Johannes Martin Kränzle, born in Augsburg, first studied violin and music theatre directing, and after studying singing with Martin Gründler in Frankfurt, received his first opera engagements in Dortmund, Hanover and at the Frankfurt Opera. In recent years he has developed into one of the leading cavalier and character baritone players of his generation. Guest productions regularly take him to the major stages such as the Salzburg, Bayreuth and Bregenz Festivals, the Scala in Milan, the Glyndebourne and Lucerne Festivals, the opera houses in London, Paris, Madrid, Zurich and Geneva, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Cologne, San Francisco, Cairo, Spoleto, Sofia, Tel Aviv, Tbilisi and Tokyo. In 2014 he makes his successful debut at the Metropolitan Opera New York. The baritone regularly devotes himself to concert singing, giving recitals and oratorio concerts. In 1997 his composition, the chamber opera Der Wurm, was awarded a prize and premiered at the composition competition in Berlin. Since 2016 his latest composition "Lieder um Liebe" has received many performances at home and abroad.
2010 Nominated for the German Theatre Prize Der Faust, 2011 Cologne Opera Prize, Twice in 2011 and 2018, he becomes "Singer of the Year" in the Opernwelt critics' survey. He has won prizes at the international singing competitions of Vercelli (Viotti), Perpignan and Paris (Placido Domingo). Since winning the Primo Grande Premio in Rio de Janeiro in 1991, he has been an honorary guest professor in Natal/Brazil, and since 2013 guest professor at the Cologne Conservatory of Music
His repertoire comprises over 120 roles and ranges from Handel to Rossini, Verdi, Strauss and Lehar to Henze and Rihm. -Dionysos (premiere: Salzburg Festival 2010). Mozart, Wagner and the Slavic repertoire: Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Prokofieff, Janacek. He collaborates with such diverse conductors as Barenboim, Bolton, Haitink, Levine, Luisi, Pappano, Petrenko, Jordan, Jurowsky and Metzmacher and with directors such as Brieger, Kosky, Kupfer, Loy, Tscherniakov, Jones, Warner and Wieler.
Three solo song CDs with the title "Die Mitternacht zog näher schon" with ballads, "Grenzen der Menschheit" with songs by Schubert and Schumann and just in 2018 "Das ewige Rätsel" with Yiddish songs and works by Mahler, Frank Martin and Ravel have been released, which has been awarded the German Record Critics' Prize; his song accompanist is Hilko Dumno. Numerous DVD´s also document his comprehensive opera works (including Theodora, Cosi fan tutte, Der Ring des Nibelungen, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Dionysos).
He regularly devotes himself to concert singing. He gives recitals at the Schleswig-Holstein-Festival, Goethe-Haus Frankfurt, Expo 2000 Hannover. Schubert's Winterreise is staged in the Kammerspiel Frankfurt. Bach's Christmas Oratorio in Notre Dame Paris, Bach's solo cantatas in the Dormition Abbey Jerusalem and in the
Cathedral of Salvador/Bahia in Brazil, Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen at the Budapest Spring Festival and Britten's War Requiem at the Vilnius Festival. He is 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 2015 he is diagnosed with an aggressive progressive form of the bone marrow disease MDS and has to undergo a stem cell transplantation. His brother Andreas can be his life-saving donor. With great success he returns to the stage in September 2016 in his debut at the Royal Opera House London as Don Alfonso in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. In 2017 he makes his debut as Wozzeck at the Opera National de Paris and is acclaimed as Beckmesser in the new production Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Bayreuth Festival by audience and press alike.
Projects for 2019/20 include Herzog Blaubart´s Burg in New York (NY Philharmonic), Don Pasquale in Zurich, Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus) and Klingsor (Parsifal) in Munich, Saint Francois d´Assise in Hamburg and again Beckmesser in Bayreuth.