Kurt, Melanie, Austrian soprano; b. Vienna, Jan. 8, 1880; d. N.Y., March 11, 1941. She studied piano with Leschetizky at the Vienna Cons. (1887–94), winning the gold medal and Liszt prize; then took vocal lessons from Fannie Mütter in Vienna (1896), but also toured as a pianist (1897–1900). She then made her operatic debut as Elisabeth in Tannhäuser (Lübeck, 1902); then sang in Leipzig (1903–04). She completed her vocal training with Lilli and Marie Lehmann in Berlin. From 1905 to 1908 she sang in Braunschweig; then (1908–12) at the Berlin Royal Opera. She became an outstanding Wagner interpreter and appeared in London (Covent Garden, 1910, 1914), Brussels, Milan, Budapest, etc. When the Deutsches Opernhaus in Charlottenburg was opened in 1912, she was engaged as chief soprano for heroic roles. On Feb. 1, 1915, she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y as Isolde; remained on its roster until her contract was terminated with the U.S. entry into World War I in 1917. After returning to Germany, she appeared at the Berlin Volksoper (1920–25); also taught there, and later in Vienna. In 1938 she settled in N.Y. Her roles included Pamina, Beethoven’s Leonore, Sieglinde, Brünnhilde, Kundry, and the Marschallin.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire