Berger, Erna

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Berger, Erna

Berger, Erna, distinguished German soprano; b. Cossebaude, near Dresden, Oct. 19, 1900; d. Essen, June 14, 1990. She was a student of Bôckel and Melita Hirzel in Dresden. In 1925 she made her operatic debut as the first boy in Die Zauberflöte at the Dresden State Opera, where she sang until 1930. In Berlin she sang at the City Opera (1929) and the State Opera (from 1934); also appeared at the Bayreuth (1930–33) and Salzburg (1932–54) festivals. In 1934 she made her debut at London’s Covent Garden as Marzelline, and sang there until 1938 and again in 1947. On Nov. 21, 1949, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Sophie, remaining on its roster until 1951. In 1955 she retired from the operatic stage but pursued a career as a lieder artist until 1968. From 1959 she was a prof. of voice at the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik. In 1985 the Berlin State Opera made her an honorary member. Her autobiography was publ. as AufFlügeln des Gesanges (Zurich, 1988). Berger was an outstanding coloratura soprano. Among her other roles were the Queen of the Night, Rosina, Martha, Gilda, and Zerbinetta.


K. Hòcker, E. B.: Die singende Botschafterin (Berlin, 1961).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire