conductor had to correct Slezak for the umpteenth time, exclaimed: “Please consult the sheet music!”
Slezak: “Sir, if I could read music, I wouldn’t have to work with you like this.”


More tidbits: tipping tourist guide “ich gehöre dazu” (lie)


As a young singer of limited repertoire, he was nonetheless invited to Bayreuth. When it came to singing for Cosima Wagner, he could only offer “meine Bajazzo Aria”, i.e. Pagliacci – no Wagner!


“If you try to insult humans by calling them ‘dog’, ‘cow’ or other animal names – you fail. Call me ‘pig’ any day. I’ve met all species and…” [as a colleague put it] “chicken are decent people!”

Pic: steffi-line.de


3 books by L.S.

1 completed by his daughter: “Mein Lebensmärchen”

(These 4 to my knowledge never published in English)

…and Walter Slezak’s “Wann geht der nächste Schwan?” also contains stories about his father Leo.

bis auf Weiteres nur Gedächtniszitate!

Special thanks to Kathy for “Gesammelte Werke”. When I finally read it, it was love. Danke auch an Wolfgang und Gerda für “Rückfall” und “Wortbruch”, sowie den Antiquariaten dieser Stadt und ihren Engeln für das überraschende “Lebensmärchen” und “Wann geht der nächste Schwan?”

BH helped pronounce “Slähzak”

Michael Kerr


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