Karl Dönch was born in Gaen, Austria, and died in Vienna. He spent virtually all his career as a member of the Staatsoper in Vienna, graduating from the chorus to smaller rôles, which included Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Melitone in La forza del destino, Faninal in Der Rosenkavalier and Beckmesser in Die Meistersinger. He first sang at the Salzburg Festival in 1951 and later appeared in Berlin and Buenos Aires. Dönch created Leiokritris in Frank Martin's Penelope, St. Just in Dantons Tod (Gottfried von Einem) and sang in premières of Die Zaubertrank and Der Sturm, both by Frank Martin. His recordings include Die Fledermaus (Naxos 8.111036-7).