Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

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Schwarzkopf, Elisabeth

(shwärts`kôpf), 1915–2006, German lyric soprano. After studying music in Berlin she was trained by Maria Ivogün. She sang with the Berlin State Opera (1938–42) and became (1944) principal soprano at the Vienna State Opera. Schwarzkopf, who gained a reputation for subtlety and versatility in recitals, oratorios, and opera, also performed at Covent Garden, London, and La Scala, Milan. She first sang in the United States in 1953 and made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1964. She was especially known for roles in operas by MozartMozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
, 1756–91, Austrian composer, b. Salzburg. Mozart represents one of the great peaks in the history of music. His works, written in almost every conceivable genre, combine luminous beauty of sound with classical grace and technical perfection.
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 and Richard StraussStrauss, Richard
, 1864–1949, German composer. Strauss brought to a culmination the development of the 19th-century symphonic poem, and was a leading composer of romantic opera in the early 20th cent.
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 and for her lieder singing, most notably her interpretations of Hugo WolfWolf, Hugo
, 1860–1903, Austrian composer; studied at the Vienna Conservatory. From 1883 to 1887 he wrote musical criticism for the Vienna Salonblatt. As a composer he first gained attention when his songs began to be published in 1889.
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. In 1951, Schwarzkopf sang the leading role in the premiere of The Rake's Progress by Igor StravinskyStravinsky, Igor Fedorovich
, 1882–1971, Russian-American composer. Considered by many the greatest and most versatile composer of the 20th cent., Stravinsky helped to revolutionize modern music.

Stravinsky's father, an actor and singer in St.
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See biography by A. Jefferson (1997).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Schwarzkopf, Elisabeth


Born Dec. 9, 1915, in Jarotschin, near Poznań. German singer (soprano).

Schwarzkopf received her musical education at the Higher Music School in Berlin and studied voice under M. Ivagün. She made her debut in 1938 at the Berlin Municipal Opera, and from 1942 to 1951 she was a leading soloist at the Vienna State Opera. In 1948 she began to perform on the major operatic stages of Europe and America and regularly took part in the Salzburg and Bayreuth festivals. She moved to London in 1951, and for a number of years she was a soloist at Covent Garden. She left the stage in the mid-1970’s, continuing to perform in concert and to make records.

Schwarzkopf has an exceptionally versatile and pure voice of great beauty. She is also known for her sense of style and uncommon dramatic skills. She is an outstanding performer of the works of Mozart and R. Strauss.


Rubin, M. “Tri portreta.” In Sovetskaia muzyka, 1962, no. 4.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.