Elisabeth Höngen

Biography

A chameleon-like artist, mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Höngen covered nearly the entire spectrum of roles written for her voice register. From Lady Macbeth to Marcellina in Mozart's Figaro, from Carmen to an Orfeo of spiritual probity, she impersonated her every role with a conviction that seemed to change her very physiognomy. Possessed of neither a great voice nor outstanding personal beauty, she bewitched her collaborators on stage, the conductors Read more who worked with her, and intensely loyal audiences in Austria, Germany, and elsewhere. Not a superstar, she was an ensemble player and valued colleague. Fortunately, she recorded often and many of her finest characterizations were preserved in studio and live recordings. Even without the vocal resplendence certain other artists brought to these roles, her interpretations remain inescapably compelling.

Höngen was born in Westphalia to parents who valued music as a part of family life. She took up the violin at age six and studied piano as well. Although she had an inconsequential voice, she developed a strong desire to become a singer. Despite lessons in Wupperthal, which strengthened her instrument somewhat, it was not until after she traveled to Berlin to study with Herman Weissenborn that she found her voice developing. Learning to absorb the essence of the music and to always resist forcing, she grew into the singer who could undertake both parts requiring agility and those wanting dramatic power. Showing her parents a contract for the Wupperthal Opera melted their opposition to her having a singing career, and in 1933 she made her stage debut as Irmentraut in Lortzing's Der Waffenschmied. Höngen's scope as an interpretive artist soon led to a wide range of roles. When a production of Wagner's Ring brought a near wholesale importation of artists from the Berlin Staatsoper, she alone of the Wupperthal company was assigned major roles, singing all the principal mezzo parts, Rheingold through Götterdämmerung.

From 1935 through 1940, Höngen was at Düsseldorf before responding to a call from Dresden where she continued adding to her repertory and collaborating with Germany's most celebrated artists. In 1943, Höngen accepted an invitation to become a company member at the Vienna Staatsoper and, after a successful debut as Ortrud, remained there until her retirement in 1971. In Vienna, she sang an extensive variety of roles, undertaking Verdi (Amneris, Azucena, Eboli and Ulrica as well as Lady Macbeth) in addition to Strauss, Wagner, and Mozart. A favorite role of hers was Dorabella in Così fan tutte where her gift for comedy was afforded an incomparable setting. Among her Strauss creations, the Nurse in Die Frau ohne Schatten became as incisive an impersonation as her giddy Clairon in Capriccio. The two addled mothers in Salome and Elektra also became largely Höngen's property in Vienna and they both figured in her single season at the Metropolitan Opera in 1952. In addition to Herodias and Clitemnestre, Höngen sang her fervent Waltraute. Ten performances in all represented her entire Met career.

As disappointing as her short-lived American incursion was to her, the loyalty of the Vienna public was great comfort. She had been made a Kämmersängerin in 1947 and was equally celebrated at Salzburg (where her Orfeo was revered). During her long career, she performed with nearly every one of the great conductors (save for Toscanini). She participated with Furtwängler in his La Scala Ring in 1950 and was one of a handful of veteran artists invited to reopen the Bayreuth Festival in 1951. Read less

There are 63 Elisabeth Höngen recordings available.

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Biography

A chameleon-like artist, mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Höngen covered nearly the entire spectrum of roles written for her voice register. From Lady Macbeth to Marcellina in Mozart's Figaro, from Carmen to an Orfeo of spiritual probity, she impersonated her every role with a conviction that seemed to change her very physiognomy. Possessed of neither a great voice nor outstanding personal beauty, she bewitched her collaborators on stage, the conductors Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492 : Overture
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act I: Cinque...dieci...venti (Figaro/Susanna)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act I: Se a caso madama (Figaro/Susanna)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act I: Se vuol ballare (Figaro/Susanna)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act I: La vendetta, oh la vendetta (Bartolo)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act I: Via resti servita, madama brillante (Marcellina/Susanna)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act I: Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio (Cherubino)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act I: Cosa sento! (Conte/Basilio/Susanna)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act I: Giovani liete, fiori spargete (Coro)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act I: Non più andrai (Figaro)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act II: Porgi amor (Contessa)
Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492, Act 2: "Voi, che sapete che cosa è amor"
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act II: Venite, inginocchiatevi (Susanna)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act II: Susanna, or via sortite (Conte/Contessa/Susanna)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act II: Aprite, presto, aprite (Susanna/Cherubino)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act II: Esci omai, garzon malnato (Conte/Contessa)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act II: Signore! Cos'è quel stupore? (Susanna/Conte/Contessa/Figaro)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act II: Conoscete, signor Figaro (Conte/Figaro/Susanna/Contessa/Antonio)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act II: Voi signor, che giusto siete (Marcellina/Bartolo/Basilio/Conte/Susanna/Contessa/Figaro)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act III: Crudel! Perchè finora farmi languir cosi? (Conte/Susanna)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act III: Hai già vinta la causa!...Vedro, mentr'io sospiro (Conte)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act III: Riconosci in quest'amplesso (Marcellina/Figaro/Bartolo/Don Curzio/Conte/Susanna)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act III: E Susanna non vien?...Dove sono (Contessa)
Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492, Act 3: "Sull'aria..." (Susanna, Contessa)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act III: Ricevete, o padroncina (Coro)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act III: Ecco la marcia!....amanti! costanti! (Figaro/Susanna/Conte/Contessa/Due ragazze/Coro)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act IV: L'ho perduta, me meschina! (Barbarina)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act IV: Tutto è disosto...Aprite un po'quegl'occhi (Figaro)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act IV: Giunse alfin il momento...Deh, vieni, non tardar (Susanna)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act IV: Piano, pianin, le andrò piùpresso (Cherubino/Contessa/Conte/Susanna/Figaro)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act IV: Tutto è tranquillo e placido (Figaro/Susanna)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act IV: Pace, pace, mio dolce tesoro (Figaro/Conte/Susanna)
Le Nozze di Figaro, '(The) Marriage of Figaro', Act IV: Gente, gente, all'armi, all'armi (Tutti)
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125 'Choral' (1988 - Remaster): I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125 'Choral' (1988 - Remaster): II. Molto vivace - Presto - Molto vivace- Presto
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125 'Choral' (1988 - Remaster): III. Adagio molto e cantabile
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125 'Choral' (1988 - Remaster): - Andante moderato - Tempo I - Andante moderato - Adagio
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125 'Choral' (1988 - Remaster): IV. Presto - Allegro ma non troppo - Tempo I
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125 'Choral' (1988 - Remaster): - Presto - Recitativo - Allegro assai
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125 'Choral' (1988 - Remaster): - Allegro assai vivace. Alla marcia
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125 'Choral' (1988 - Remaster): - Andante maestoso - Adagio ma non troppo, ma divoto
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125 'Choral' (1988 - Remaster): - Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125 'Choral' (1988 - Remaster): - Allegro ma non tanto - Poco adagio - Tempo I - Poco adagio
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125 'Choral' (1988 - Remaster): - Poco allegro, stringendo il tempo, sempre più allegro - Prestissimo - Maestoso - Prestissimo
I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
II. Molto vivace
III. Adagio molto e cantabile - Andante moderato - Adagio
IV. Finale: Presto - Allegro assai
Symphony No. 9 in D minor (Choral) Op. 125 (1997 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
Symphony No. 9 in D minor (Choral) Op. 125 (1997 Digital Remaster): II. Molto vivace - Presto
Symphony No. 9 in D minor (Choral) Op. 125 (1997 Digital Remaster): III. Adagio e cantabile -Andante moderato - Adagio
Symphony No. 9 in D minor (Choral) Op. 125 (1997 Digital Remaster): IV. Presto - Prestissimo


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