Margarete Matzenauer

Margarete Matzenauer

Margarete Matzenauer (1 June 1881, Temeschwar, Austria-Hungary (now Timişoara, Romania) — 19 May 1963, Van Nuys, California) was a world famous opera singer and soprano.

Born in the Banat region of Austrian parents, her father Ludwig was a conductor; her mother an opera singer. She considered herself Hungarian. She studied opera in Graz and Berlin making her debut in 1901 as "Puck" in Weber's "Oberon". She began singing major roles such as Azucena, Carmen, Mignon, Waltraute, Erda and Ortrud. She first achieved fame in Europe as an acclaimed dramatic alto and mezzo soprano. Soon she began to sing dramatic soprano parts as well; her vocal scope extended from contralto to high-dramatic soprano.

She made her debut at the Met in "Aida" on 13 November 1911 singing Amneris on opening night with a cast that also featured Emmy Destinn as Aida and Enrico Caruso as Radames, with Toscanini on the podium.

A few days later she sang in "Tristan und Isolde". She saved the day on 1 January 1912 when on a few days' notice she appeared as Kundry in the opera "Parsifal", a role she had not sung before. Matzenauer was at the Met for nineteen seasons in a wide variety of roles including Eboli in the first Met production of "Don Carlo" (1920), Santuzza, Marina in "Boris Godunov", Leonore in "Fidelio" and Brünnhilde in "Die Walküre". She sang her final Met performance 17 February 1930 as Amneris, but continued singing opera, giving concerts and teaching; one of her pupils was the diva Blanche Thebom. Her last stage appearance was in a Broadway comedy, "Vicki", in 1942.Margarete Matzenauer was married to the Italian tenor Edoardo Ferrari-Fontana and had also Italian citizenship.

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