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Hellmuth Christian Wolff (23 May 1906 in Zürich – 1 July 1988 in Leipzig) was a German composer and musicologist. As a young man he studied music in Berlin and Kiel. He later taught music in Leipzig from 1954-1971. He is particularly remembered for his numerous publications on the history of opera and in particular the subject of baroque opera. Also of interest, are his writings on the visual aspects of music which led him to study iconography, including a pictorial history of opera.[1]

Wolff’s reputation rests on his many publications rather than on his compositions which were rarely performed. He composed four operas: Der kleine und der grosse Klaus (1931, revised 1940), Die törichten Wünsche (1943), Der Tod des Orpheus (1947), and Ich lass' mich scheiden (1950).[2] He also wrote a ballet and several orchestral and chamber works. He also became known as a painter later in life.


  • Horst Seeger/Andrew Clark. The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, edited by Stanley Sadie (1992). ISBN 0-333-73432-7 and ISBN 1-56159-228-5