Konetzni, Hilde (1905–1980)

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Konetzni, Hilde (1905–1980)

Austrian soprano. Born Hilde Konerczny on March 21, 1905, in Vienna; died on April 20, 1980, in Vienna; sister of soprano Anny Konetzni (1902–1968); studied at the Vienna Conservatory; married Mirko Urbanic, in 1940; children: one daughter.

Debuted at Vienna Staatsoper (1935) and joined the company; after her retirement (1974), continued to teach.

Hilde Konetzni and her sister Anny were both champion swimmers, which developed their breathing capacity and stamina. Hilde was three years younger than Anny and began her singing lessons at the New Vienna Conservatory. While Anny was engaged at the Chemnitz Opera, Hilde became a student and in 1929 was asked to take on the role of Sieglinde in Die Walküre with three days' notice, a feat she managed successfully. For three years, from 1933 to 1936, Hilde divided her time between Prague and Vienna before finally settling in her native city. Bruno Walter took her to Paris where she was cast as Donna Elvira. Anny Konetzni became jealous of her younger sister's success and tried never to appear in the same opera with her. Hilde's voice was strong, with great warmth and beauty of tone, but not enormous. She managed her voice carefully; as a result, it lasted throughout her long career, an example of vocal preservation. Hilde Konetzni lost everything in World War II, but recouped her fortunes as she was in great demand after the war. She continued to teach and perform at the Volksoper. Still in good voice, she gave her last performance in 1974.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia

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