Klafsky, Katharina (1855–1896)

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Klafsky, Katharina (1855–1896)

Hungarian opera singer, primarily of Wagner. Name variations: Katharina Lohse-Klafsky. Born at Mosonszentjános (St. Johann), Wieselburg, Hungary, in 1855; died in Hamburg, Germany, on September 29, 1896; daughter of humble parents; studied in Vienna with Mathilde Marchesi, then in Leipzig with Sucher; married three times; third husband was Otto Lohse (a conductor).

While employed in Vienna as a nurserymaid, Katharina Klafsky's fine soprano voice led to her being engaged as a chorus singer and to studies with the renowned Mathilde Marchesi . Klafsky made her debut as a mezzo-soprano in Salzburg in 1875. By 1882, she had graduated from small roles and had become well known in Wagnerian roles at the Leipzig theater. She expanded her reputation at other German musical centers. In 1892, Klafsky appeared in London and enjoyed a huge success in Wagner's operas, notably as Brünnhilde and Isolde; her dramatic as well as vocal gifts were roundly praised. In 1895, Klafsky went on tour in the United States. She returned to Hamburg the following year, where she died suddenly of a brain tumor at age 41; it was said that she was at the height of her powers.

suggested reading:

Ordemann, L. Aus dem Leben und Wirken von Katharina Klafsky (A Life). Leipzig: 1903.