Thursday, 3 August 2006, 20:23 GMT 21:23 UK
Soprano Schwarzkopf dies aged 90
Dame Elisabeth was one of the most admired singers of her time
Renowned German soprano Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf has died at the age of
The singer, who was born in Jarotschin in what is now Poland, trained in
Berlin and Leicester, and sang with the Berlin State Opera from 1938 to
1942. She became principal soprano of the Vienna State Opera in 1944, and
later performed at the Royal Opera in London and La Scala in Milan.
She retired from the stage in 1971, and was made a Dame Commander of the
British Empire in 1991. Dame Elisabeth was one of the most admired singers
of the 20th Century, equally famous for her operatic performances and her
Her specialties included the works of Mozart, Schubert and Hugo Wolf, and
she was particularly associated with the role of Marschallin in Richard
Strauss's comic opera Der Rosenkavalier.
In 1951, she sang the leading role in the premiere of The Rake's Progress by
She gave her first American performance, a recital at Carnegie Hall, in 1953
and made her operatic debut with the San Francisco Opera in 1955.
After retiring Dame Elisabeth gave master classes on British television She
also sang with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, from 1964 until 1966.
The soprano wed Walter Legge, artistic director of EMI records and a founder
of the London Philharmonic, in 1951, and they remained married until his
death in 1979.
In 1982, she published her husband's memoirs, Walter Legge: On and Off the
Record. By this stage, Dame Elisabeth had already retired from regular stage
performances, and only made occasional appearances at recitals. After her
retirement, she taught and gave master classes at the Julliard School in the
US, and on British Television.
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