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Rosette Anday, Mezzo-Soprano

By March 9, 2020March 19th, 2023No Comments

On September 23, 1921, Bizet’s opera Carmen was performed at the Vienna State Opera, and an unknown 18-year-old woman sang the most difficult arias of the opera. Franz Schalk, the then director of the Vienna State Opera, had heard the young singer a few months earlier in Budapest, where she studied singing at the local conservatory and took violin lessons with the composer Jenő Hubay (a very, very famous violin teacher). Schalk employed her immediately, without offering her a customary guest engagement, and, within a short time, Rosette Anday became one of the leading mezzo-sopranos of the Vienna State Opera.

The fourth movement starts at 50:49

Ode an die Freude

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere anstimmen,
und freudenvollere.
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer’s nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!
Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.
Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt’gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über’m Sternenzelt
Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen.

Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such’ ihn über’m Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muß er wohnen.

Ode to Joy

Oh friends, not these sounds!
Let us instead strike up more pleasing
and more joyful ones!
Joy, beautiful spark of divinity,
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter, burning with fervour,
heavenly being, your sanctuary!
Your magic brings together
what custom has sternly divided.
All men shall become brothers,
wherever your gentle wings hover.
Whoever has been lucky enough
to become a friend to a friend,
Whoever has found a beloved wife,
let him join our songs of praise!
Yes, and anyone who can call one soul
his own on this earth!
Any who cannot, let them slink away
from this gathering in tears!
Every creature drinks in joy
at nature’s breast;
Good and Evil alike
follow her trail of roses.
She gives us kisses and wine,
a true friend, even in death;
Even the worm was given desire,
and the cherub stands before God.
Gladly, just as His suns hurtle
through the glorious universe,
So you, brothers, should run your course,
joyfully, like a conquering hero.
Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss is for the whole world!
Brothers, above the canopy of stars
must dwell a loving father.

Do you bow down before Him, you millions?
Do you sense your Creator, O world?
Seek Him above the canopy of stars!
He must dwell beyond the stars.

There are three versions of the Lied, based on a poem by Schiller. We are listening to the second version.

Des Mädchens Klage

Der Eichwald brauset, die Wolken ziehn,
Das Mägdlein sitzet an Ufers Grün,
Es bricht sich die Welle mit Macht, mit Macht,
Und sie seufzt in finstere Nacht,
Das Auge vom Weinen getrübet.

“Das Herz is gestorben, die Welt ist leer,
Und weiter gibt sie dem Wunsche nichts mehr,
Du Heilige, ruf’ dein Kind zurück,
Ich habe genossen das irdische Glück,
Ich habe gelebt und geliebt!”

Es rinnet der Tränen vegeblicher Lauf,
Die Klage, sie wecket die Toten nicht auf;
Doch nenne, was tröstet un heilet die Brust
Nach der süssen Liebe verschwundener Lust,
Ich, die Himmlische, will’s nicht versagen.

The Maiden’s Lament

The oak forest roars, the clouds flee,
The maiden sits on the verdant shore,
The waves break with mighty force,
And she sighs into the dark night,
Her eyes dimmed with weeping.

“My heart has died, the world is empty,
And no longer yields to my desire.
Holy one, call back your child.
I have enjoyed earthy happiness,
I have lived and loved!”

Tears run their course in vain;
Lamenting does not awaken the dead;
But tell me what can console and heal the heart
When the joys of sweet love have vanished,
And I, heavenly Virgin, will not deny you.

Des Mädchens Klage

Schubert was quite young when he wrote the first version of this Lied. This version of the Lied dates from 1815. There is something about the brooding intensity of this 1815 setting that has made it hugely popular with singers. The opening two bars with upbeat bear a resemblance to the Lacrimosa of the Mozart Requiem, a work that was much in Schubert’s thoughts at the time.

This aria is sung by Sesto to Vitelia. See synopsis below.

Parto, ma tu ben mio, Sesto’s aria from La Clemenza di Tito

Parto, ma tu ben mio,
Meco ritorna in pace;
Sarò qual più ti piace,
Quel che vorrai farò.

Guardami, e tutto oblio,
E a vendicarti io volo;
A questo sguardo solo
Da me sì penserà.
Ah, qual poter, oh Dei!
Donaste alla beltà.

I go, but my dearest, Sesto’s aria from La Clemenza di Tito

I leave, but, my dearest,
make peace again with me.
I will be what you would most
have me be, do whatever you wish.

Look at me, and I will forget all
and fly to avenge you;
I will think only
of that glance at me.
Ah, you gods, what power
you have given beauty!

La Clemenza di Tito (a very brief synopsis)

Rome, first century AD. The Roman emperor Tito is in love with Berenice, daughter of the king of Judea. Vitellia, the former emperor’s daughter, feels that she should hold the throne herself and asks her young admirer Sesto to assassinate Tito. Though he is a close friend of the emperor, Sesto will do anything to please Vitellia, so he agrees.

At the forum, the Romans praise Tito. The emperor tells Annio and Sesto that since he has to take a Roman wife he intends to marry Servilia. Diplomatically, Annio assures Tito that he welcomes his decision. Tito declares that the only joy of power lies in the opportunity to help others.

In the palace, Annio tells Sesto that the emperor is still alive. When Sesto confesses his assassination attempt but refuses to give any reason, Annio advises him to admit everything to Tito and hope for forgiveness. Vitellia rushes in, begging Sesto to flee, but she is too late: a fellow conspirator has betrayed him, and Publio enters with soldiers to arrest him. Sesto asks Vitellia to remember his love.

When it is announced that Sesto has confessed and been sentenced to death by the Senate, Annio asks Tito to consider the case compassionately. The emperor will not sign the death decree until he has had the chance to question Sesto himself.
In a public square, Tito is about to pronounce Sesto’s sentence, when Vitellia appears and admits that she alone is responsible for the assassination attempt. The bewildered emperor explains that his intention was to forgive Sesto anyway. He finally decides to pardon all the conspirators. The Roman people praise Tito for his kindness and ask the gods to grant him a long life.

Ellens Gesang III (Ave Maria)

Ave Maria! Jungfrau mild,
Erhöre einer Jungfrau Flehen,
Aus diesem Felsen starr und wild
Soll mein Gebet zu dir hinwehen.
Wir schlafen sicher bis zum Morgen,
Ob Menschen noch so grausam sind.
O Jungfrau, sieh der Jungfrau Sorgen,
O Mutter, hör ein bittend Kind!
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! Unbefleckt!
Wenn wir auf diesen Fels hinsinken
Zum Schlaf, und uns dein Schutz bedeckt
Wird weich der harte Fels uns dünken.
Du lächelst, Rosendüfte wehen
In dieser dumpfen Felsenkluft,
O Mutter, höre Kindes Flehen,
O Jungfrau, eine Jungfrau ruft!
Ave Maria!

Ellen’s Song III (Ave Maria)

Ave Maria! Maiden mild!
Listen to a maiden’s entreaty
From this wild unyielding rock
My prayer shall be wafted to you.
We shall sleep safely until morning,
However cruel men may be.
O Maiden, behold a maiden’s cares,
O Mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria !

Ave Maria! Undefiled!
When we sink down upon this rock
To sleep, and your protection hovers over us,
The hard rock shall seem soft to us.
You smile, and the fragrance of roses
Wafts through this musty cavern.
O Mother, hear a suppliant child,
O Maiden, a maiden cries to you!
Ave Maria!

There is a lot of confusion around this Lied. It is extremely famous, and it has been sung in Latin as well as in German. What is little known is the origin of the poem that Schubert set to music. Sir Walter Scott was very popular in the German-speaking countries. Schubert set seven songs to his poem “The Lady of the Lake”. Rossini wrote an enormously successful opera based on this Scott poem. It is called “La donna di Lago”. The success of this opera was an inducement to Schubert to try his hand at setting the poem to music. Schubert’s work goes back to Scott’s actual words in German translation and is the biggest assemblage of songs he planned in a single opus, apart from the two Müller cycles.There are five songs for three different characters (Ellen, Norman, and Malcom) with the addition of two choral songs.The translation used above is from the German translation back to English. The Scott poem differs from the German translation. I will not go into the plot of the Scott poem. Suffice it to say that the poem is about Scottish nationalism, with characters going in and out of hiding. This Lied is sung by the character Ellen Douglas while she is hiding in a cave with her father. It is an entreaty to the Virgin Mary (all Scots were Catholic in the time of the poem). So this Lied is not the “Ave Maria” of the Catholic church, but rather, an appeal made by Ellen Douglas to the Virgin Mary. Thus the Latin words of “Ave Maria” have really nothing to do with the purpose of the Lied.

Rosette Anday

Although today, Rosette Anday is a forgotten opera singer, in her day, she was extremely popular. Rosette Anday, born in 1903 in Budapest, was a highly successful international mezzo-soprano. She died in Austria in 1977. She debuted at 18 in the role of Carmen at the Vienna State Opera and thereafter her popularity grew enormously . In Vienna, the capital of the Empire, she was sponsored by Richard Strauss himself. Among her most prominent roles are Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Amneris in Aida, Azucena in Il Trovatore and, especially, Delilah, the female protagonist in Samson and Delilah.She also sang Wagnerian roles and in Italian verismo operas.

In 1938, after the annexation of Austria, Rosette Anday was banned from performing because of her Jewish background, she lived in a “privileged mixed marriage”, but had to hide from the deportations. Shortly after the end of the war she started her new career at the Theater an der Wien .

Rosette Anday was one of the youngest chamber singer in history and one of the most dedicated opera singers ever. She won many prizes around the globe.