Gutheil-Schoder, Marie (1874–1935)

views updated

Gutheil-Schoder, Marie (1874–1935)

German soprano. Born in Weimar, Germany, on February 16, 1874; died in Bad Ilmenau, Thuringia, on October 4, 1935; engaged by Gustav Mahler at the Vienna Staatsoper where she performed for over 25 years.

There was never agreement over Marie Gutheil-Schoder's voice. Some called her "the singer without the voice" while critic Erwin Stein contended that her voice was "the perfect instrument of a great artist." She had a long and successful vocal career, and her singing was famous for its refinement. Unfortunately, recordings do not reveal how her voice actually sounded. What is known is that Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Bruno Walter, and Lotte Lehmann held Gutheil-Schoder in very high regard. She made her debut in Weimar in 1891. After appearing elsewhere in Germany, she was engaged by Mahler at the Vienna Staatsoper where she appeared from 1900 until 1926. Richard Strauss coached her in roles for Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier which was a great honor. Gutheil-Schoder was also known for her many roles in Mozart operas.

Despite her success in traditional operatic roles, she was an adventurous singer who performed in Arnold Schoenberg's avant-garde vocal work Erwartung when it premiered in Prague in 1924. This was a particularly difficult role, as Erwartung or Expectation is a psychological drama consisting of three brief scenes followed by a long final scene. It begins with a road disappearing into a dark wood; a woman searches for her lover, fearful of the dark. In the next scene, she gropes through the wood in terror. In the final scene, she emerges exhausted and battered. A shuttered house is visible in the distance. She stumbles and discovers her lover's murdered body. This dream-like work was extremely difficult to perform and Schoenberg always preferred Gutheil-Schoder's interpretation of it. After her retirement, Marie Gutheil-Schoder continued her career as a teacher and director in Vienna and Salzburg.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia

More From

About this article

Gutheil-Schoder, Marie (1874–1935)

Updated About content Print Article Share Article

You Might Also Like