Leider, Frida, outstanding German soprano; b. Berlin, April 18, 1888; d. there, June 4, 1975. She was a student of Otto Schwarz in Berlin before completing her training in Milan. She made her operatic debut in Halle in 1915 as Venus in Tannhäuser; then sang at Rostock (1916–18), Königsberg (1918-19), and Hamburg (1919-23). She was engaged by the Berlin State Opera in 1923, and remained on its roster until 1940; was also highly successful in Wagnerian roles at London’s Covent Garden (1924-38) and at the Bayreuth Festivals (1928-38). In 1928 she made her American debut at the Chicago Civic Opera as Brünnhilde in Die Walküre, and continued to appear there until 1932; then made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y. on Jan. 16, 1933, as Isolde. In 1934 she returned to Germany; she encountered difficulties because her husband, Rudolf Deman, concertmaster of the Berlin State Opera Orch., was Jewish. She was confronted by the Nazis with the demand to divorce him, but refused; he succeeded in going to Switzerland. After the collapse of the Nazi regime (1945), she maintained a vocal studio at the (East) Berlin State Opera until 1952; also taught at the (West) Berlin Hochschule für Musik from 1948 to 1958. She publ. a memoir, Das war mein Teil, Erinnerungen einer Opernsängerin (Berlin, 1959; Eng. ed., N.Y., 1966 as Playing My Part). In addition to her celebrated portrayals of Isolde and Brünnhilde, Leider also was acclaimed for her roles of Venus, Senta, Kundry, and the Marschallin. She also was greatly renowned as a concert artist.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire