Scheff, Fritzi, famous Austrian soprano; b. Vienna, Aug. 30, 1879; d. N.Y., April 8, 1954. She studied with her mother, the singer Anna Jäger, and after further training with Schröder-Hanfstängl in Munich, she completed her studies at the Frankfurt am Main Cons. She made her operatic debut as Martha in Frankfurt am Main (1896), and soon adopted her mother’s maiden name of Scheff for professional purposes. After singing at the Munich Court Opera (1897–1900), she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Marzellina in Fidelio (Dec. 28, 1900), and remained on its roster until 1903; concurrently sang at London’s Covent Garden. She later shifted to light opera, and it was in this field that she became famous. She created the role of Fifi in Victor Herbert’s operetta Mile. Modiste (Trenton, N.J., Oct. 7, 1905); her singing of Fifi’s waltz song Kiss Me Again became a hallmark of her career. She also found success as a dramatic actress, becoming particularly well known for her appearance in Arsenic and Old Lace. Her 3 marriages (to Baron Fritz von Bardeleben, the American writer John Fox Jr., and the singer George Anderson) ended in divorce.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire