Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Mar 29, 2014

Olga Guerrieri (Soprano)

She had a short career. Probably she made her debut in 1920 at the Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires in Wagner’s ‘’Walkure’’.

Chronology of some appearances

1922 Como Teatro Sociale Carmen (Micaela)
1923 Parma Politeama Reinach Pagliacci (Nedda)
1924 Casale Monferrato Politeama Traviata (Violetta)
1925 Livorno Teatro Goldoni Boheme (Mimì)
1926 Bergamo Teatro Nuovo  Tosca (Tosca)
1927 Malta Teatro Reale Manon Lescaut (Manon)
1930 Palermo Teatro Massimo Mefistofele (Margherita)


Fonotipia, Milano 1924-02-11
Falstaff (Verdi): Alfin t'ho colto... Quand'ero paggio with Mariano Stabile 74916 XXPh5389

Fonotipia, Milano 1924-02-16
Loreley (Catalani): Infranto ogni altro vincolo with Salvatore Pollicino 152585 Pho5400

Valentino Cergoli (Tenor)

Probably he appeared at the italian provincial opera houses


Forza del destino (Verdi): Solenne in quest'ora  3454

Mar 26, 2014

Giuseppe Bergonzini (Tenor)

He made his debut as comprimario. Probably it was happened in 1902 at the Teatro Municipale in Reggio Emilia, where he sang the role of Gaston in Verdi’s ‘’Traviata’’. In 1905 he made his real debut at the Teatro Sociale at Oderzo as Duke in Verdi’s ‘’Rigoletto’’.

Chronology of some appearances

1902 Reggio Emilia Teatro Municipale Traviata (Gastone)
1905 Palermo  Teatro Bellini    Cabrera di T.Dupont (Joaquim)
1907 Modena  Teatro Storchi  Rigoletto (Duca)
1909 Vercelli   Politeama  Facchinetti Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1911 Sanremo Teatro del Casinò Tosca (Cavaradossi)
1913 Noto Teatro Garibaldi Cavalleria Rusticana (Turiddu)
1914 Pisa Politeama Puritani (Arturo)


Odeon Fonotipia 1908-01-01

Gioconda (Ponchielli): Cielo e mar! 37781 xM 1285

Favorita (Donizetti): E fia vero? with Alfredo Brondi 37776 xM 1286

Mario Franzini (Bass/Baritone)

Probably in the early 1930’s he sang at the Teatro alla Scala. In 1942 at the the Grand Théâtre de Tours he appeared in  ‘’Faust’’ and ‘’Tosca’’. In 1943 he sang at the  Opéra de Monté-Carlo in Bizet’s ‘’Carmen’’. In 1945 he performed at the Opera-Comique in Gounod’s ‘’Faust’’. Two years later at the same opera house he appeared in Puccini’s ‘’Boheme’’ as Colline. He made two records for 

Chronology of some appearances

1942 Grand Théâtre de Tours Faust (Valentin) and Tosca (Scarpia)
1943 Monté-Carlo Opera House Carmen (-)
1945 Paris Opera-Comique Faust (Faust)
1947 Paris Opera-Comique Boheme (Colline)


Pathé, Paris 1937-09-28
Ernani (Verdi): Malheureux tant d'innocence PAT97 CPTX341

Mar 24, 2014

Hermann Weil (Baritone) (Mühlburg 1876 – New York 1949)

First he wanted to become an elementary school teacher, but then studied music science, theory and directing at the conservatoire of Karlsruhe under Felix Mottl; he received his vocal education by Adolf  Dippel in Frankfurt a. M. In 1901 he made his debut at the Municipal Theatre of Freiburg in the part of Wolfram in Wagner’s ‘’Tannhäuser’’. From Freiburg he joined in 1904 to the Stuttgart Court Opera. Here he performed with great success till 1933. He sang in Stuttgart among other things in the premiere of the opera ‘’Princess Brambilla’’ of Walter Braunfels (25. 3. 1909) and in the premières of the operas ‘’Salome’’ (1905 as Jochanaan) and ‘’Elektra’’ (as an Orest) of Richard Strauss and "Der arme Heinrich"  of Hans Pitzner. In 1909 he made guest appearances inAmsterdam appearing as Sebastiano in  "Tiefland" of E. d'Albert, and as Kurwenal in ‘’'Tristan und Isolde’’ (1911). In the 1912-14 seasons he sang at the Boston Opera House. Since 1911 he appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In 1913 he took over at the Metropolitan Opera in the première of the Faninal’s "Rosenkavaliers". After the USA had entered into the First World War, he was interned from 1917-19 in America as a German. In 1919 he sang as a memeber of opera troupe put together from German singers at the Lexington Theatre in New York. At the Bayreuth Festival he was a celebrated interpreter of Wagner's operas; here in the season 1911-12 he appeared in ‘’Parsifal’’, "Meistersingern", "Götterdämmerung" and from 1924 to 1925 the part of Hans Sachs in "Meistersingern". In the 1920-23 seasons he was active at the Vienna State Opera. From 1923 to 1924 with the German Opera Company he went to sing in USA. In 1939 he forced to leave Germany and then lived in New York as a singing teacher. His stage repertoire contained more than hundred roles and culminated in the Wagner's parts of Hans Sachs and the Kurwenal in ‘’Tristan und Isolde’’.

Chronology of some appearances

1901 Freiburg Municipal Theatre Tannhäuser (Wolfram)
1904-1933 Stuttgart Court Opera
1909 Amsterdam Opera House
1911 Amsterdam Opera House
1912-1914 Boston Opera House
1911 New York Metropolitan Opera
1919 New York Lexington Theatre


Gramophone, Stuttgart 1908
Africaine (Meyerbeer): Dir, o Königin 4-42166 5177r

OdeonBerlin 1910?
Traviata (Verdi): Hat dein heimatliches Land 99551 xB4946
Carmen (Bizet): Euren Toast 99552 xB4947
Faust (Gounod): Da ich nun verlassen soll 99553 xB4952
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Erbarm' dich mein with Rains, Vogelstrom, Kirchhoff, Schoeffel, Neudahm, Armster and chorus 80053 xxB4938
Traviata (Verdi): Hin ist die Hoffnung with Bosetti 99653 xB5141
Traviata (Verdi): Weine, o weine, armes Kind with Bosetti 99654 xB5142
Traviata (Verdi): Fräulein Valery...Gott schenkte... with  Bosetti 76097 xxB5143
Traviata (Verdi): Wenn mit der Zeit with Bosetti 76098 xxB5144
Rigoletto (Verdi): Rede! Sind wir allein? with Bosetti 76099 xxB5153
Rigoletto (Verdi): Hab' ich erst vollbracht with Bosetti 76127 xxB5154

Gramophone, Stuttgart 1911-09-23
Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner): Wie duftet doch der Flieder 042325 457ak
Faust (Gounod): Valentins Gebet 042326 3al
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Prolog 042359 4al

ColumbiaNew York 1916/1917
Die beiden Grenadiere (Schumann) A5864 59430

VoxBerlin 1922?
Aus der Jugendzeit (Radecke) 3078
Im Walde (Wallbach) 3079
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Als du in kühnem Sange 03082
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Wohl wußt' ich hier sie im Gebet zu finden 03082

Joseph E. Schwarz (Baritone)

Probably he was from Czechy. his career began in 1916 at the Opera House of Reichenberg (Liberec), where he was a member of choir, however, soon he started to appear as comprimario. In  the 1917-18 season he was a soloist of the Opera House in Troppau (Opava). In  the 1918-20 seasons he appeared at the Municipal Theatre of Olmütz (Olomouc). From 1920-22 seasons he sang at the German Theatre in Brünn (Brno) and from 1922-25 at  the German Theatre in Prague. During the 1925-27 seasons he was engaged by the Berlin State Opera, however, he returned again to Prague where he was engaged in the 1927-29 seasons again by the German Theatre. From 1929-30 he appeared as a guest at the Opera House of Teplitz-Schönau, in  the 1930-31 season he was a member of the Opera House in Graz. During the following years he was active again as a guest at Prague and sang from 1935-38 at the German Theatre. On 15. 6. 1938 he appeared at this Opera House in the premiere of the opera ‘’Karl V’’ of  E. Kr|venek. In  the 1939-43 seasons he appeared  at the Municipal Theatre of Dortmund and in 1944 as a guest he sang at the Municipal Theatre of Posen (Poznan). His stage career was probably finished with this appearance. He gave guest performances at the Vienna State Opera (1935, 1938), at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels (1935) and at the Vienna Volksoper (1941 and 1942 among other things as Hans Sachs). He had a big career also as a concert and oratorio singer. He had a name almost identical to that of the great baritone, Josef Schwarz (1881-1926).

Chronology of some appearances

1916 Reichenberg Opera House
1917-1918  Troppau Opera House 
1918-1920  Olmütz Municipal Theatre
1920-1922 Brünn German Theatre
1922-1925 Prague German Theatre  
1925-1927 Berlin State Opera


Tri-Ergon, Berlin 1930?
Otello (Verdi): Credo TE10032 3568m1

Lazar S. Samoiloff (baritone) (Kiev 1877 – San Francisco ?)

His real name was Lazar Samoilovich Kvasha. He studied singing under Camillo Everardi at Kiev, then at the Vienna Konservatorium. Later he additionaly received vocal education in Italy by Augusto Brogi. In 1901 he made his debut at the Opera House of Kharkov, where he sang till 1903. Then he appeared at the opera houses of OdessaKiev and Italy. Then he lived in Paris, but by advice of Feodor Chaliapin went to live in New York and worked there as a vocal pedagogue. Later in San Francisco Samoiloff opened private singing School.

Chronology of some appearances

1901-1903  Kharkov Opera House


ZonophoneBerlin 1907
Demon (Rubinstein): I am he whose voice you heard  X-62670 3562r

Frantz Rabinowitz (Baritone) (Copenhagen, Denmark 1918 – Sweden 1948)

When he was 16, he decided he wanted to be a singer, and began studies with the baritone, Holger Bruusgaard. He enlisted in the Danish army at 18; after discharge in 1938, he went to Italyto study with Giuseppina Finzi-Magrini and stayed with her for more than a year. While in Italy, he hoped to be able to perform, but his Jewish name didn't  make things easier, so he used the name Francesco Dammarchi, and although he was invited to sing by an Italian touring company that was going to Nice, this fell through because of the increasingly bad relations between Italy and France, and a recording venture evaporated because war broke out. Rabinowitz returned to Denmark in 1939 and finally got to make a few recordings. He was hoping to get a contract with the Royal Opera, but although he was accepted for a debut performance after an audition, this never happened. Finally, out of despair, his father paid for a concert with the Copenhagen Philharmonic, which had to be postponed because Frantz caught the flu, but did take place on April 1, 1940, and was a huge success. Eight days later German troops occupied Denmark, and it did not portend a hopeful future for a young Jewish singer. However, Frantz finally got his break, being invited to sing Marcello (42 performances in all) with a troupe touring Denmark with ‘’La Boheme’’. Based on his success in this, he finally was invited to sing at the Royal Opera, and made his debut there on April 17, 1941, again as Marcello, but it was another year before he got another such opportunity. He had to satisfy himself with giving a few more concerts. In October, 1943, he fled to Sweden to escape the Nazi roundup of Danish Jews to be sent to concentration camps. He gave a few concerts there, and was well received, but in March, 1944 he joined the Danish Brigade in Swedenand was with them when they returned to Denmark in 1945. His concert career began picking up, and he even got to sing two more performances at the Royal Opera, but Frantz's unlucky star still hovered over his head. Based on a screen test he took for a Hollywood film with Deanna Durbin, he came to the U.S. in 1946, but ended up sweeping floors to make a living. However, toward the end of 1946, Rabinowitz began to get concert engagements, using the name Frank Wennerholm. It was even thought that he had a chance for an engagement by the Met, but nothing ever came of this either. After a year in the U.S., Frantz had still not sung in an American opera house, except for some concert performances as Scarpia in Tosca at Carnegie Hall. He did sing Amonasro in Aida at a semi-staged performance in Indianapolis, but otherwise he sang concerts only in minor cities at music schools, colleges, music clubs and with amateur orchestras. Returning to Denmarkin 1948, he was again foiled in his hope to sing at the Royal Opera, which had no time to hold rehearsals with a guest. He did, however, give a concert at the Tivoli Concert Hall in July, 1948, but this was to be his last. While visiting in Sweden, he became ill and died at the age of 30 on Aug. 28, 1948 from complications following an appendicitis operation. Rabinowitz's unlucky star was with him until the end.

Chronology of appearance

1941 Denmark  Royal Opera Boheme (Marcello)


Polyphon, København 1941-01-20
Saa lad Sangen i Salene bruse (Heise) XS43334 1562hdk

Polyphon, København 1941-10-24
Andrea Chénier (Giordano): Nemico della patria XS50897 1754hdk
Torna a Surriento (de Curtis) XS50898 1755hdk

Melitta Heim (Soprano) (Vienna 1888 – London 1950)

She studied singing under Johannes Ress in Vienna and made her stage debut in 1909 at the Municipal Theatre of Graz as Gilda in ‘’Rigoletto’’. In 1911, after a successful guest performance in ‘’Traviata’’, she was engaged by the Frankfurt a. M., to which she belonged till 1916. Several times she made guest appearances at the Vienna Court Opera as well as in 1912 and 1914 as Queen of the Night in ‘’The Magic flute’’ at the Drury Lane Theatre in London. In the 1917-22 season she had at the Vienna State Opera a huge success. She suffered a nervous breakdown and forced to retire from  the stage in 1922. She appeared then at the concert hall. In 1938 together with her mother she went to England. In London she was active as a singing teacher.

Chronology of some appearances

1909 Graz Municipal Theatre
1911-1916 Frankfurt a. M. Opera House
1912 London Drury Lane Theatre The Magic flute (Queen of the Night)
1914 London Drury Lane Theatre The Magic flute (Queen of the Night)
1917-1922 Vienna State Opera


Edison 4-min cylinders, Berlin 1911?
Frühlingsstimmen (Strauss) BA 28149

Edison, London
Rigoletto (Verdi): Caro nome 703-B Unpubl.

OdeonBerlin 1913
Traviata (Verdi): s' ist seltsam 76356 xxB5830
Traviata (Verdi): O Torheit 76357 xxB5831
Lakme (Delibes): Glöckchen-Arie 76360 xxB5834
Mignon (Thomas): Polonaise 76463 xxB6043

OdeonBerlin 1914
Contes d'Hoffmann (Offenbach): Puppenarie 76579 xxB6189
Martha (Flotow): Duett with Robert Hutt 80108 xxB6201
Martha (Flotow): Letzte Rose with Robert Hutt 80109 xxB6202
Peer Gynt (Grieg): Solveigs Lied 76580 xxB6205

Henriette Gottlieb (Soprano) (Berlin 1884 - Łódź Ghetto 1942)

She made her debut in Plauen in 1909 and came to the Berlin Municipal Opera in 1913, remaining there until 1934. She was a particularly noted Wagnerian interpreter, and sang at the Bayreuth Festivals (1927-30). She was also a guest in Amsterdam in 1928, and had one of her greatest successes in 1930 at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris, singing Brünnhilde in the Ring cycle. It was at this time our Wagner excerpt with her was recorded. Since she was Jewish, she could not appear in Germany after 1934, although she continued to live in Berlin. She was later seized by the Nazis and put into a concentration camp, where she died in 1943.

Chronology of some appearances

1909 Plauen Opera House
1913-1934 Berlin Municipal Opera
1927-30 Bayreuth Festival
1930 Paris Theatre des Champs-Elysees


Gramophone, Berlin 1913-10-17
Juive (Halévy): Halt' ein! with  Arensen & Hansen 044246 1207s
Juive (Halévy): Hör', o Gott uns'rer Väter with Arensen & chorus 044245 1210s

Pathé, Paris 1929?
Walküre (Wagner): Nun zäume dein Ross! with  Weber 7200

HMV, Berlin 1932-12-13
Fidelio (Beethoven): Mir ist so wunderbar with Berger, Wittrisch and Domgraf-Fassbaender DB4417 62-4734
Fidelio (Beethoven): Er sterbe, doch er soll erst wissen with  Ludwig, Grossmann and Domgraf-Fassbaender DB4417 62-4735

Elise Elizza (Soprano) (Wien 1870 – Wien 1926)

Her real name was Elisabeth Letztergroschen. She studied singing under Adolf Limley in Vienna, whom she married  later. Her teacher in Vienna was Adolf Limley, who became her husband. She sang first in operetta, then joined the opera company at Olomouc in 1894. The following year she made her debut, as Inès in ‘’L'Africaine’’ at the Vienna Staatsoper, where she remained as a valued and versatile member of the company until 1919. In 1904 she made guest appearances at the German Theatre of Prague and in Brünn (1912). Beside her work on the stage she was a respected concert singer; in 1901 she appeared in the premiere of the ‘’Das klagende Lied’’ of Gustav Mahler.Her roles there ranged from the Queen of Night to Brünnhilde, though she was probably happiest in the lyric-coloratura repertory, such as Violetta and Marguerite de Valois in ‘’Les Huguenots’’. She later taught in Vienna, where Lotte Lehmann was among her pupils. A prolific early recording artist, she reveals on records a voice of exceptional beauty with a highly accomplished technique and a sensitive style.

Chronology of some appearances

1894-1919 Vienna Staatsoper Debut L'Africaine (Ines)
1904 Prague German Theatre
1912 Brünn Opera House


G&T, Wien 1903-04/06
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Duett with Slezak 044009 37Hp

Pathé-Artistical cylinders & discs, Wien 1905-09/10
Contes d'Hoffmann (Offenbach): Puppenlied 19279

G&T, Wien 1906-06
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): Vogellied 43802 4202L

G&T, Wien 1907-11/12
Norma (Bellini): Sieh', o Norma, hab' Erbarmen with Forst 2-44326 11779u