Kurz, Selma

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Kurz, Selma

Kurz, Selma, noted Austrian soprano; b. Bielitz, Silesia, Nov. 15, 1874; d. Vienna, May 10, 1933. She studied with Johannes Ress in Vienna and Mathilde Marchesi in Paris. She made her first appearance as a mezzo-soprano as Mignon at the Hamburg Opera (May 12, 1895); then sang in Frankfurt am Main (1896–99). She made her first appearance at the Vienna Court Opera as Mignon (Sept. 3, 1899); after singing lyric-dramatic soprano roles, she turned to coloratura roles; continued on its roster when it became the State Opera (1918), singing there until her retirement (1927). She made her London debut at Covent Garden as Gilda (June 7, 1904), creating a profound impression; sang there again in 1905, 1907, and 1924. She appeared as a concert singer in the U.S. She was esteemed for such roles as Elizabeth, Eva, Sieglinde, Lucia, and Mimi; also created Zerbinetta in the rev. version of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos (1916). She married the Austrian gynecologist Josef Halban in 1910; their daughter was the soprano Desi Halban-Kurz (b. Vienna, April 10, 1912).


H. Goldmann, S.K. (Bielitz, 1933); D. Halbin and U. Ebbers, S. K.: Die Sängerin und ihre Zeit (Stuttgart and Zürich, 1983).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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