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Maria Reining (1903 - 1971)


Maria Reining worked in the foreign exchange department of a bank before commencing formal vocal studies when she was twenty-five. She made her debut with the Vienna State Opera in 1931 and for the next two years appeared there in soubrette and comprimario roles. Between 1933 and 1935 she sang with the Darmstadt Opera, after which she became a member of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, making her debut as Elsa / Lohengrin with Hans Knappertsbusch conducting.

When Knappertsbusch was relieved of his duties in Munich and moved to Vienna, Reining followed him. She remained with the Vienna State Opera until 1957 and was one of the company’s leading sopranos: her roles included Agathe / Der Freischütz, Elisabeth / Tannhäuser, Sieglinde / Die Walküre, Leonora / Il trovatore, Desdemona / Otello, Tatyana / Eugene Onegin and the title role in Richard Strauss’s Daphne; she also sang the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos in the 1944 production mounted to celebrate Strauss’s eightieth birthday, with Karl Böhm conducting. One of her last appearances with the company was as Elisabetta / Don Carlo in 1956; she was made an honorary member in 1959.

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