Lotte Lehmann


Schubert Club Performance: November 6, 1936


Lotte Lehmann

Lotte Lehmann was one of the most famous German sopranos of the 20th century, a star of major opera houses including Vienna, London and New York. Richard Strauss wrote some of his most beautiful roles for her. She was also acclaimed for her recitals of German song and appeared regularly in Salzburg (where, during the 1936 festival, she discovered the Trapp Family Singers). In 1938 Lehmann emigrated to the US and settled in Santa Barbara where she taught masterclasses at the music academy she helped found in 1947. Here she is singing Schubert lieder in German recordings from 1927 and 1930:

This recording of Brahms’s German folksong setting “Da unten im Tale” was made in America in 1941 (with her regular pianist Paul Ulanowsky):

Lehmann’s most celebrated role was probably Princess Werdenberg, the “Marschallin”, in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier – pictured above on a TIME cover from February 1935 when she was singing it at the Met. Two years earlier in Vienna, she had made the opera’s first complete recording. From that still unsurpassed set, here is the Marschallin’s Monologue from Act I (begins at 21:24):

And in this film from 1961, a decade after her retirement from the stage, she coaches the role in a Santa Barbara masterclass:

Finally, here is Lotte Lehmann in a Hollywood movie from 1948, playing Danny Thomas’s mother in MGM’s The Big City and singing (irresistibly) Brahms’s Lullaby, God Bless America and more:

Artist note by Richard Evidon


From the Schubert Club Archive:

A 1936 promotional flyer provided by Lehmann’s management company

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Lehmann’s artist biography, included in her promotional flyer (above)

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Program from Lehmann’s 1936 performance

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Enthusiastic announcement in the Pioneer Press of Lehmann’s Schubert Club debut in the fall of 1936

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