Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Jun 29, 2016

Ellen Gulbranson (Soprano) (Stockholm 1863, 8/3 – Oslo 1947, 2/1)

                                                               with Nina and Edvard Grieg


Her real name was Ellen Norgren. First she received her education at the Royal Conservatoire in Stockholm by Julius Günther, then went to Paris, where she became a pupil of Mathilde Marchesi de Castrone and Ellen Kenneth. She made her concert debut in 1886 at Stockholm. In 1889 she made her stage debut at the Royal Opera in Stockholm as Amneris in ‘’Aida’’. She became known internationally an excellent interpreter of part in operas of R. Wagner. Already in 1892 she was intended for the Bayreuth Festival, however, only in 1896 she appeared for the first time at Bayreuth. Till 1914 she has appeared regularly at Bayreuth. Since 1890 she was married the Norwegian major Gulbranson and lived near Oslo. In the 1907-1908 season she made guest appearances at the Covent Garden, since 1895 often at the Berlin Court Opera, in 1896 at Vienna and Frankfurt a. M., also in Budapest, St. Petersburg and Copenhagen, but the Bayreuth Festival remained a center of her artistic work. Other appearances: Amsterdam (1899, Brünnhilde in ‘’Walküre’’), the Municipal Theater of Hamburg (1899), Municipal Theater of Bremen (1890), German Theater in Prague (1901), Municipal Theater of Zurich (1906, 1907),  The Court Opera of Munich (1906, 1907, Court Theater in Karlsruhe (1907), Opera House of Cologne (1909) and Municipal Theater of Nuremberg (1910). Her best parts included the Elisabeth in ‘’Tannhäuser’’, Ortrud in ‘’Lohengrin’’, Leonora in ‘’Fidelio’’, Aida and the title role in the opera ‘’Cleopatra’’, which Danish composer August Enna wrote especially for her (1893, Copenhagen Opera). In 1923 she gave in Stockholm her last concert. Already in 1898 she was awarded the Litteris et Artibus medal, one of Sweden's highest honors. In 1910 she became a member of the Music Academy of Stockholm. She been active for a long time in Norway in an educational area. Lit.: F.Elsta: ' Boken om Ellen Gulbranson ' (Oslo, 1950).

Chronology of some appearances

1889 Stockholm Royal Opera
1890 Bremen Municipal Theater
1895 Berlin Court Opera
1899 Hamburg Municipal Theater
1901 Prague German Theater
1896-1914 Bayreuth Festival
1906 Zurich Municipal Theater
1907 Munich Court Opera
1907 Karlsruhe Court Theater
1907-1908 London Covent Garden
1910 Nuremberg Municipal Theater


Pathé, Kristiania 1914-06-12
Om dagen vid mitt arbete (trad) 17215
Ack Wermeland du sköna (trad) 17216
En svane (Grieg) 17227
Vær hilset I damer (Grieg) 17228

Pathé, Kristiania 1914-06-17
Träume (Wagner) 90289
Tannhäuser (Wagner): Dich, teure Halle 90290

Pathé, Kristiania 1916-08-11
Og jeg vil ha mig en hjertenskjær (Grieg) 90380

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