Seefried, Irmgard (1919–1988)

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Seefried, Irmgard (1919–1988)

German soprano. Born on October 9, 1919, in Köngetried, a small town in Swabia (southwest Bavaria); died on November 24, 1988, in Vienna, Austria; daughter of a high school teacher; married Wolfgang Schneiderhan (a violinist and concert master), in 1948; children: Barbara Maria Schneiderhan (b. January 1950).

Irmgard Seefried was born in 1919 in Köngetried, a small town in Swabia, and learned

piano, violin, and singing under her father's tutelage. After attending Albert Greiner's song-school in Augsburg, Germany, she spent five years studying at the Augsburg Conservatoire under Albert Mayer, then attended the State Academy of Music in Munich. Seefried joined the Aachen Opera under Herbert von Karajan (1939) and made her debut there in 1940 as a priestess in Verdi's Aïda. In 1943, she joined the Vienna State Opera, debuting as Eva in Die Meistersinger on May 2. During his 80th birthday celebration (June 1844), Richard Strauss chose her to sing the role of the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos, commenting after her performance, "I never knew what a good part that could be." She also sang in London, New York, Milan, Salzburg, Edinburgh, and other cities, appearing as Micaëla in Carmen, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Fiordiligi in Così Fan Tutte, Octavian, Cleopatra, Marie, and Blanche. A superb musical talent with a broad repertoire ranging from Mozart to contemporary music, Seefried gave the world premieres of a number of pieces. She was also admired as a Lieder singer.

David Paul Clarke , freelance writer, Bethesda, Maryland