Liebling, Estelle

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LIEBLING, ESTELLE (1880–1970), US. soprano, voice teacher, and composer. Liebling, who was born in New York City to Matilde de Perkiewicz and Max Liebling, a pianist who had studied with Franz Liszt, started with piano, but quickly moved to vocal studies. Her parents sent her to Europe to study in Berlin with Selma Nicklass-Kempner. Dame Nellie Medba suggested she go to Paris and study under the great singing teacher Mathilde Marchesi. Liebling made her operatic debut as Lucia de Lammermoor in Dresden, followed by Rosina in The Barber of Seville and Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute. Returning to the United States in 1901, she appeared in several concert recitals, occasionally with her brother James Liebling, a cellist. After standing in at short notice for several roles, Liebling had her official debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1903 as Musette in La Bohème with Enrico Caruso as Rodolfo. At the end of 1902, she sailed with John Philip Sousa and his band for a four-month European tour, including appearances before King Edward. Liebling continued to tour with the band, giving 1,600 concerts with Sousa and gaining a wider audience than an opera career would have afforded.

In 1905, she married Arthur Mosler, an inventor and engineer with whom she settled in New York City. While Liebling continued to sing until around the age of 50, she is best remembered as a dedicated teacher and singing coach of opera singers. Beverly *Sills, one of her most famous students, studied with her over the course of 33 years. In all, Liebling taught or coached 78 singers associated with the Metropolitan Opera. She also composed and published cadenzas, some of them from her Paris teacher Marchesi. Her compositions included The Estelle Liebling Book of Coloratura Cadenzas (1943), Fifteen Arias for Coloratura Soprano (1944), and The Estelle Liebling Vocal Course (1956).

[Judith S. Pinnolis (2nd ed.)]