Gerster, Etelka (1855–1920)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Gerster, Etelka (1855–1920)

Hungarian singer. Born in Kaschau (Kosice), Hungary, on June 15 or 16, 1855; died in Pontecchio on August 20, 1920; married Pietro Gardini (her director), in 1877.

Etelka Gerster was born in Kaschau, Hungary, in June 1855. She studied with Mathilde Marchesi and made her debut at Venice with great success as Gilda in Rigoletto (January 1876). The following year, she married her director Pietro Gardini, and after a tour of Europe visited the United States, singing at the Academy of Music, New York, in 1878, 1883, and 1887. In 1890, when she reappeared in London, her vocal powers became suddenly impaired, and she retired from public life. She set up a singing school in Berlin which had Lotte Lehmann as one of her pupils. Gerster was one of the favorite prima donnas at the old Academy of Music. It is said that she had a voice of exquisite beauty and was an artist of extraordinary vocal and dramatic genius.