Skip to main content
ContraltoUncategorized

Sigrid Onégin, German Dramatic Contralto

By May 25, 2024No Comments

Sigrid Onégin was a Franco-German operatic dramatic contralto who enjoyed a major international career prior to World War II. She was celebrated for the richness of its tone, its flexibility, its size, and its expert coloratura technique. She also possessed a wide vocal range.

Hers was a great, great voice. I hope that you enjoy hearing her.

Saint-Saëns, Samson et Dalila, “Printemps qui commence”

Printemps qui commence,
Portant l’espérance aux cœurs amoureux,
Ton souffle qui passe de la terre efface les jours malheureux.
Tout brûle en notre âme,
Et ta douce flamme vient sécher nos pleurs;
Tu rends à la terre,
Par un doux mystère, les fruits et les fleurs.

En vain je suis belle!
Mon cœur plein d’amour,
Pleurant l’infidèle, attend son retour!
Vivant d’espérance, mon cœur désolé
Garde souvenance du bonheur passé!
A la nuit tombante,
J’irai, triste amante, m’asseoir au torrent,
L’attendre en pleurant.
Chassant ma tristesse, s’il revient un jour,
A lui ma tendresse
Et la douce ivresse,
Qu’un brûlant amour garde à son retour!

Camille Saint-Saëns, Samson et Dalila, “Spring that begins”

Spring that begins,
Bringing hope to loving hearts,
Your breath, rising over the earth, erases unhappy days.
Everything is burning in our soul,
Your sweet flame dries our tears;
You give back to the earht,
By a sweet mystery, fruits and flowers,

But, my beauty is in vain!
My heart, full of love,
Crying for the infidel, waits for his return.
Living on hope, my sorry heart
Keeps a memory of happier times!
At the falling of the night,
I will go, sad lover, sit by the stream,
And while crying, wait for him.
My grief will vanish, if he returns one day,
My tenderness is his,
And the sweet intoxication,
Of a burning love awaiting his return.

There are some lines cut in the audio. This was probably due to the amount of space that was available at that time to record in.

Donizetti, La Favorita, “O mio Fernando”

Fia dunque vero, oh ciel?
Desso, Fernando, lo sposo di Leonora!
Ah! Tutto me dice,
e dubbia è l’alma ancora
all’inattesta gioia!
Oh Dio! Sposarlo?
Oh mia vergogna estrema!
In dote al prode recar il disonor –
no, mai; dovesse esecrarmi, fuggir,
saprà in brev’ ora chi sia la donna
che cotanto adora.

O mio Fernando! Della terra il trono
a possederti avria donato il cor;
ma puro l’amor mio come il perdono,
dannato, ahi lassa! è a disperato orror.
Il ver fia noto, e in tuo dispegio estremo,
la pena avrommi che maggior si de’, ah!
Se il giusto tuo disdegno allor fia scemo,
piombi, gran Dio, la folgor tua su me!

Su, crudeli, e chi v’arresta?
Scritto è in cielo il mio dolor!
Su, venite, ell’ è una festa;
sparsa l’ara sia di fior.
Già la tomba a me s’appresta;
ricoperta in negra vel sia la trista fidanzata,
che reietta, disperata, non avrà perdono in ciel.
Maledetta, disperata, non avrà perdono in ciel.

Ah! crudeli, e chi v’arresta?
Scritto in cielo è il mio dolor.
Crudeli, venite.
Ah! la trista fidanzata non avrà perdono in ciel.

Donizetti, The Favorite, “Oh, my Fernando”

So is it true, oh heaven?
Now, Fernando, Leonora’s husband!
Ah! Everything tells me,
and the soul is still doubtful
to the unexpected joy!
Oh God! Marry him?
Oh my extreme shame!
As a gift to the brave, bring dishonor –
never; he should abhor me, flee,
he will soon know who the woman is
whom he loves so much.

O my Fernando! The throne of the earth
to possess you I would have given my heart;
but my love is as pure as forgiveness,
damned, ah weary! it’s a desperate horror.
The truth will be known, and to your extreme dismay,
I will suffer the greatest punishment, ah!
If your just disdain becomes stupid,
May your lightning fall upon me, great God!

Come, cruel ones, and who will stop you?
My pain is written in heaven!
Come, it’s a fête;
the altar is scattered with flowers.
Already the tomb is being preparing for me;
covered in a dark veil be the sad fiancée,
that outcast, desperate, will not have forgiveness in heaven.
Cursed, desperate, she will not have forgiveness in heaven.

Ah! cruel, and who will arrest you?
My pain is written in heaven.
Cruel ones, come.
Ah! the sad fiancée will not have forgiveness in heaven.

Gluck, Orfeo ed Euridice, “Che farò senza Euridice?”

 

Che farò senza Euridice?
Dove andrò senza il mio ben?
Che farò?
Dove andrò?
Che farò senza il mio ben?
Dove andrò senza il mio ben?

Euridice! Euridice!
O Dio! Rispondi!
Rispondi!

Io son pure il tuo fedele!
Io son pure il tuo fedel, il tuo fedele!

Che farò senza Euridice?
Dove andrò senza il mio ben?
Che farò?
Dove andrò?
Che farò senza il mio ben?
Dove andrò senza il mio ben?

Euridice! Euridice!
Ah! Non m’avanza
più soccorso, più speranza
nè dal mondo, nè dal ciel!

Che farò senza Euridice?
Dove andrò senza il mio ben?
Che farò?
Dove andrò?
Che farò senza il mio ben?
Dove andrò?
Che farò?
Che farò senza il mio ben?
Senza il mio ben?
Senza il mio ben?

Gluck, Orpheus and Eurydice, “What shall I do without Eurydice?”

What shall I do without Eurydice?
Where shall I go without my beloved?
What shall I do?
Where shall I go?
What shall I do without my beloved?
Where shall I go without my beloved?

Eurydice! Eurydice!
Oh God, Respond!
Respond!

I am entirely your loyal one!
I am entirely your loyal one, your loyal one!

What shall I do without Eurydice?
Where shall I go without my beloved?
What shall I do?
Where shall I go?
What shall I do without my beloved?
Where shall I go without my beloved?

Eurydice! Eurydice?
Ah, nothing is forthcoming
No more help, no more hope
Neither from this world, nor from heaven!

What shall I do without Eurydice?
Where shall I go without my beloved?
What shall I do?
Where shall I go?
What shall I do without my beloved?
Where shall I go?
What shall I do?
What shall I do without my beloved?
Without my beloved?
Without by beloved?

There are some lines cut in the audio. This was probably due to the amount of space that was available at that time to record in.

Meyerbeer, Le prophète, “Ô prêtres de Baal”

FIDÈS
O prêtes de Baal,
Où m’avez-vous conduit?
Quoi! Les murs d’un cachot!
Ah! L’on retient mes pas
quand de mon fils
Berthe veut le trépas
mon fils! il n’est plus!
Il renia de sa mère
que sur son front coupable
éclate ta colère,
frappe, frappe, toi qui punis
tous les enfants ingrats!
Non, non, non, grâce,
grâce pour lui!

O toi qui m’abandonnes,
mon cœur, mon cœur est désarmé,
est désarmé;
ta mère te pardonne,

(pleurant)

Adieu, adieu, adieu, adieu!
Mon pauvre enfant!
Mon bien-aimé soit pardonné!
Sois pardonné!
Je t’ai donné mon cœur,
je t’ai donné mes vœux,
et maintenant, maintenant
pour que tu sois heureux,
pour que tu sois heureux,
je te donne ma vie,
et mon âme ravie
t’attendra dans les cieux!
Ah! O toi qui m’abandonnes, etc.

(d’une voix suffoquée par l’émotion)
Il va venir!… Je le vais à voir!…¡Hélas!
Bien coupable peut-être! Dieu! Dieu!

(avec exaltation)

Comme un éclair se précipité
dans son âme,
frappe mon fils, ô vérité,
de ta flamme!
Frappe mon fils, etc.
Qu’il soit dompté
comme l’airain par le feu!
Ah! comme un éclair, etc.
Céleste flamme,
touche enfin son âme!
Sainte phalange,
rends-lui son ange,
esprit divin, descend vainqueur,
descend, descend vainqueur
sainte phalange, etc.
De tes rayons perce son cœur,
son cœur;
et de crime, sous ses pas,
l’abîme noir ne s’ouvre pas!
Comme un éclair!
Je ramène mon enfant,
mon enfant au Dieu sauveur,
au Dieu sauveur!

Meyerbeer, The Prophet, “Oh, Priests of Baal”

FIDÈS
O priests of Baal,
Where have you taken me?
What! The walls of a dungeon!
Ah! They hold my steps
when of my son
Berthe wants death
my son! He is not anymore!
He disowned his mother
that on his guilty forehead
let out your anger,
strike, strike, you who punish
all the ungrateful children!
No, no, no, thanks,
thanks for him!

O you who abandon me,
my heart, my heart is disarmed,
is disarmed;
your mother forgives you,

(crying)

Farewell, farewell, farewell, farewell!
My poor child!
My beloved be forgiven!
Be forgiven!
I gave you my heart,
I gave you my wishes,
and now, now
so that you are happy,
so that you are happy,
I give you my life,
and my soul delighted
will be waiting for you in heaven!
Ah! O you who abandon me, etc.

(in a voice choked with emotion)
He’s going to come!… I’m going to see him!…Alas!
Very guilty perhaps! God! God!

(with exaltation)

Like lightning rushed
in his soul,
strike my son, oh truth,
of your flame!
Hit my son, etc.
Let him be tamed
like brass by fire!
Ah! like lightning, etc.
Heavenly flame,
finally touches his soul!
Holy phalanx,
give him back his angel,
divine spirit, descend victorious,
go down, go down victorious
holy phalanx, etc.
Your rays pierce his heart,
his heart;
and crime, under his feet,
the black abyss does not open!
Like lightning!
I’m bringing my child back,
my child to God our savior,
to the Savior God!

Sigrid Onégin
June 1, 1889 – June 16, 1943

The noted German contralto, Sigrid Onégin (née Hoffmann), was born in Stockholm to a German father and a French mother. She studied in Frankfurt am Main with Resz, in Munich with E.R. Weiss, and with di Ranieri in Milan.

After her parents’ divorce she and her mother moved to Wiesbaden/Germany. Although her talent for singing was evident at an early age she had to work as a secretary to support her mother. Sigrid Onégin made her first public appearance, under the name Lilly Hoffmann in Wiesbaden in September 1911. Her accom paniest was the Russian pianist and composer Baron Eugen Borisowitsch Lhwoff Onégin . She married him in May 1913. After his death, she married a German doctor, Fritz Penzoldt in November 1920. She made her first operatic appearance as Carmen in Stuttgart in October 1912. She made her first appearance in London in 1913, and was a member of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich from 1919 to 1922. In November 1922, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York as Amneris, continuing on its roster until 1924. She subsequently sang in Berlin (1926-31), at London’s Covent Garden (1927), the Salzburg Festivals (1931-1932), in Zürich (1931-1935), and at the Bayreuth Festivals (1933-1934). She made her last appearances in the USA as a recitalist in 1938.

Among her most distinguished roles were Gluck’s Orfeo, Eboli, Fidès, Erda, Lady Macbeth, Fricka, Waltraute, and Brangäne.