Töpper, Hertha, Austrian mezzo-soprano; b. Graz, April 19, 1924. She received her musical training in Graz, studying violin with her father at the Cons. and voice with Franz Mixa at the opera school. She made her operatic debut in 1945 as Ulrica at the Graz Landestheater, where she sang until 1952. In 1951 she appeared at the Bayreuth Festival; after singing as a guest artist at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich in 1951-52, she joined its roster; was made a Bavarian Kammersängerin in 1955. In 1953 she made her first appearance at London’s Covent Garden as Clairon with the visiting Bavarian State Opera, and later returned for guest appearances. She made her U.S. debut at the San Francisco Opera in 1960 as Octavian, a role she repeated for her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. on Nov. 19, 1962. From 1971 to 1981 she was a prof, at the Munich Hochschule für Musik. In 1980 she retired from the operatic stage. Her operatic repertoire included many roles by Wagner, Verdi, and Strauss; as a concert artist, she was particularly noted for her performances of the music of Bach.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire