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Lehmann, Lilli

Lehmann, Lilli (b Würzburg, 1848; d Berlin, 1929). Ger. soprano. Childhood in Prague: studied pf. at 6 and at 12 was acc. to her mother, a sop., who also taught her singing. Début Prague 1865 as 1st Boy in Die Zauberflöte. Member, Berlin Opera 1869–85 (début as Marguerite de Valois in Les Huguenots), singing lyric and coloratura roles. At first Bayreuth Fest. 1876 sang Woglinde, Helmwige, and Waldvogel (Wood Bird) in The Ring. London début 1880. Sang Isolde at CG 1884 cond. Richter. Début NY Met 1885. Was first Amer. Isolde (1886) and Brünnhilde in Siegfried (1887) and Götterdämmerung (1888). On return to Ger. in 1889 was banned from all opera by Kaiser because she had overstayed her leave. Ban lifted 1891. Excelled as Mozart singer and sang at Salzburg Fest. 1905, later becoming art. dir. Returned to Met 1891–2 and 1898–9. Sang Isolde in Vienna 1909 and continued recitals until 1920. Was superb actress and her vocal and dramatic range covered Wagner to Bellini, Mozart, and Beethoven; also Suppé and Offenbach—in all, 170 roles in 119 operas. Taught for nearly 40 years, pupils incl. Farrar and Fremstad. Author and translator of several books. Autobiography My Path Through Life (NY and London 1914, 1977).

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Lehmann, Lilli

Lilli Lehmann (lā´män), 1848–1929, German operatic soprano. She made her debut in 1865 in Prague and in 1870 joined the Royal Opera, Berlin. Her stature as one of the greatest singers of her time was realized in London and in New York City where she was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Company (1885–90). Although she began her career as a coloratura, she became most famous as a Wagnerian singer. Her vast repertory of 170 roles also included Italian and French works. In addition, she was an outstanding interpreter of lieder and a great teacher, Geraldine Farrar being among her pupils. Her Meine Gesangskunst was translated by Richard Aldrich as How to Sing (1902, 3d ed. 1924).

See her autobiography (tr. 1914).

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