Lebendige Vergangenheit - Lilli Lehmann

Artist Lilli Lehmann
Title Lebendige Vergangenheit - Lilli Lehmann
Release Date Sunday, August 6, 2006
Genre Classical > Choro
Composers Lilli Lehmann, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Franz Schubert, Charles Gounod, Anselm Bayly, Giuseppe Verdi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jean Baptiste Faure, Georg Friedrich Händel, Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann, Edward Grieg
Songwriter Lilli Lehmann
Copyright © Preiser Records

Promotion Text

Lebendige Vergangenheit

Likewise to Victor Maurel, Francesco Tamagno, Adelina Patti and others, the German singer Lilli Lehmann belongs to those artists who are mediators for us to the 19th century standards. As a witness „aus großer Meister Zeit", she was a truly universal artist who can only be compared with those of the top league of German singing artistry, like for example Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient. The recordings Lilli Lehmann has left behind for us are among the greatest treasures of record history. When reviewing these audio-documents, it should be taken into account that at the time of the recording the artist had long since retired from her grand stage performances; a remarkable case of 'late recordings' which transmit the impression of a perfectly intact voice. The Lilli Lehmann records possess an inexhaustible signifi­ cance as model for highest development in vocal-technique. Furthermore, she has preserved some typical, traditional styles of the past century in her performances. A characteristic of her interpretation is the strict adherence to the appoggiaturas (especially in Mozart's vocal music). Lilli Lehmann was a genuine theatrical progeny of the 19th century:, Most singer-careers, today, fall short in comparison to her course of life with all the numerous romantic events of an artistic career, which she described in her valuable memoirs (,,Mein Weg", 1913). The family environment she grew up in was typical for that period of the German 'Biedermeier' when music, theatre and opera was ever abundant. Her mother, Maria Theresia Lehmann, born Loew (1809-1885) was a well-known and excellent singer and a close friend of Richard Wagner. In her later years, she was also successful as harp virtuoso. Her father, Karl August Lehmann, was engaged for many years at the 'Würzburger Stadttheater' as tenor singer. Accordingly, Lilli and her sister, Marie (who also experienced a notable career as a singer), grew up from childhood years in the worlds of music and opera. In their early youth, they received dance and vocal training and were already performing publicly. Above all, Lilli Lehmann showed much talent playing the piano. After her father's death, the family moved to Prague where Maria Theresia Lehmann became member of the orchestra at the 'Deutsches Landestheater'. At this theatre, Lilli Lehmann made her debut in 1867 in the role of Erster Knabe in Mozart's „Zauberflöte" and only a few days later she already sang the role of Pamina. After having performed one and a half years in Prague in various stage roles (as was customary of the time, stage members performed on both stages of opera and play), she left to work for the 'Stadttheater Danzig'. She was active there for a short time, namely, throughout seven months. Her next station was Leipzig and it was from there that she was called directly to Berlin at the 'Königli­ che Oper'. From the year 1870 and for the succeeding 15 years, she belonged to this famous opera house as one of its most distinguished members. During her Berlin ope­ ra years, she was able to assert her unlimited diversity of artistic talents. There was hardly a lyrical, dramatic or coloratura role of the existing opera and operetta reper­ toire of the time that Lilli Lehmann did not sing. Her fame spread quickly and offers of splendid engagements and guest appearance-tours poured in from everywhere. In 1876 she was engaged by Richard Wagner to perform in the first festivals in Bayreuth. Her sister, Marie Lehmann (1851-1931) had already sung there previously. She had sung the soprano solo in Beethoven's ninth symphony under the direction of Richard Wagner (in 1872) for the comer-stone ceremony. Lilli Lehmann appeared on stage at the Bayreuth Festival singing in the „Ring" as Woglinde, Ortlinde and Waldvogel. Apart from this historical event in her career, she performed in a number of very well received guest appearances in London, Paris, Prague·, Stockholm and Vienna. In the year of 1886, she followed an invitation to America where she received the highest acclaim as opera and oratorio singer. Disagreements regarding vacation scheduling resulted in difficulties with the management of the 'Berliner Hoftheater'. Lilli Lehmann, despite being bound to Berlin thru a life-long contract, remained five years inAmerica. There, she not only rose to the peak of her fame but with her attention drawn to the great dramatic roles, her artistic personality acquired a new accent. After the German 'Kaiser' had forgiven her for breaking her contract, she then retumed to Germany in 1890. Subsequently, Lilli Lehmann appeared in seven further performances inAmerica, all of which were celebrated with great enthusiasm. In Germany, too, her fame rose immensely. She appeared again at the Bayreuth Festival, in 1896, this time performing in the role of Brünnhilde. Lilli Lehmann's activity at the Metropolitan Opera was of special importance to the receptivity of Wagner in America. Together with Max Alvary, Paul Kalisch (Lilli's husband), Jean de Reszke and other grand vocalists of the time, she engaged herself in the expansion of Wagner's music in America and was thouroughly successful. Apart from Richard Wagner, to whose art she devoted herself lifelong, her love and admiration for Mozart prevailed. Not only does Lilli Lehmann's commitment to Mozart document itself in her perfect role personifications (especially Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni" …