Lotte Lehmann (February 27, 1888 – August 26, 1976) was a German soprano opera and Lieder singer who was especially associated with German repertory. She gave memorable performances in the operas of Richard Strauss; the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier was considered her greatest role.
Lehmann was born in Perleberg. After studying in Berlin, she made her debut in Hamburg Opera in 1910 as a Page in Wagner's Lohengrin. In 1914, she sang for the first time in, and in 1916 joined, the Vienna State Opera, where she sang in the premieres of a number of Strauss's operas, Ariadne auf Naxos (1916), Die Frau ohne Schatten (1919), Intermezzo (1924), and Arabella (1933) as well as Vienna premieres of several operas of Puccini. Lehmann made her debut in London in 1914, and from 1924 to 1935 she performed regularly at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
She also appeared regularly at the Salzburg Festival (1926-1937), performing with Arturo Toscanini, among other conductors. She also gave recitals there accompanied at the piano by the conductor Bruno Walter. In 1936, while in Salzburg, she discovered the Trapp Family Singers (of 'the Sound of Music' fame) and persuaded them to their first public performance.
In 1930, Lehmann made her US debut in Chicago as Sieglinde in Wagner's Die Walküre. Lehmann's other Wagnerian roles included Eva in Die Meistersinger, Elsa in Lohengrin, and Elisabeth in Tannhäuser; she was also famous for her interpretation of Leonore in Beethoven's Fidelio. Just before Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938, Lehmann emigrated to the United States, where she sang at the San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera until 1945.
In addition to her operatic work, Lehmann was a renowned singer of lieder, giving frequent recitals up until her retirement. During her long career, Lehmann also made more than five hundred recordings.
After her retirement from the recital stage in 1951, Lehmann taught master classes at the Music Academy of Santa Barbara, California, which she helped found in 1947. She also gave master classes in Chicago, London, Vienna etc. For her contribution to the recording industry, Lehmann has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1735 Hollywood Blvd. However, her first name was misspelled as "Lottie."
She was a prolific writer, publishing a book of poems Verse in Prosa in the early 1920s, a novel, Orplid, mein Land (1937), translated as Eternal Flight (1937) and a book of memoirs, Anfang und Aufstieg (1937), translated as On Wings of Song (UK 1938) and as Midway in My Song (US 1938); a book on the interpretation of song, More Than Singing (1945); My Many Lives (1948), a book on the interpretation of opera roles. Later books include Five Operas and Richard Strauss also titled Singing with Richard Strauss (UK) (1964); a second book of poems Gedichte (1969) and Eighteen Song Cycles (1971) which was largely taken from earlier books.
Biographies of Lehmann include: Lotte Lehmann...mehr als eine Sängerin by Wessling (1969); Lotte Lehmann: A Life in Opera and Song by Glass (1988); Lotte Lehmann: 1888-1976 A Centenary Biography by Jefferson (1988), translated into German as Lotte Lehmann: Eine Biographie (1991); Never Sang for Hitler: The Life and Times of Lotte Lehmann by Kater (2008).
Lehmann died in 1976 age 88 in Santa Barbara, California. She is interred in the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna, Austria.
The Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara was named in her honor.
The Lotte Lehmann Foundation was begun in 1995 with the dual missions to preserve and perpetuate Lotte Lehmann's legacy, and to honor her dream of bringing art song into the lives of as many people as possible.
Weitere Aufnahmen von Lotte Lehmann