Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Aug 24, 2020

Maria Ivogün (Soprano) (Budapest, Hungary 18 November 1891 – Beatenberg, Switzerland 3 October 1987)


Her real name Maria Kempner was shortened to "Ivogün" after the maiden name of her mother, the operetta singer I (da) vo (n) Gün (ther); her father, Pál Kempner, was an Austro-Hungarian officer; she was not related to the soprano Mizzi Günther, who created Lehár's "Lustige Witwe". She was trained by Irene Schlemmer-Ambros in Vienna. Bruno Walter recognized her outstanding talent and engaged her for his new workplace at the Court Opera in Munich. She gave her debut in Munich in the role of Mimi in Puccini's "La bohème". From 1913 to 1925 she worked as a highly valued prima donna at the Court Opera in Munich; Here she sang the part of Ighino in the world premiere of Hans Pfitzner's "Palestrina" on June 12th, 1917, and in 1918 the title role in "Das Christelflein" by the same composer in a new version of the opera. In Munich she continued to work in the world premieres of the operas "Der Ring des Polykrates" by Korngold (March 28, 1916) and "Die Vögel" (December 4, 1920) by Walter Braunfels. In 1916 and 1919 she made guest appearances at the Berlin Court Opera and the Berlin State Opera, in 1917 at the Dresden Court Opera, in the 1916-1919 at the City Theater of Zurich, in 1919 and 1932 at the City Theater of Basel. From 1921 to 1932 she was married to the tenor Karl Erb (1877-1958), and from 1933 to the pianist and song accompanist Michael Raucheisen (1889-1984). Since 1925 she has belonged to the ensemble of the Berliner Städtische Oper. She made guest appearances at the Covent Garden Opera in London (1924 as Zerbinetta in "Ariadne auf Naxos", one of her great creations, and as Gilda in "Rigoletto", in 1927 as Konstanze in "Entführung aus dem Serail") at La Scala in Milan, brilliant successes at the Vienna State Opera and at the Berlin State Opera. In 1922 she undertook a very successful concert tour through the USA, in 1923 she toured North America as a guest artist with the German Opera Company; she was heard in New York as Frau Fluth in Nicolai's "Lustige Weibern von Windsor". From 1922 to 1923 she sang at the Chicago Opera and made guest appearances with their ensemble in 1926 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Rosina in "Barbiere di Siviglia". (However, she did not become a member of this House). At the Salzburg Festival in 1925 and 1930 she was seen as Norina in "Don Pasquale" as well as at recitals and concerts. As a concert singer she also appeared in Budapest (1926, 1933), Paris (1931), Amsterdam (1932, 1933), Oslo (1922), Copenhagen (1932) and in Spain. She was famous as an operetta singer and as an interpreter of coloratura waltzes and canzons. When she made her debut, she had decided to sing for twenty years and not a day longer, which she then did. So she gave up her career in 1932, but sang Zerbinetta again in Berlin in 1934. In 1948 she received a professorship at the Vienna Music Academy, and in 1950 at the Berlin Music Academy. Her students included the famous sopranos Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Rita Streich, Renate Holm, Michi Tanaka and Alexandra Trianti. She spent her twilight years in Beatenberg, where she died very old.

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