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Elisabeth Schumann


Elisabeth Schumann was born in Germany in 1888 into a musical family. Her first singing training was with teachers in Dresden and Berlin. She began her operatic career in Hamburg at the Hamburg Opera in 1909 with the part of the Shepherd Boy in Tannhäuser. With the help of her teacher Alma Schadow she sang roles such as Aennchen, Mignon, Marzelline, Cherubino and Susanna. The role which made her a star was that of Sophie in the Hamburg première of Der Rosenkavalier in February 1911.

When her contract with Hamburg ran out in 1919, Richard Strauss offered her a contract at the Vienna State Opera, and Elisabeth Schumann began in Vienna in the same year. These were the most successful and happiest part of her operatic career. She was engaged by the Vienna State Opera until 1938. During this time she went on an international concert tour of the United States with Richard Strauss, and she sang, among other places, in England, Italy, Spain, Romania, Hungary, Greece, Germany, France, North Africa, Argentina and at numerous opera festivals such as those in Salzburg and Munich. At Covent Garden, where she sang in the seasons from 1924 to 1931, she was especially famous for her Sophie, and Mozart roles such as Susanna and Zerlina. Elisabeth Schumann was made Honorary Member of the Vienna State Opera and the first female Honorary Member of the Vienna Philharmonic Society.

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