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Frieda Hempel (1885 - 1955)

Frieda Hempel initially studied the piano at the Leipzig Conservatory before undertaking vocal studies at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin with Selma Nicklass-Kempner. She made her operatic stage debut in 1905 at Breslau (now Wrocław), where she sang Violetta / La traviata, the Queen of the Night / Die Zauberflöte and Rosina / Il barbiere di Siviglia. From 1905 Hempel was contracted to the court opera at Schwerin: here she extended her repertoire to include Gilda / Rigoletto, Leonora / Il trovatore and Woglinde / Der Ring des Nibelungen.

After she made her debut at the Berlin Court Opera, also in 1905 as Frau Fluth / Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Kaiser Wilhelm II took an especial interest in her and persuaded the authorities in Schwerin to cancel her contract in favour of the Berlin Court Opera. Hempel served as a member of this company between 1907 and 1912 and was much admired for her interpretations of Lucia / Lucia di Lammermoor, Marguerite de Valois / Les Huguenots and Marie / La Fille du Régiment. In 1911 she sang the role of the Marschallin in the first Berlin performances of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier and two years later created the role of Zerbinetta in the first version of the same composer’s Ariadne auf Naxos at Berlin’s Grosse Schauspielhaus.




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