Lebendige Vergangenheit - Four Famous Sopranos of the Past

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Lebendige Vergangenheit

Viorica Ursuleac, the daughter of a Greek Orthodox deacon, was born on 26 March 1894 in Czernowitz. She got her musical training at the Conservatory of the City of Vienna, where her singing teacher was the well-known pedagogue Filip Forsten. Immediately after earning her performance diploma she got an engagement as an opera singer in Zagreb (1918). In 1921 she was at the Deutsches Theater in Czernowitz. At a concert she gave in Bucharest she was heard by the director of the Vienna Volksoper, Felix von Weingartner, who immediately hired her for his theatre. There she scored a series of brilliant successes between 1922 and 1926. Her Volksoper years were followed by five seasons at the opera house in Frankfurt am Main at the invitation of its director, Clemens Krauss. At this time she became acquainted with the renowned opera artist Lilli Lehmann, who provided her with valuable technical and acting advice. While in Frankfurt, she also had a guest contract with the Vienna State Opera; this led to further guest appearances and engagements there for the rest of her career. From 1931 to 1933 she was at the Dresden State Opera under the direction of Fritz Busch. In 1934 she followed Clemens Krauss to Berlin and in 1937 to Munich. She began singing at the Salzburg Festival in 1930, her roles including the Countess in "The Marriage of Figaro", Fiordiligi in "Cosl fan tutte", the Marschallin in "Der Rosen­ kavalier" and Helena in "Die ägyptische Helena". Her last appearance in Salzburg was in 1952, when she sang three of the "Four Last Songs" by Richard Strauss in an orchestral concert, accompanied - as almost always - by Clemens Krauss. After his death she ended her singing career. She taught for a few years at the Salzburg Mozarteum, but then retired to her home in the Tyrolean village of Ehrwald, where she died at the age of 91 on 22 October 1985. Hildegarde Ranczak was born on 20 December 1895 in Vitkovice, Moravia. She trained as a singer with Irene Schlemmer-Ambros at the Conservatory of the City of Vienna. Her debut was in 1919 as Pamina in "The Magic Flute" at the Düsseldorf Opera, where she remained under contract until 1923. From 1923 to 1925 she was at the Cologne Opera, and from 1926 to 1928 at the Stuttgart State Opera. She was engaged in 1928 by the Munich State Opera and remained a member of the company until 1944; she continued to appear as a guest in Munich and in 1950 she gave her farewell performance there as Carmen. There were highly successful guest appearances at many of Europe's major opera houses: the Vienna and Dresden state operas; in The Hague and Amsterdam; London's Covent Garden Opera in 1936 as Salome; the Paris Grand Opera in 1937 as Octavian in "Der Rosenkavalier"; the Rome Opera in 1940, and the Berlin State Opera. On 28 October 1942 she sang the role of Clairon in the world premiere of Richard Strauss's "Capriccio" in Munich. Stellar roles in Hildegarde Ranczak's broad repertoire included Carmen, Tosca, Salome, Octavian, the Dyer's Wife in "Die Frau ohne Schatten", Aithra in "Die ägyptische Helena" and Zdenka in "Arabella". In addition to four Telefunken records made in 1932 and two Grammophon records from 1942, there are two complete opera recordings with her in the cast: Puccini's "The Cloak" (with Peter Anders and Mathieu Ahlersmeyer) and "Tosca" (with Helge Rosvaenge and Georg Hann). Hildegarde Ranczak died in Munich in February 1987. Helena Braun was born on 20 March 1903 in Düsseldorf. She studied there and in Cologne, and made her debut in 1928 at the Stadttheater in Koblenz as an alto. In 1930 she went to the Bielefeld Stadttheater, in 1932 to the Stadttheater in Wuppertal, and in 1933 she joined the company of the State Theatre in Wiesbaden, where she stayed until 1940 and switched to high dramatic soprano roles. After 1940 she was a member of the Munich State Opera, and from 1939 to 1949 she was also engaged by the Vienna State Opera. In 1939 she sang Brünnhilde in "The Ring" at-the Zoppot Festival, andin 1941 the role of Ortrud in "Lohengrin". In 1941 she took on the role of Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni" at the Salzburg Festival and a year later the Count­ ess in "The Marriage of Figaro". Guest appearances took her to the state operas in Berlin, Hamburg and Stuttgart, to La Scala in Milan (Brünnhilde in "Die Walküre" in 1949), and to London's Covent Garden Opera. In 1950 she sang at the Grand Opera in Paris, in 1952 Brünnhilde in the Ring cycle at the Rome Opera, and in 1953 Ortrud at the Monte Carlo Opera. Helena Braun was married to the heroic baritone Ferdinand Frantz. When he got a contract from the Metropolitan Opera, she went with him to New York and sang at the Met as a guest artist, on one occasion stepping in for Helen Traubel as Brünnhilde in "Die Walküre". She was highly appreciated in dramatic roles, especially in Wagner operas. Helena Braun gave her farewell performance as Ortrud in 1959 in Munich. On 9 September 1990 she died in Sonthofen im Allgäu. Due to the wartime restrictions on the German recording industry, there are only two records from her best period. After the war she sang Ortrud in a complete recording of "Lohengrin". Radio and live recordings complete the documentation of her voice. Trude Eipperle was born on 12 August 1910 in Stuttgart. She attended the College of Music there, and in 1928 she was engaged by the Stuttgart State Opera as a trainee. In 1929 she went to the Wiesbaden State Theatre and shortly after that to the Stadttheater in Braunschweig where she broadened her repertoire. Her next engagement took …