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Helen Traubel (1899 - 1972)

Traubel, whose father was a pharmacist, was born into a successful middle-class family of German origin. Having studied singing in her home town of St Louis with Louise Vetta-Karst and later in New York with Giuseppe Boghetti and others, she made her concert debut in 1923 singing the soprano part in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra, subsequently touring the mid-west and south of the USA with the orchestra.

After a 1926 performance of the ‘Liebestod’ from Tristan und Isolde at the Lewisohn Stadium, New York with Rudolf Ganz conducting, Traubel was invited by Giulio Gatti-Casazza, manager of the Metropolitan Opera, New York, to sing with the company. She rejected this offer in order to continue with her vocal studies and concert work, to which she later added a successful career on radio; and it was more than a decade later, in 1937, that she was engaged by the Met to sing Mary Rutledge in the first performance of Walter Damrosch’s opera The Man Without A Country. Although the opera was not a success, Traubel received a very good press and was noted as a potential Brünnhilde and Isolde.




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