Marta Fuchs (January 1, 1898 - September 22, 1974) was a German concert and operatic soprano.
Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe, who share a common German ancestry, culture and history. German is the shared mother tongue of a substantial majority of ethnic Germans.
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.
A soprano[soˈpraːno] is a type of classical female singing voice and has the highest vocal range of all voice types. The soprano's vocal range (using scientific pitch notation) is from approximately middle C (C4) = 261 Hz to "high A" (A5) =880 Hz in choral music, or to "soprano C" (C6, two octaves above middle C) =1046 Hz or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which often encompasses the melody. The soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, soubrette, lyric, spinto, and dramatic soprano.
Marta Fuchs grew up in an artistic family, her father being a painter, member of the board of the guild and a city councillor. In later years he put his efforts into managing his daughter's career. Marta attended the Königin-Katharina-Stift High School in Stuttgart and studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, the College of Music in Stuttgart. In 1923 at the age of 25, she began her career as a soprano singing concerts and oratories. After undergoing further voice and drama training in Stuttgart, she made her debut as an operatic soprano at the state theatre in Aachen in 1928 with Gluck's Orpheus, Azucena in Verdi's Troubadour and with Carmen.
Aachen, also known as Bad Aachen, and in French and traditional English as Aix-la-Chapelle, is a spa and border city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen developed from a Roman settlement and spa, subsequently becoming the preferred medieval Imperial residence of Charlemagne, and, from 936 to 1531, the place where 31 Holy Roman Emperors were crowned Kings of the Germans.
Orfeo ed Euridice is an opera composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck, based on the myth of Orpheus and set to a libretto by Ranieri de' Calzabigi. It belongs to the genre of the azione teatrale, meaning an opera on a mythological subject with choruses and dancing. The piece was first performed at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 5 October 1762, in the presence of Empress Maria Theresa. Orfeo ed Euridice is the first of Gluck's "reform" operas, in which he attempted to replace the abstruse plots and overly complex music of opera seria with a "noble simplicity" in both the music and the drama.
Il trovatore is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto largely written by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play El trovador (1836) by Antonio García Gutiérrez. It was Gutiérrez's most successful play, one which Verdi scholar Julian Budden describes as "a high flown, sprawling melodrama flamboyantly defiant of the Aristotelian unities, packed with all manner of fantastic and bizarre incident."
Marta Fuchs became an active member of the Christian Community and from 1924 a member of the Anthroposophical Society.
The General Anthroposophical Society is an "association of people whose will it is to nurture the life of the soul, both in the individual and in human society, on the basis of a true knowledge of the spiritual world." As an organization, it is dedicated to supporting the community of those interested in the inner path of schooling known as anthroposophy, developed by Rudolf Steiner.
In 1930 she was engaged by the Staatsoper in Dresden. After retraining from an alto to a high dramatic soprano, she sang, among other parts, Marschallin, Isolde, Brünnhilde, Arabella, and Fidelio. From 1935 onwards she was also part of the ensemble of the Berlin State Opera und des Deutsche Oper Berlin and appeared as guest in Amsterdam, Prague, Paris, London, Florence and Vienna.
The Semperoper is the opera house of the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden and the concert hall of the Staatskapelle Dresden. It is also home to the Semperoper Ballett. The building is located near the Elbe River in the historic centre of Dresden, Germany.
Dresden is the capital city and, after Leipzig, the second-largest city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the border with the Czech Republic.
A dramatic soprano is a type of operatic soprano with a powerful, rich, emotive voice that can sing over, or cut through, a full orchestra. Thicker vocal folds in dramatic voices usually (but not always) mean less agility than lighter voices but a sustained, fuller sound. Usually this voice has a lower tessitura than other sopranos, and a darker timbre. They are often used for heroic, often long-suffering, tragic women of opera. Dramatic sopranos have a range from approximately low A (A3) to "high C" (C6). Some dramatic sopranos, known as Wagnerian sopranos, have an exceptionally big voice that can assert itself over a large orchestra (of more than 80 or even 100 pieces). These voices are substantial, often denser in tone, extremely powerful and, ideally, evenly balanced throughout the vocal registers. Wagnerian sopranos usually play mythic heroines. Successful Wagnerian sopranos are rare and often Wagnerian roles are performed by Italianate dramatic sopranos.
From 1933 to 1942, she was a central figure at the Bayreuther Festspiele, where she played Isolde, Kundry and especially Brünnhilde. On February 20, 1935 she played the part of Maria Tudor in the premiere of Rudolf Wagner-Regeny's Der Günstling.
She remained distant from the National Socialist regime. In 1936, she told Hitler, "Mr Hitler, you are going to make war!" After Hitler's protestation, she replied, "I don't trust you." In May 1939 Hitler greeted her asking, "Now, have I made war?" Fuchs replied, "I still don't trust you!"During the years of National Socialism, using her personal acquaintance with Hitler and Göring, she used her reputation in the petitions to allow the continuation of the anthroposophical work in Germany. On 25 June 1941 she used her influence on behalf of the Christian Community, whose priests had been interned, property confiscated and further work prohibited.
In 1941, she sang Fidelio-Leonore at the Rome Opera.
She gave guest performances at Bayreuth (e.g. Kundry in Parsifal , 1938), Amsterdam, Paris, London, Berlin, Wien and Salzburg. In 1935 she sang in the premiere of Strauss's Die schweigsame Frau .
After a performance of Leo Janáček’s Jenůfa in 1944, in which she sang the role of Kostelnička, the philosopher Fyodor Stepun wrote to her: “A true and ultimate unity unity between drama and song and through this a true fulfilment of the opera I have to date found realised only in the monumental comedy of the genius Schljapin and in your so completely different priestly, internalised art and if you have accomplished such a successful rendition, the cause lies not least in the fact that your playing moves not in the naturalistic-psychological but rather in the space of mystery-tragedy.” Wilhelm Furtwängler wrote after one of the Isoldes on 3 February 1944 in Berlin: Such a beautiful rendition and such a transfiguration in the death through love he had never experienced…
After the destruction of Dresden on 13 February 1945, she fled to her house on the Tegernsee, then to Stuttgart where she gave guest appearances at the Stuttgart Opera, at conferences of the Christian Community and in 1948 at the conference for Waldorf teachers.
She died in the old-age home in Stuttgart-Sonnenberg on 22 September 1974.
Kirsten Malfrid Flagstad was a Norwegian opera singer and a highly regarded Wagnerian soprano. She ranks among the greatest singers of the 20th century, and many opera critics called hers "the voice of the century." Desmond Shawe-Taylor wrote of her in the New Grove Dictionary of Opera: "No one within living memory surpassed her in sheer beauty and consistency of line and tone."
Dame Gwyneth Jones, is a Welsh operatic dramatic soprano.
Lisa Kinkead Gasteen AO, is an internationally acclaimed Australian operatic soprano, renowned for her performances of the works of Wagner. She won the Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 1991. She did not perform between 2008 and 2011, due to neuro-muscular spasms in her neck.
Martha Mödl was a German soprano, and later a mezzo-soprano. She specialized in large dramatic roles such as Isolde, Brünnhilde, and particularly Kundry, and is considered, along with Astrid Varnay and Birgit Nilsson, one of the three major postwar Wagner sopranos. She was among the preeminent Wagner sopranos—and most compelling singing actresses—of the twentieth century. She was celebrated for her highly individualized interpretations, exceptional acting ability, intense stage presence, and "rich, sexy voice."
Waltraud Meier is a Grammy Award–winning German dramatic soprano and mezzo-soprano singer. She is particularly known for her Wagnerian roles as Kundry, Isolde, Ortrud, Venus, Fricka, and Sieglinde, but has also had success in the French and Italian repertoire appearing as Eboli, Amneris, Carmen, and Santuzza. She resides in Munich.
Janice Baird is an American dramatic soprano, best known for her interpretation of Wagner and Strauss. Baird was born in New York City.
Deborah Polaski is an American opera and concert singer (soprano). She has specialized in dramatic soprano roles and also sings mezzo-soprano roles occasionally.
Katarina Dalayman is a Swedish former soprano that has transitioned into a mezzosoprano. She has found critical acclaim singing major operatic roles by composers such as Wagner, Berg, Shostakovich and Bartók, among others. In a recent interview, she commented that Wagner's music "[has] always been closest to my heart, always, since I started singing".
Catarina Ligendza is a Swedish soprano opera singer.
Marie Wittich was a German operatic soprano. She was a Kammersängerin of the Dresden Royal Opera where she sang for 25 years and was known for the power, vibrancy and dramatic quality of her voice. She created the leading female roles in the world premieres of several operas, most famously, the title role in Salome by Richard Strauss. The novelist E. M. Forster, who saw her 1905 Dresden performance as Brünnhilde in Der Ring des Nibelungen, wrote: "She towered. She soared. Force, weight, majesty! She seemed to make history."
Naděžda Kniplová is a Czech operatic soprano who had an active international career from the 1950s through the 1980s. Kniplová possessed a large voice with a sonorous, metallic, dark timbre that was particularly well suited to the dramatic soprano repertoire. While she was most admired in Czech operas and as Wagnerian heroines, she sang a wide repertoire that also encompassed Italian, Russian, and Hungarian language roles. A fine actress, her performances were praised for their intensity and pathos. However, some critics commented on a certain lack of steadiness or purity in her singing. Her voice is preserved on a number of recordings made on the Supraphon and Decca labels.
Margaret Harshaw was an American opera singer and voice teacher who sang for 22 consecutive seasons at the Metropolitan Opera from November 1942 to March 1964. She began her career as a mezzo-soprano in the early 1930s but then began performing roles from the soprano repertoire in 1950. She sang a total of 39 roles in 25 works at the Met and was heard in 40 of the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. She was also active as a guest artist with major opera houses in Europe and North and South America.
Janis Martin was an American opera singer who sang leading roles first as a mezzo-soprano and later as a soprano in opera houses throughout Europe and the United States. She was particularly known for her performances in the operas of Richard Wagner and sang at the Bayreuth Festival from 1968 to 1997.
Ursula Schröder-Feinen was a German operatic soprano who performed at the Metropolitan Opera and the Bayreuth Festival.
Leonore Helene Wildbrunn was an Austrian operatic soprano. She was a celebrated Wagnerian singer, possessing a wide vocal range and dramatic creativity and fine sense of style. She made her debut in 1907 at the Stadttheater Dortmund as a contralto and mezzo-soprano. She performed at the Stuttgart Court Opera from 1914 to 1918, the Berlin State Opera from 1919 to 1925, the Städtische Oper Berlin from 1925 to 1932, and the Vienna State Opera from 1919 until 1932. From 1932 to 1950, she only appeared as a concert singer, and taught at the Vienna Music Academy as a professor.
Ella Némethy was a Hungarian mezzo-soprano who had an active international career in operas and concerts from 1919 to 1948. Music historian Péter P. Várnai writes in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians that "she was the leading mezzo-soprano in the interwar years, especially in Wagnerian roles such as Brünnhilde, Isolde and Kundry. Her interpretations were characterized by vocal amplitude, rich colouring and grand declamation." She was the mother of author Baba Macnee, and the mother-in-law of actor Patrick Macnee.
Evelyn Herlitzius is a German opera singer, a dramatic soprano. She is known for performing major roles in works by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, such as Brünnhilde, Isolde and Elektra, at the Semperoper, the Bayreuth Festival and leading European opera houses.
Astrid Schirmer is a German operatic soprano and an academic teacher. She sang mostly dramatic parts at major German opera houses and appeared at the Bayreuth Festival.
Liane Synek was an Austrian operatic soprano. She made a career based in Germany, at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, the Staatsoper Berlin and the Cologne Opera, and appeared at international major opera houses and festivals, such as the Bayreuth Festival. She appeared mostly in dramatic roles such as Beethoven's Fidelio, and Wagner's Sieglinde, Brünnhilde and Isolde. She also performed in contemporary operas, creating the role of Countess de la Roche in Zimmermann's Die Soldaten in Cologne in 1965, conducted by Michael Gielen.
Ute Vinzing is a German operatic soprano who received the title Kammersängerin. She is known for dramatic roles by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, including Brünnhilde, Isolde, Ortrud, Kundry, Elektra and the Dyer's Wife, which she performed internationally.