Branzell, Karin Maria

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Branzell, Karin Maria

Branzell, Karin Maria noted Swedish contralto; b. Stockholm, Sept. 24, 1891; d. Altadena, Calif., Dec. 14, 1974. She was a pupil of Thekla Hofer in Stockholm, Louis Bachner in Berlin, and Enrico Rosati in N.Y. In 1912 she made her operatic debut as Prince Sarvilaka in d’Albert’s Izeyl in Stockholm, where she sang at the Royal Opera until 1918; then was a member of the Berlin State Opera until 1923. On Feb. 6, 1924, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Fricka in Die Walküre, and remained on the roster until 1944; sang there again in 1951. She also appeared at the Bayreuth Festivals (1930–31), London’s Covent Garden (1935; 1937-38), and the San Francisco Opera (1941). In later years she taught at the Juilliard School of Music in N.Y. The exceptional range of her voice allowed her to sing both contralto and soprano roles. Although especially known for such Wagnerian roles as Ortrud, Venus, Erda, Brangàne, and the Walküre Brünnhilde, she also was admired as Amneris, Dalila, Herodias, and Clytem-nestra.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire