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Author photo. Courtesy of the <a href="http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?TH-28913">NYPL Digital Gallery</a> (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Lotte Lehmann (1888–1976)

Author of More Than Singing: The Interpretation of Songs

Includes the names: Lette Lehmann

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Charlotte "Lotte" Lehmann was born to a middle class family in a small town near Berlin, Germany. She had private voice training with Wagnerian soprano Mathilde Mallinger and in 1910, joined the Hamburg Opera as an apprentice. She made her stage debut in a small role in "The Magic Flute." She worked her way up through the ranks of the company until her big break in 1912, when she sang the role of Elsa in "Lohengrin." Moving to the Vienna State Opera in 1914, she performed as Eva in "Die Meistersinger," and made the first of her more than 500 recordings. She made her London debut that same year at Drury Lane as Sophie in "Der Rosenkavalier." Several composers, including Giacomo Puccini, encouraged her to perform their works as her repertory, critical acclaim, and popularity as a singing actress grew. She was most closely identified with the role of the Marschallin in "Der Rosenkavlier." Vienna became her home and artistic base in 1916, but she left it for the USA following the Nazi Anschluss (annexation) of Austria in 1938. In the mid-1920s, she became romantically involved with and eventually married Otto Krause, a military officer, which caused considerable scandal because it involved a messy divorce and child custody battle. Madame Lehmann was first heard by American audiences in Chicago in 1930, in a favorite role, Sieglinde in Wagner's "The Valkeyries," and made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1934. She concentrated on performing German lieder almost exclusively from about 1940. She appeared in the 1948 Hollywood film "Big City," and gave a New York farewell concert in 1951. In retirement, Madame Lehmann settled in Santa Barbara, California, where she was a prominent teacher at the Music Academy of the West, voice coach, and master class instructor. She published novels, including Orplid, mein Land (Eternal Flight, 1938), poetry, and three volumes of autobiography. She also painted and produced drawings. She was honored with her portrait on a German postage stamp and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara was named in her honor.
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