Personalities | Henriette Sontag | Early Romantic | Opera
The German soprano Henriette Sontag made her debut in 1821 as the princess in Boieldieu’s Jean de Paris (1812). In 1823, in Vienna, Weber asked Sontag to create the title role in his Euryanthe (1822–23) after seeing her in Rossini’s La donna del lago. He was justified when her appearance in Berlin in 1825 caused an outbreak of ‘Sontag-fever’. Sontag’s voice was sweet, flexible, and she possessed a ‘brilliant, inventive and pleasing’ freshness. She sang many top roles – Rossini’s Semiramide, Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and Weber’s Agathe in Der Freischütz among them. Sontag retired in 1830 after marrying a diplomat whose career might have been compromised by her fame, but returned to the opera stage after he retired. She was still at the peak of her powers and her fame when she died of cholera in 1854.
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