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Maria Ivogün, Hungarian Soprano

By February 22, 2024No Comments

Today, Maria Ivogün is considered to have been one of the best and most distinguished female opera singers of the 20th century. She was also a well known teacher. The recordings posted here are from around 1916. They have been remastered to remove surface noise. Consequently, a lot of the voice has also been removed, and we don’t hear many of the overtones in Ivogün’s voice. I generally don’t like these types of remasterings for the reasons above. What you can hear is very good pitch, excellent colatura, and very good legato. Ivogün also has excellent breath control and is expressive. But you will have to listen through mediocre sound to hear any of this.

Bellini, La Sonnambula, “Ah, non giunge”

Ah, non giunge uman pensiero
al contento ond’io son piena:
a miei sensi io credo appena;
tu m’affida, o mio tesor!

Ah, mi abbraccia, e sempre insieme,
sempre uniti in una speme,
della terra, in cui viviamo
ci formiamo un ciel d’amor…

Bellini, La Sonnambula, “Human thought can’t manage”

Ah, human thought can’t manage
(To grasp) the depth of my happiness:
I can barely believe my own senses;
You do trust me, oh my darling!

Ah, hold me and, always together,
Always united in a single hope,
From this land in which we live
We shall build a Heaven of love…

Compare with Callas.

Donietti, Lucia di Lammermoor, “Splendon le sacri faci”

Ardon gli incensi…splendon
le sacre faci, splendon intorno!
Ecco il Ministro! Porgimi
la destra…Oh, lieto giorno!
Alfin son tua, alfin sei mio,
a me ti dona un Dio.

Ogni piacer più grato,
mi fia con te diviso,
Del ciel clemente un riso
la vita a noi sarà!

Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor, “The sacred torches”

The incense is burning – the sacred
torches are glowing all around!
Here is the minister! Give me
your hand…Oh, happy day!
At last I am yours, at last you are mine,
God has given you to me.

Every rare pleasure
I shall share with you.
Life for us will be
a gentle smile from heaven.

Compare with Callas.

Maria Ivogün
November 18, 1891–October 3, 1987

Maria Ivogün was the leading coloratura soprano of German opera in the period between the World Wars. She was born Maria Kempner in Budapest on Nov. 18, 1891. Her stage name was a construction based on the name of her mother, Ida von Gunther, a well-known operetta singer.

Ivogün made her debut as Mimi in ”La Boheme” in 1913, under the direction of Bruno Walter in Munich. She quickly became one of the most popular singers on the German scene, a position she maintained for two decades. Guest appearances took her to the leading opera houses of New York, Chicago, London and Milan. Her artistic home base remained Munich until 1925, when she followed Walter to Berlin.

Her principal roles were Susanna in ”The Marriage of Figaro,” the Queen of the Night in ”The Magic Flute” and the leading female parts in ”The Barber of Seville,” ”Rigoletto,” ”Don Pasquale” and other operas. She was the first to sing Zerbinetta in the revised version of Richard Strauss’ ”Ariadne auf Naxos.”

At the time of her second marriage she retired from singing and began a long and notable career as a teacher. Among her many successful pupils were the sopranos Rita Streich and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. The latter maintained close contact with Ivogün and continued to consult her on pedagogical issues to the end of her life.