Personalities | Ernestine Schumann-Heink | Modern Era | Opera
Schumann-Heink’s voice was renowned for its richness and wide range. Studies with Marietta von Leclair led to her concert debut in 1876 and her operatic debut in Dresden two years later, in Il trovatore. For many years she sang at Hamburg and Bayreuth, while also appearing at London’s Covent Garden in Wagnerian roles. Schumann-Heink made her US debut in Chicago in 1898, and between 1899 and 1932 she sang regularly with the Metropolitan Opera Company. She created the role of Klytämnestra in Richard Strauss’s Elektra, and boasted a repertory of 150 roles. Hailed as the world’s greatest contralto, she sang Erda (Siegfried) at the Met in 1932 aged 70.
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