schumann heink posing seated with a large fuzzy hat

Ernestine Schumann-Heink


Schubert Club Performance: February 7, 1907

Ernestine Schumann-Heink

Artist note by Richard Evidon

This incomparable Austrian (later naturalized American) contralto performed Brahms for the composer, sang under Mahler and most of the other great conductors of her time, created the role of Clytemnaestra in Strauss’s Elektra and could sing just about anything from folksongs to Wagner, including formidable coloratura. This sampling displays her exceptional range and commanding personality.

The Arditi Bolero, recorded in 1907:

“Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” from Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila (sung in German), recorded c.1915:

As Erda in Wagner’s Das Rheingold, recorded in 1929:

3 songs, including Schubert’s Erlkönig, filmed in 1927 (rare footage):

By the Waters of the Minnetonka, “An Indian Love Song” by Thurlow Lieurance, recorded c. 1930:

A priceless singing class newsreel (including her in the Brahms Lullaby starting at 4:50), filmed c. 1933:

From the Schubert Club Archive:

Artist Archive