Monday, March 12, 2012
Lotte Lehmann the legendary Marschallin
As long as the opera Der Rosenkavalier is performed, one name, other than the composer Richard Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal will always be associated with the opera and that is Lotte Lehmann. She was not the first Marschallin at the Dresden World Premiere, nor the first in Vienna. As a matter of fact, in 1910 when the opera was first performed, she was in Hamburg and wanted to sing the role of Sophie in the local premier, a role which was given to Elisabeth Schumann in the first cast and she had to settle for the second cast. She learned very quickly the role was not for her and only sang it twice. While she sung Octavian numerous times in later seasons, she was never advanced there to the role of the Marschallin. She first sung the role at Covent Garden in 1924 under the direction and coached by Bruno Walter. Her role debut there was a brilliant success! Clemens Krauss who was in charge of all things musical in Vienna refused to let her sing the role there until September of 1925 and then under the baton of Robert Heger. By then she had sung the role under Walter annually at Covent Garden and even received a coveted BBC broadcast! Her Vienna success in the role, led to her further performances at Christmas time the same year. Regular reprisals occured in 1926, 1927 and 1928. In Paris, Maria Jeritza was her Octavian! In 1929, she sung all of the Leonore's in Fidelio and they mounted Der Rosenkavalier for her as well at the Salzburg Festspiele! The rest is history!
The following 1961 video made at the Music Academy of the West when she was 73 years of age, is a Master Class on the role and stands to posterity to her ultimate artistry in the role.