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Materna, Amalie (1844–1918)

Materna, Amalie (1844–1918)

Austrian soprano . Born on July 19, 1844 (one source cites July 10, 1845), in St. Georgen, Austria; died on January 18, 1918, in Vienna, Austria; married K. Friedrich (an actor).

Amalie Materna was born in St. Georgen, in the Austrian province of Styria, on July 19,1844. The daughter of a schoolmaster, Materna made her professional debut in a performance of Suppé's Light Cavalry in Graz, Austria, in 1864. Her star rose steadily, and by 1869 she was named prima donna of the Austrian court opera in Vienna, a title she would hold until 1896.

Materna was an early admirer of the work of German composer Richard Wagner. Wagner in turn declared her the only woman capable of singing Brünnhilde in his epic The Ring of the Niebelung, and selected her to perform the part in the opera's first complete performance in Bayreuth in 1876. Materna also performed the part of Kundry in the debut of Wagner's 1882 opera, Parsifal. She toured the United States in 1884–85, during which time she made her debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera, and again in terna taught singing in Vienna, where she died on January 18, 1918.

Grant Eldridge , freelance writer, Pontiac, Michigan

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