Saturday, June 13, 2009

Absolutely Wonderful!

I'm thrilled to have come upon this brief radio recital of Brahms songs performed by the great German soprano Lotte Lehmann in 1941. The performance is interspersed with Mme. Lehmann's charming and informative synopses.

Lehmann was distinguished not only for her Lieder singing, but also for her interpretations of Wagner, Strauss, and Leonora in Beethoven's Fidelio; in fact, she was one of the few singers in recorded history who excelled equally in opera and Lieder. She emigrated to the United States in 1938, not because she was Jewish (she wasn't), but because, in spite of the fact that she was categorically opposed to Nazism, she was being recruited to be "soprano of the Third Reich." In America, she took citizenship, and became known as a prominent anti-Fascist. In later years she was renowned for her teaching.


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