Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Oct 25, 2018

Hipolito Lazaro (Tenor) (Barcelona, Spain 1887 - Barcelona, Spain 1974)

His voice was discovered during military service. He made his debut at the Teatro Novedades in Barcelona in 1910 without special study of singing. After studies with Ernesto Colli in  Milan, he sang in London and Manchester, England in 1913 under the name Antonio Manuele. He first created a sensation at La Scala when he sang in the world premiere of Mascagni's Parasina (1913). In 1918, Lazaro came to the Metropolitan opera, where he sang for three seasons, performing 8 roles in 34 performances. He appeared as a guest at all of the world's great opera houses, and also created roles in Mascagni's  Piccolo Marat  at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome in 1921, and in Giordano's Cena delle Beffe at La Scala in 1924. During the Spanish Civil War he was for a short time the director of the Teatro Liceo in Barcelona. He gave a farewell concert in New York in 1940, but appeared again at the Teatro Liceo in 1944 and at the Havana Opera in 1950. He had a wide-ranging, timbred, considerably vibrant, extended, bold, resilient even if slightly guttural voice with a brilliant metallic shine, and a passionate approach to singing.

Chronology of some appearances

1910 Valencia Teatro Prencesa Favorita (Fernando)
1911 Milano  Teatro Dal Verme Boheme (Rodolfo)
1912 Il Cairo  Teatro Abbas Boheme (Rodolfo)
1914 Roma  Teatro Costanzi  Boheme (Rodolfo)
1914 Roma  Teatro Costanzi  Favorita (Fernando)
1914 Montevideo  Teatro Solis Boheme (Rodolfo)
1914 Montevideo  Teatro Solis Favorita (Fernando)
1914 Buenos Aires  Teatro Coliseo Fanciulla del West (Dick Johnson)
1914 Buenos Aires  Teatro Coliseo Favorita (Fernando)
1914 Rio de Janeiro Teatro Municipal Fanciulla del West (Dick Johnson)
1914 Rio de Janeiro Teatro Municipal Favorita (Fernando)
1914 Barcelona Teatro Liceo Favorita (Fernando)
1915 Buenos Aires  Teatro Colon Boheme (Rodolfo)
1915 Buenos Aires  Teatro Colon Fanciulla del West (Dick Johnson)
1915 Rio de Janeiro  Teatro Municipal Boheme (Rodolfo)
1915 Porto Alegre  Teatro San Pedro Boheme (Rodolfo)
1915 San PaoloTeatro Municipal Boheme (Rodolfo)
1915 Montevideo Teatro Solis Carmen (Don Jose)
1915 Roma Teatro Costanzi Fanciulla del West (Dick Johnson)
1916 Havana  Teatro Nacional Boheme (Rodolfo)
1916 Havana  Teatro Nacional Fanciulla del West (Dick Johnson
1917 Mexico City  Teatro Arbeu Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
1918 Mexico City  Plaza de Toros Favorita (Fernando)
1920 Lisbon Teatro San Carlo Boheme (Rodolfo)
1920 Havana  Teatro Nacional Boheme Fanciulla del West (Dick Johnson)
1920 Havana  Teatro Nacional Favorita (Fernando)
1920 Mexico City  Teatro Arbeu Fanciulla del West (Dick Johnson)
1920 Mexico City  Teatro Arbeu Favorita (Fernando)
1927 Havana Teatro Nacional Carmen (Don Jose)
1928 Firenze Politeama Fiorentino Carmen (Don Jose)

Oct 22, 2018

Mária Basilides (Contralto) (Ilosvár, Hungary November 11, 1886 – Budapest, Hungary September 26, 1946)

She received her education at the Music Academy of Budapest. In 1911 she made her stage debut at the Volksoper in Budapest; she made her debut in ‘’Quo vadis?’’ by Nouguès. In 1915 she was engaged by the National Opera of Budapest, where she was so popular, that in 1934 she became a lifelong member of this House. Here, on 24. 4. 1932, she sang in the premiere of ‘’Székely fono’’ by Zoltán Kodály. She made successful guest appearances at the Berlin State Opera, at the state operas in Dresden and Munich, at the Opera in Prague and at the Antwerp Opera House. She also toured in Brussels (1929), The Hague (1929) and in Bucharest, gave very successful concerts in Berlin (1927-1929) and London (1930). One of her last stage performances was in Budapest, where she sang the part of an old countess in ‘’Pique Dame’’ by Tchaikovsky (1945). She was considered an outstanding concert singer. In 1937 she sang in a cathedral concert at the Salzburg Festival. She was one of the first singers to support Hungarian folk music, rediscovered by Bela Bartók and Zoltan Kodály, and had a great influence on the entire musical life of her time in Hungary. She made a few records for Parlophon and HMV.

Marion Talley (Soprano) (Nevada, Missouri, USA December 20, 1906 – Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA January 3, 1983)

She was a musical prodigy and she began singing at the age of five. She was only 15, when settled in Kansas City. She showed an amazing talent in piano and violin playing. Then she studied with Frank La Forge in New York, where she also gave her first concerts. After additional education in Europe she made her debut in 1926 - only 19 years old - at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Gilda in "Rigoletto" (opposite Giacomo Lauri-Volpi and Giuseppe de Luca). She had a sensational success. Both the critics and the audience enthusiastically celebrated them. A special train was used from her hometown Kansas City to New York. The following three seasons she remained a member of the Metropolitan Opera. There she sang in 1926 in the premiere of "Le Rossignol" by I. Stravinsky. At the Metropolitan Opera her repertoire included  the Queen of the Night in "Zauberflöte", Lucia di Lammermoor, the Olympia in ‘’Les contes d'Hoffmann’’, the Philine in "Mignon" and the Queen of Shemakan in N. Rimsky-Korsakov ‘s ‘’The Golden Cockerel’’. She appeared at the Metropolitan Opera until 1929. A triumphant North American tour in 1928 marked the peak of her career, which ended as quickly as it had begun. In 1929 she retired to her farm and did not appear again until 1933. In 1933 she appeared as Gilda at the Chicago Opera, but without success. In 1934 she tried Vitaphone sound film, later she became a radio singer. In 1939, encouraged by successes on American radio, she reappeared at the concert hall, but remained without any major successes, whereupon she withdrew from musical life. Then she lived in Hollywood. She was briefly married the pianist and accompanist Michael Raucheisen (1889-1983).

Carl Jöken (Tenor) (Krefeld, Germany 3. November 1893 - Hamburg, Germany 7. April 1971)

First he studied chemistry and from 1914 to 1918 as a soldier took in the First World War. Without proper vocal studies he made his debut in 1918 at the Stadttheater of Krefeld as Manrico in "Trovatore". In the 1920-1923 seasons he was a soloist of the Stadttheater in Freiburg i. Br., Since 1923 he appeared at the Berlin Staatsoper. Here he sang the parts of Pinkerton in "Madame Butterfly" and Eisenstein in "Fledermaus" and also participated in the Berlin premiere of  L. Janáček’s  "Jenufa" (1924). Although he had in his repertoire roles such as Tamino in "Zauberflöte", Rodolfo in "La Bohème" and Cavaradossi in "Tosca", but he gladly took over also buffo roles like Pedrillo in "Entführung aus dem Serail", Don Curzio and Basilio in "Figaros Hochzeit", David in "Meistersingern"and Mime in the Ring Cycle. In 1928 he appeared at the Berlin State Opera in the world premiere of Franz Schreker's "Der singende Teufel". Until 1934 he remained a member of the Berlin State Opera. During this time he also appeared at the Berlin Kroll Opera, u.a. 1927 in the world premiere of "Royal Palace" by Kurt Weill. He later turned mainly to the operetta, after he had tremendous successes in 1930 at the Metropol Theater in Berlin in Millacker's "Bettelstudent" and in the premiere of "Das Veilchen vom Montmartre"  by Kalmán. In 1930 he sang in Amsterdam in "Fledermaus" under Bruno Walter, the same performance was repeated at the Covent Garden Opera in London. In the 1931-1932 season he worked at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, especially in buffo repertoire, and worked there in 1931 in the premiere of Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex". Since 1933 he had a huge successes at the Berlin Theater of the West in operettas such as "Die lockende Flamme" by Künnecke (world premiere on 27. 12. 1933), "Der Page dsr Königs" (1933) and "Der goldene Pierrot"  by Walter W.Goetze. The career of the singer took a long time, even in 1956 he sang at the Hamburg Operetta Theater. Married the actress and cabaret artist Käthe König. With his second wife Edith Schollwer, who performed in operettas, he made a few records on Electrola.

Germaine Cernay (Mezzo-Soprano) (28 April 1900, Le Havre - 19 September 1943, Paris)

Her real name was Germaine Pointu. At first, she wanted to become a pianist, but then she studied voice at the National Conservatory in Paris with the teachers Albers und Engel. She made her debut in 1925 at the Paris Grand Opéra as Euryclée in ‘’Pénélope’’ by Gabriel Fauré. In 1927 she came to the Opéra-Comique in Paris, where she first sang smaller roles, then roles like Charlotte in ‘’Werther’’, Carmen, Mignon, and Geneviève in ‘’Pelléas et Mélisande’’. In 1930 at that house she took part in the world premiere of the opera ‘’Le Sicilien’’ by Omer Letorey. She had important successes at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and on French provincial stages. She gave guest performances in North Africa, in Switzerland, in England, Ireland and Italy, where she appeared in the 1939 Florence May Festival as Florenz in Ravel's ‘’L'Enfant et les sortilèges’’. In a broadcast of French Radio she even undertook the soprano role in ‘’Pelléas et Mélisande’’. She was regarded as one of the leading French concert altos of her generation, above all as a great Bach interpreter. She was on the point of entering a convent when she suddenly died. In addition to her exquisitely cultured (above all in the high register) voice, her ingenious art of delivery as well as her mastery of phrasing were treasured. She represented a voice type which the French designate 'Galli-Marié' (after the great prima donna, Célestine Galli-Marié).

Oct 15, 2018

Elisabeth Böhm Van Endert (Soprano) (Neuss 31. 12. 1876 † Zürich 27. 02. 1956)

She began her singing studies with Wally Schauseil in Düsseldorf and continued with Richard Müller in Dresden. First she appeared in concerts and oratorio parts. At the instigation of the great conductor Ernst von Schuch, who appeared in Dresden, she turned to the stage career. She made her stage debut in 1907 at the Hofoper in Dresden (as Marguerite in ‘’Faust’’), where she remained until 1910. From 1910 to 1913 she was engaged by the Court Opera in Berlin (where she had already performed in 1909), from 1913 to 1921 she was a soloist of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin-Charlottenburg, in the 1921-1923 seasons she sang at the Staatsoper in Berlin. Here she appeared as Pamina in ‘’Zauberflöte’’, Micaela in ‘’Carmen’’, Freia in '’’Rheingold’’, Eva in ‘’Meistersingern’’, Marguerite in ‘’Faust’’, Rosalinde in ‘’Fledermaus’’ and Octavian in ‘’Rosenkavalier’’. Guest performances and tours led the artist to England, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland. In the 1920s she undertook two major North American tours. During her Dresden engagement she appeared on 25. 1. 1909 in the world premiere of the opera ‘’Elektra’’ by R. Strauss. After 1923 she gave only single stage performances, but was mainly to be heard as a concert soloist, such as 1926 on a Holland tour and, also in 1926, in London. In her second marriage she was married the director of the Electrola record company, Leo Curth. After her retirement she lived in Berlin and taught singing, but in 1935she emigrated to North America.

Chronology of some appearances

1907-1910 Dresden Hofoper
1910-1913 Berlin Court Opera
1913-1921 Berlin-Charlottenburg Deutsche Oper
1921-1923 Berlin Staatsoper

Georgy Nelepp (Tenor) (Bobruika, Ukraine, 20 April 1904 - Moscow, 18 June 1957)

He studied at the Leningrad Conservatory and made his debut, as Lensky, with the Kirov in 1930, remaining with the company until 1944. In that year he moved to the Bol'shoy, where he had his most significant success. Nelepp possessed a lyric-dramatic tenor capable of an amazing range and intensity of expression, making him an ideal exponent of such roles as Florestan, Gustavus III, Manrico, Radames, Don José, Sobinin (‘’A Life for the Tsar’’), Dmitry (‘’Boris Godunov’’), Golitsin (‘’Khovanshchina’’), Yury (‘’The Enchantress’’), Hermann, Andrey (‘’Mazepa’’) and Sadko, several of which he recorded. He sang in approximately 20 complete opera sets, among which his agonized portrayal of the obsessive Hermann in the Melodiya recording of The Queen of Spades is an unrivalled achievement.

Max Kuttner (Tenor) (Baden, Austria 24 February 1883 - Straubing, Germany 17 October 1953)

After a technical education Kuttner worked first as a designer in Frankfurt am Main, but there he also trained as a singer. In 1905 he made his debut at the Lortzing Theater in Berlin. After training his voice, he began his stage career in 1904 at the Court Theater of Weimar and sang since 1906 at the Lortzing Theater in Berlin. He specialized in the tenor buffo roles in which he proved to be a superior actor. He sang Jacquino in "Fidelio", Pedrillo in the "Entführung aus dem Serail", Monostatos in the "Zauberflöte". His career took place mainly at various Berlin theaters. He moved to the field of operetta in the twenties and had great success as an operetta tenor in Berlin. He became known as a radio and record singer. In 1933 he left Germany as a Jew and finally came to China. There he appeared in operettas in Shanghai (1940-1941). After the Second World War, he returned to Germany, where he died in 1953 in Straubing in Bavaria. Married the opera singer Nelly Bondy, who sang in Weimar and at the Komische Oper in Berlin.

Oct 10, 2018

Mafalda Salvatini (Soprano) (Baiae, Italy 17 October 1886 - Lugano, Switzerland 13 June 1971)


Her father was an officer of the Neapolitan army and she was already orphaned when she was four. She studied singing under Jean de Reszke and Pauline Viardot-Garcia in Paris. In 1908, during a guest performance at the Berlin Court Opera, she caused a sensation as Aida and from 1911 to 1914 she was a member of this opera house. In 1912 she performed at the Hofoper in Munich, in 1913 at the Grand Opéra in Paris, where she performed as Valentine in "Les Huguenots" of G. Meyerbeer. In the 1914-1923 seasons she was engaged by the German Opera House in Berlin-Charlottenburg. Although in the 1924-1926 seasons she again appeared at the State Opera (the former Hofoper) in Berlin, but came back in 1926 to the German Opera House, where she continued her career until 1932. In 1926 she created for Berlin the title role in G. Puccini’s opera "Turandot", where she scored one of her greatest successes. In 1927 she was a guest at the Dresden State Opera, in 1922 and 1928 at the Vienna State Opera, in 1928 at the Riga Opera House. She also made guest appearances in Holland and Belgium, but never in her native Italy. At the beginning of the thirties she married the Lithuanian Ambassador in Germany. After her retirement she lived in the Swiss canton of Ticino.