Matzenauer, Margarete

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Matzenauer, Margarete

Matzenauer, Margarete, celebrated Hungarian soprano and contralto; b. Temesvár, June 1, 1881; d. Van Nuys, Calif., May 19, 1963. Her father was a conductor and her mother a soprano; she grew up in favorable musical surroundings, and began to study singing at an early age, first in Graz, then in Berlin, and finally in Munich. In 1901 she joined the staff of the Strasbourg Opera. She then sang contralto roles at the Munich Court Opera (1904–11), and also sang at Bayreuth in 1911. She made her American debut as Amneris in Aida at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y. (Nov. 13, 1911) and remained one of its leading members until 1930; in the interim, she sang in opera in Germany and South America. She gave her farewell concert recital in Carnegie Hall, N.Y., in 1938, and settled in Calif. She had one of the most remarkable singing careers of her day; she sang both soprano and contralto roles until 1914, and thereafter concentrated on contralto roles. Among her many outstanding roles were Brünnhilde, Venus, Isolde, Fricka, Ortrud, Eboli, Azucena, Leonora, and Laura in La Gioconda.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire