Fremstad, Olive (1871–1951)

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Fremstad, Olive (1871–1951)

Swedish-born American mezzo-soprano. Name variations: Olive Fremstadt. Born Anna Olivia Fremstad in Stockholm, Sweden, on March 14, 1871; died in Irvington, New York, on April 21, 1951; studied in Berlin with Lilli Lehmann.

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Olive Fremstad received her early musical training as pianist, organist, and singer in Christiania, Norway (now Oslo), and continued to study music in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where her parents settled when she was 12 years old. In 1890, she studied as a contralto in New York City, and in 1893 she studied with the celebrated German singer Lilli Lehmann , who trained her as a soprano. Fremstad made her debut in grand opera at Cologne in 1895, when she sang the role of Azucena in Verdi's Il Trovatore. She was a member of the Munich Opera from 1900 to 1903 and of the Metropolitan Opera Company, New York City, from 1903 to 1914; she also sang with many other important opera companies. Fremstad was particularly noted for her interpretation of Wagnerian roles, which included those of Venus in Tannhaüser, Kundry in Parsifal, and Brünnhilde in both Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. Her most successful part was that of Isolde in Tristan und Isolde. Frenstad's repertoire also included Carmen in Bizet's Carmen and Tosca in Puccini's La Tosca; and she was celebrated for her performances as Salome in Richard Strauss' opera of the same name.