Schumann-Heink, Ernestine

views updated May 18 2018

Schumann-Heink, Ernestine (née Rössler) (b Lieben, 1861; d Hollywood, Calif., 1936). Cz.-born contralto (Amer. cit. 1908). Début Graz 1876 in Beethoven's 9th Sym.; opera début Dresden 1878 (Azucena in Il trovatore). Member Hamburg Opera 1883–98. CG début 1892 (Erda in Das Rheingold, cond. Mahler). Bayreuth 1896–1914 (excl. 1904). Amer. début (Chicago) 1898; NY Met 1899. Sang mainly in USA until retirement 1932 (her last role at NY Met was as Erda at the age of 70). Created Klytemnästra in Elektra, Dresden 1909. Repertory of 150 roles. Voice of power and range allied to exceptional dramatic skill.