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Erika Koth (1927 - 1989)

Erika Köth, who as a child had suffered from poliomyelitis, worked during World War II for a coal wholesaler and in a munitions factory. In order to finance her studies (initially with the teachers Mecklenburg and Willner in Darmstadt and then with Elsa Blank in Karslruhe) she occasionally sang with a dance band.

Köth’s breakthrough came in 1947, when she won a singing competition organized by Hesse radio; and during the following year she made her operatic stage debut at Kaiserslautern’s Palatinate Theatre as Philine in Thomas’s Mignon. Between 1950 and 1953 she was a member of the Karlsruhe Opera and in 1953 first appeared with the Munich State Opera, remaining with the company until her retirement in 1978 and singing the Fiakermilli / Arabella and the Italian Soprano / Capriccio during the company’s guest season in 1953 at the Royal Opera House, London.

Also in 1953 Köth sang for the first time with the Vienna State Opera, as the Queen of the Night / Die Zauberflöte, a role in which she made her debut at La Scala, Milan, in 1956. She was a frequent guest at the Salzburg Festival, first appearing there in 1955 as the Queen of the Night and as Konstanze / Die Entführung aus dem Serail. She returned to sing both parts often, the first until 1960 and the second until 1963. In 1958 she took part in the reopening of the Cuvilliés Theatre in Munich, singing Susanna / Le nozze di Figaro, a role with which she was to become closely identified.




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