Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Oct 25, 2014

Rosa Olitzka (Mezzo-Soprano) (Berlin 1873 - Chicago 1949)

Her family was of Polish descent. She studied singing under Julius Hey in Berlin and with Désirée Artôt de Padilla in Paris. Already in 1889 she gave in Berlin a concert. She made her debut in 1892 at the Opera House in Brünn (Brno). Then she was engaged by the Court Theatre in Hannover (1892-1893) and in the 1893-1894 season at the Municipal Theatre in Hamburg. In 1894 she made guest appearance at the Court Opera in Dresden. In 1894 she appeared at the Covent Garden, where she sang the role of Urbain in ‘’Gli Ugonotti’’ by G. Meyerbeer. Till 1897 she worked constantly at this opera house, where she also guested again in 1901, 1905 and 1907. In 1894 she took part in an USA tour of the Damrosch Opera Company. In  the 1895-1901 seasons she was a member of the Metropolitan Opera in New York (beginning part: Siebel in ‘’Faust’’ of C. Gounod). At the Metropolitan Opera she appeared in a huge number of roles, among other things as Fricka, Brangäne in ‘’Tristan und Isolde’’, Ortrud in ‘’Lohengrin’’, Maddalena in ‘’Rigoletto’’, Amneris in ‘’Adia’’, Stéphano in ‘’Roméo et Juliette’’ by C. Gounod and as Lola in ‘’Cavalleria Rusticana’’. In 1898 with great successf she performed at the Court Opera in St. Petersburg. In 1902 she sang th role of  Waltraute at the Théâtre Château d'Eau in Paris in the French première of "Götterdämmerung". This role she repeated later also at the Paris Grand Opéra. In 1902 she made guest appearance at the Teatro Alla Scala as Amneris in ‘’Aida’’. In 1903 she sang at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. Till 1910 she guested primarily at the famous German opera houses and sang also at the Grand Opéra and at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. In  the 1910-1911 season she was engaged by the Chicago Opera, later she sang at the Boston Opera and made guest performances and concerts in Europe like in North America. Then she sat down in Chicago as a pedagogue. Her nephew Walter Olitzki (1899-1949) had a successful career as baritone and sang among other things in the 1939-1947 seasons  at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Chronology of some appearances

Ein Hirtenknabe 12/28/1899 (in Filadelfia)Siébel 2/1/191900, Wellgunde 2/6/191900, Schwertleite 2/8/191900, Zweite Norn 2/15/191900, Floßhilde 2/15/191900, Ein Hirtenknabe 12/27/191900, Fricka 1/10/191901, Waltraute 1/10/191901, Wellgunde 1/24/191901, Grimgerde 1/29/191901, Floßhilde 2/5/191901, Ein Hirtenknabe 2/14/191901, La cieca 12/30/1907, Azucena 1/1/1908 (Filadelfia)


G&T, London 1901-06
Morgenhymne (Henschel) 43766
Ich liebe dich (Grieg) 43776 3994h

Edison 2-min cylinders, Berlin 1907?
Trovatore (Verdi): Lodernde Flammen 15861

Columbia, New York 1911-09
Prophète (Meyerbeer): Ah! mon fils A5340 30838

Columbia, New York 1911-09-18
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Frau Holda kam aus dem Berg hervor 30849 A5340

The Historic Record Society
Lucrezia Borgia (Donizetti): Brindisi HRS 1032-A

1 comment:

  1. Rosa Olitzka was a cousin of my maternal grandfather (born Shimon Chaim Kovarsky of Vilna, later Rabbi Herman Simon of St. Paul, MN). Rosa turned out to be living only a couple of blocks away from my mother, my brother, and me in Chicago in the 1940's, when she was in her 70's, quite thin and diabetic but with a great deal of spirit. She had by then lost her husband, Boris Sinai (a shipbuilder) and had recently retired from teaching. She was happy to be found by us and enjoyed coming to the house for my mother's duck dinners, during which she made many amazing toasts over burgundy wine and entertained us with stories of "the old days." When we moved to Texas in 1946, we saw no more of Rosa but learned she died in Chicago in 1949 and is buried there. She actually left my mother some table linens. Her niece was Geraldine Brooks, an actress. I have never known whether Rosa Olitzka was related to my grandfather through maternal or paternal uncles or aunts. I only know that Rosa and my grandfather were cousins.