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Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (1915 - 2006)

The daughter of highly-educated Prussians, Schwarzkopf was unable to enter university because her father, a headmaster who taught Classics, had refused to allow a Nazi meeting at his school in 1933 and was banned from teaching. Instead she turned to music, having undertaken her first operatic role, Eurydice in Gluck’s Orfeo, while still a schoolgirl. In 1934 she enrolled at the Berlin High School for Music where she became a pupil of Lula Mysz-Gmeiner, who trained her as a mezzo-soprano. On the advice of the baritone Karl Schmitt-Walter she changed teachers, becoming a pupil of Maria Ivogün, the distinguished coloratura soprano, whose husband was the pianist Michael Raucheisen. She made her formal operatic debut in May 1938 as a Flower Maiden / Parsifal at the Berlin Städtische Oper (later Deutsche Oper), considered second in quality to the Berlin State Opera.



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