- Profession: Baritone
- Relation to Mahler: Worked with Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) in the Vienna State Opera
- Correspondence with Mahler:
- Born: 12-02-1869 Stuttgart, Germany
- Died: 24-11-1907 Bayreuth, Bahnhofshotel, Germany. Aged 38.
- Buried: 00-00-0000 Beukenhage cemetery, 's-Gravenzande, the Netherlands. At the side of Lotte Wetterling (-1907). On the east side of the cemetery is a grave containing a number of victims of the SS Berlin ferry disaster in 1907.
The son of the baritone Heinrich Bertram (1825-1903) and the dramatic soprano Marie Bertram-Mayer (1838-1882), he studied singing under his father and made his debut in 1889 at the Stadttheater in Ulm as Eremit in ‘’Freischütz’’. In 1891 he joined to the Stadttheater in Hamburg, the next year he was engaged by the Kroll-Oper in Berlin.
In the 1893-1899 seasons he worked at the Hofoper in Munich. During the R. Wagner's festival in Munich he appeared with great success as Hans Sachs and Wotan. In 1897 he sang in Munich in the premieres of the operas ‘’'Sarema’’ of Alexander Zemlinsky and ‘’Theuerdank’’ of Ludwig Thuille. Two years later he performed in the premiere of S. Wagner’s opera ‘’Der Bärenhäuter’’. In 1899 he was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Here he appeared till 1901 not only in R. Wagner’s operas, but also as Mr. Fluth in ‘’Lustigen Weibern von Windsor’’ by Nicolai and Pizarro in ‘’Fidelio’’.
He made guest appearances in Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston. In 1892 he sang for the first time at the Bayreuth Festival in ‘’Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’’. Since 1901 he was much admired there as Wotan and appeared till 1906 also as Fliegender Holländer, Amfortas in ‘’Parsifal’’ and Wolfram in ‘’Tannhäuser’’. Cosima Wagner appreciated his interpretations, particularly his Wotan.
In 1902 he was engaged by the Hofoper in Vienna, then he made guest appearances in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, sang at the Deutschen Theater in Prague (1901-1905), at the Stadttheater in Zurich (1903-1905), at the Royal Opera in Stockholm (1904) and at the Covent Garden in London (1900, 1903 and 1907). In the 1901-1906 seasons he performed regularly at the Oper in Frankfurt am Main.
His repertoire included Don Giovanni, Papageno in ‘’Zauberflöte’’, Graf in ‘’Figaros Hochzeit’’, Alfonso in ‘’Così fan tutte’’, Kühleborn in ‘’Undine’’ of A. Lortzing, Kurwenal in ‘’Tristan und Isolde’’, Méphistophélès in ‘’Faust’’ by C. Gounod, Klaufe in ‘’Ingwelde’’ of M. von Schillings, Lothario in ‘’Mignon’’ of A. Thomas, Dapertutto in ‘’Hoffmanns Erzählungen’’, Kezal in B. Smetana’s ‘’Verkaufter Braut’’ and Tonio in ‘’Pagliacci’’.
Since 1897 he was married to the soprano Fanny Moran-Olden (1848-1929). She died in 1905 of mental illness.
His second wife, singer Lotte Wetterling (-1907) died 21-02-1907 in a ship disaster on the passenger ferry SS Berlin (Harwich to Hoek van Holland), just outside the port of Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands. The west coast was plagued by a heavy northwest storm in combination with snow. Published by The Times 26-02-1907: "Frau Bertram from Berlin German Opera Company. Buried in 's-Gravenzande".
After her death he began to drink heavily and eventually committed suicide by hanging in Bayreuth. According to his last wish, he was buried in Holland at the side of Lotte Wetterling.
Chronology of some appearances
1889 Ulm Stadttheater
1891 Hamburg Stadttheater
1892 Berlin Kroll-Oper
1892 Bayreuth Festival
1893-1899 Munich Hofoper
1900 London Covent Garden
1899-1901 New York Metropolitan Opera
1901-1906 Frankfurt am Main Oper
1902 Vienna Hofoper
1903 London Covent Garden
1903-1905 Zurich Stadttheater
1904 Stockholm Royal Opera
1901-1905 Prague Deutschen Theater
1901-1906 Bayreuth Festival
1907 London Covent Garden