Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Feb 10, 2016

Birgit Engell (Soprano) (1882, 18/9, Berlin - 1973, 28/7, København)

She spent her youth in Denmark and was a pupil of Etelka Gerster in Berlin, later she studied singing under Alfredo Cairati in Zurich. In 1907 she made her debut at the  Hoftheater of Wiesbaden (as Gretel in ‘’Hansel and Gretel’’), to which she belonged till 1912. In 1913 she appeared in the Berlin premiere of Richard Strauss’s opera ‘’Ariadne auf Naxos’’. At the Royal Opera in Copenhagen she gave guest performances till 1937. Her repertoire included Cherubino in ‘’Figaros Hochzeit’’, Gretchen in ‘’Wildschützof’’, Sophie in ‘’Rosenkavalier’’, Rosina in ‘’Il Barbiere di Siviglia’’, Mimi in ‘’La Bohème’’, Ighino in ‘’Palestrina’’, Anna in ‘’La Dame blanche’’. Since 1920 she devoted herself primarily to the concert stage. Her first concert took place in 1914 in Copenhagen. After the First World War she had a very successful career in the concert hall with appearances in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, England and in the Scandinavian states. Several times she undertook a North America tour. After the Second World War she lived as a pedagogue in Copenhagen. Since 1911 she was married the opera singer and vocal pedagogue Hans Erwin Hey (1877-1943), a son of the famous pedagogue Julius Hey (1838-1909).

Chronology of some appearances

1907-1912 Wiesbaden Hoftheater
1912-1920 Berlin Hofoper
1920-1931 Copenhagen Royal Opera


Gramophone, Berlin 1913-03-31
Ariadne auf Naxos (Strauss): Ach, wir sind es eingewöhnet with von Skilondz & Arndt-Ober 044235 356al

Gramophone, Berlin 1915
Hänsel und Gretel (Humperdinck): Brüderlein, komm' tanz' mit mir with van Endert 3-44126 61846
Hänsel und Gretel (Humperdinck): Suse, liebe Suse with van Endert 3-44127 61846

Gramophone, Berlin 1915-09?
Hänsel und Gretel (Humperdinck): Abendsegen with van Endert 3-44128 61735
Freischütz (Weber): Schelm halt fest with van Endert B45045 14391

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