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Tiana Lemnitz

1897-1994
Soprano

Tiana Lemnitz (1897–1994)
Possessed of an unforgettably beautiful voice, the German soprano Tiana Lemnitz made her operatic career between the two world wars. The youngest of 10 children, she was born to a musical family and began to sing at the age of seven. At 15, she entered the Metz Music School, eventually making her operatic stage debut in Frankfurt as Undine. While in that city, she learned 25 roles and was hired by Stadttheater in Aachen. She made her debut there in 1922 as Waltraute in Die Walküre. When the singer who was to sing Woglinde in Das Rheingold became ill, Lemnitz replaced her without a rehearsal and sang it flawlessly. Subsequently she began singing more important roles, including Elsa and Eva. She then was offered a contract at the Stadttheater in Hanover. In 1934 she became a member of the Berlin Staatsoper and remained there for 23 years. In 1937 she was awarded the prestigious title Kammersängerin. In the same year she sang Sieglinde for the first time, plus Elisabeth. According to Musical America, "What more adjectives can do justice to the Elisabeth of Tiana Lemnitz! This beautiful voice, this superlative vocalism, this absolute supremacy of the technical and the interpretative in which the economy of gesture lent the whole a spiritual grandeur. It was wonderful . . . Lemnitz remained unique in the perfection of her performance."
Lemnitz was also a favorite at Covent Garden, where she made her first appearance as Eva in 1936, along with Torsten Ralf, Rudolf Bockelmann, Ludwig Weber, and Herbert Janssen. An English reviewer wrote, "The greatest moment of the evening came in the quintet [of Meistersinger]. Lemnitz, beginning the movement, sang so beautifully that—without being rude—one was conscious of nothing else." Wagner’s biographer Ernest Newman thought her Eva the best he had ever seen.
Lemnitz was also an incomparable lieder interpreter. Her last performance was a lieder concert at the Stadtsoper in Berlin in 1957. Infinitely expressive, she gave all of herself to her art. About herself, she said: "I am very earnest in my art and consider it as a holy legacy which shall procure some of the higher sense of life to the people."

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