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Frida Leider (1888–1975)

Author of Playing My Part

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Frida Leider was born into a poor family in Berlin, Germany, and took voice lessons while working as a bank clerk. She made her professional debut in 1915 as Venus in Wagner's "Tannhauser." She spent three years at the Hamburg State Opera and was named a principal soprano at the Berlin State Opera in 1923. She performed most of Wagner's leading ladies and was celebrated at opera houses throughout Europe. Her other dramatic roles included Verdi's "Aida," Bellini's "Norma," Donna Anna in Mozart's "Don Giovanni," and Leonore in Beethoven's "Fidelio." She made a total of about 80 recording during her career. She debuted at Convent Garden, London, in the role of Isolde in 1924 and again at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1933. She married Rudolf Demen, a violinist and concert master of the Berlin State Opera, who was Jewish, and was forced to flee Nazi Germany in 1938. After World War II, she returned to Berlin and resumed singing for a time. She was a professor at the Berlin Conservatory of Music from 1948 until 1958, and also directed several opera productions. Playing My Part, her autobiography, was published in 1959.
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