Unger, Caroline

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Unger, Caroline

Unger, Caroline, famous Hungarian contralto; b. Stuhlweissenburg, Oct. 28,1803; d. near Florence, March 23,1877. She studied piano as a child, and then received singing lessons from Joseph Mazotti and Ugo Bassi; then studied voice with Aloysia Weber, J.M. Vogl, and in Milan with D. Roncini. In 1824 she made her operatic debut in Vienna as Dorabella in Così fan tutte. Beethoven chose her to sing the contralto part in the first performance of his 9thSym. (May 7,1824); long afterward, she recounted that she turned Beethoven around that he might see the applause, which he could no longer hear. She went to Italy, where she changed the spelling of her name to Ungher, to secure proper pronunciation in Italian. Several Italian composers (Donizetti, Bellini, Mercadante) wrote operas especially for her. In 1833 she appeared in Paris. In 1839 she was engaged to be married to the poet Lenau, but the engagement soon was broken; in 1841 she married the French writer François Sabatier (1818-91) and retired from the stage. She publ. an album of 46 songs, Lieder, Mélodies et Stornelli.


Trionfi melodrammatici di Carolina U. in Vienna (Vienna, 1839); F. Margit Polgar, U.-Sabatier (Budapest, 1941).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire