Erna Berger

Biography

Born: October 19, 1900; Cossebaude   Died: June 14, 1990; Essen, Germany  
At a time when many high sopranos offered nothing more than a steam whistle sound, the cool, pure timbre of Erna Berger's instrument fell upon the ears as a balm. Though not large, her instrument had sufficient carrying power to be heard in Europe's largest theaters and not get lost even in the open spaces of the old Metropolitan Opera where she sang briefly beginning in 1949. Trim and petite, she remained a credible stage figure into her fifties Read more and retained to the end of her career the firmness and clarity of tone which had brought her acclaim at an early age. She was an accomplished recitalist and concert singer as well, excelling in the art of German song and such concert works as Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Born near Dresden, Berger moved with her family to Paraguay when very young, and was reared there on a farm cleared from the jungle. In her late teens, she worked as a governess to earn funds which would allow her to study voice in Dresden. She trained there with Melizza Hirzel and, in auditioning for a scholarship, was heard by conductor Fritz Busch who engaged her forthwith. Berger made her opera debut at the Dresden Opera in 1925 as the First Boy in Die Zauberflöte. There, she sang numerous roles, many of them in the Italian and French repertories. When she moved on to Berlin, her reputation grew enormously and conductors throughout Europe began to regard her as indispensable for many of the coloratura roles, such as Zerbinetta, the Queen of the Night, and Konstanze.

From 1930 to 1933, Berger was engaged at the Bayreuth Festival, her Shepherd in Tannhäuser and Woodbird in Siegfried being regarded as definitive. The former role is preserved in the legendary Tannhäuser recorded at Bayreuth in 1930 with Maria Müller, Herbert Janssen, and Ivar Andrésen. Her Salzburg debut came in 1932 when she sang Blondchen in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail; she continued to sing there until 1954 when her Zerlina still appeared and sounded youthful.

On April 30, 1934, she appeared for the first time on a London stage when her Marzelline, described as "enchanting," was heard with Lotte Lehmann, Franz Völker, and Alexander Kipnis. Her Woglinde in Das Rheingold was likewise praised as was her Woodbird. A return engagement was arranged for the following year and, in 1938, Berger was finally available to perform Konstanze (Sir Thomas Beecham has insisted on her). She also sang the Queen of the Night and Sophie in Rosenkavalier. Although her Konstanze was deemed lightweight, it was, according to Francis Toye, "technically first rate." Similar views were expressed about her Queen: well sung, if somewhat lacking the daemonic element. Her Sophie, however, brought no reservations whatever. When Berger returned in 1949, her Queen was more fully appreciated and the public and the critics received both her Sophie and Gilda with unreserved delight.

Rosenkavalier was the opera in which Berger was introduced to the Metropolitan Opera audience on November 21, 1949. Described by Irving Kolodin as "a wonderfully pure, well-phrased Sophie," Berger went on to sing other such specialties as Gilda and the Queen of the Night. From composer/critic Virgil Thomson she won this praise: "She is one of the great sources of musical satisfaction in our time." Read less

Biography

Born: October 19, 1900; Cossebaude   Died: June 14, 1990; Essen, Germany  
At a time when many high sopranos offered nothing more than a steam whistle sound, the cool, pure timbre of Erna Berger's instrument fell upon the ears as a balm. Though not large, her instrument had sufficient carrying power to be heard in Europe's largest theaters and not get lost even in the open spaces of the old Metropolitan Opera where she sang briefly beginning in 1949. Trim and petite, she remained a credible stage figure into her fifties Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
Overture
Act I: Dart mit nachtig dustren Traumen (Servants, Nancy, Lady)
Act I: Recitative and Duet: Teure Lady! - Von den edlen Kavalieren (Nancy, Lady)
Act I: Gnaden Tristan Mickleford! (3 Servants, Lady) - Trio: Schone Lady und Cousine (Tristan, Lady, Nancy, Maids, Chorus)
Act I: Act I: Madchen, brav und treu (Chorus)
Act I: Duet: Wie das schnattert - Ja, seit fruher Kindheit Tagen (Plumkett, Lyonel)
Act I: Finale: Der Markt beginnt! - Ich kann mahen (Chorus, Sheriff, 3 Maids)
Act I: Finale: Vorwarts, Bob - Recitative: Wetter, ein paar schmucke Kinder! - Ich kann mahen (Lady, Nancy, Tristan, Plumkett, Lyonel, Maids, Tenants)
Act I: Finale: Quartet: Sieh nur, wie sie uns betrachten! (Lady, Nancy, Plumkett, Lyonel)
Act II: Entr'acte and Quartet: Nur naher, blode Madchen - Madels, dort ist eure Kammer! (Plumkett, Lyonel, Lady, Nancy)
Act II: Quartet: Was soll ich dazu sagen? (Lyonel, Plumkett, Nancy, Lady)
Act II: Duet: Nancy! Julia! Verweile! - Blickt sein Auge doch so ehrlich (Lady, Lyonel)
Act II: Letzte Rose, wie magst du so einsam hier bluhn - ! Herr! - Lass mich dir sagen (Lady, Lyonel)
Act II: Warte nur, das sollst du bussen! - Schlafe wohl - Und mag dich reuen (Plumket, Nancy)
Act II: Recitative and Trio: Nancy! Lady! Was nun weiter? - Fort von hinnen, lasst uns eilen (Lady, Nancy, Tristan)
Act III: Entr'acte and Porter Song: Lasst mich euch fragen (Plumkett, Chorus)
Act III: Horch, die Jagdfanfaren tonen - Auch wir Frau'n (Chorus, Plumkett, Ladies)
Act III: Blitz! Die wilde Jagd (Plumkett, Nancy, Chorus)
Act III: Darum pfluck icho Rose - Wo war ich? (Lyonel)
Act III: Aria: Ach so fromm, ach so traut (Lyonel)
Act III: Finale: Die Herrin rastet dort - Hier im Grun der schatt' gen Baum - Diese Stimme! - Ha! der Frechheit (Tristan, Lady, Lyonel, Chorus, Plumkett, Nancy)
Act III: Quintet: Mag der Himmel euch vergeben (Lyonel, Lady, Nancy, Plumkett, Tristan, Chorus)
Act IV: Recitative and Duet: Lady! My Lady! Trauer Freund (Nancy, Plumkett, Lady) - Duet: Der Lenz ist gekommen (Lady, Lyonel)
Act IV: Recitative and Duet: Fasst euch, Lady! (Nancy, Plumkett, Lady) - Duet: Ja, was nun? (Plumkett, Nancy)
Act IV: Finale: Hier die Buden, dort die Schenke - Seht, dort naht er - Jetzt, ihr Freunde - Ich kann entsagen (Chorus, Lady, Ladies, Men, Nancy, Maids, Tenants, Plumkett, Lyonel)
Act I: Prelude
Act I: Della mia bella incognita borghese (Duke, Borsa)
Act I: Questa o quella (Duke)
Act I: Gran nuova! gran nuova! (Duke, , Countess Ceprano)
Act I: Ch'io gli parli (Monterone, Duke, )
Act I: Quel vecchio maledivami! (, Sparafucile)
Act I: Pari siamo! ()
Act I: Ah! veglia, o donna (, Gilda)
Act I: Giovanna, ho dei rimorsi (Gilda, Giovanna, Duke)
Act : E il sol dell'anima (Duke, Gilda)
Act I: Gualtier Malde ... Caro nome (Gilda, Borsa, Ceprano, Marullo)
Act I: Riedo! perche? (, Borsa, Countess Ceprano)
Act I: Zitti, zitti (Chorus, Gilda)
Overture
Act I Scene 1: Introduzione: Notte e giorno faticar - Recitative: Leporello, ove sei? (Leporello, Donna Anna, Don Giovanni, Il Commendatore)
Act I Scene 1: Recitative: Ah del padre in periglio (Donna Anna, Don Ottavio)
Act I Scene 2: Recitative: Orsu, spiciati presto (Don Giovanni, Leporello)
Act I Scene 2: Aria: Ah, chi mi dice mai (Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni, Leporello)
Act I Scene 2: Aria: Madamina, il catalogo e questo (Leporello, Donna Elvira)
Act I Scene 3: Coro: Giovinette che fate all'amore - Manco sale e partita (Zerlina, Masetto, Chorus, Don Giovanni, Leporello)
Act I Scene 3: Aria: Ho capito, Signor, si! (Masetto, Don Giovanni, Zerlina)
Act I Scene 3: Duettino: La ci darem la mano - Fermati, scellerato! (Zerlina, Don Giovanni, Donna Elvira)
Act I Scene 3: Aria: Ah! Fuggi il traditor! (Donna Elvira)
Act I Scene 3: Recitative: Mi par che oggi il demonio (Don Giovanni, Don Ottavio, Donna Anna)
Act I Scene 3: Aria: Or sai chi l'onore (Donna Anna)
Act I Scene 3: Recitative: Come mai creder deggio (Don Giovanni, Don Ottavio)
Act I Scene 3: Recitative: Io deggio ad ogni patto (Leporello, Don Giovanni)
Act I Scene 3: Finch'han dal vino, "Champagne Aria" (Don Giovanni)
Act I Scene 4: Recitative: Masetto, senti un po! (Zerlina, Massetto)
Act I Scene 4: Aria: Batti, batti, o bel Masetto (Zerlina)
Act I Scene 4: Recitative: Guarda un po' come seppe (Masetto, Don Giovanni, Zerlina, Donna Elvira, Don Ottavio, Donna Anna, Leporello)
Act I Scene 5: Riposate, vezzose ragazze (Don Giovanni, Masetto, Zerlina, Leporello, Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, Don Ottavio)
Act II Scene 1: Duetto: Eh via, buffone, non mi seccar! (Don Giovanni, Leporello)
Act II Scene 1: Terzetto: Ah taci ingiusto core (Donna Elvira, Leporello, Don Giovanni)
Act II Scene 1: Recitative: V'e gente alla finestra (Don Giovanni, Masetto)
Act II Scene 1: Aria: Vedrai, carino (Zerlina)
Act II Scene 2: Recitative: Di molte faci il lume (Leporello, Donna Elvira, Donna Anna, Zerlina, Don Ottavio, Masetto)
Act II Scene 2: Aria: Il mio tesoro intanto (Don Ottavio)
Act II Scene 2: Recitativo accompagnato ed Aria: In quali eccessi - Mi tradi quell'alma ingrata (Donna Elvira)
Act II Scene 3: Recitative: Ah, ah, ah questa buona (Don Giovanni, Leporello, Il Commendatore)
Act II Scene 4: Recitative: Calmatevi, idol mio! (Don Ottavio, Donna Anna)
Act II Scene 5: Gia la mensa e preparata (Don Giovanni, Leporello, Donna Elvira)
Act II Scene 5: Don Giovanni, a cenar teco (Il Commendatore, Don Giovanni, Leporello, Chorus)
Act II Scene 16: Ah dove e il perfido (Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, Zerlina, Don Ottavio, Masetto, Leporello)
Overture
Act One: Zu Hilfe! Zu Hilfe!
Act One: Der Vogelfanger Bin Ich Ja
Act One: Dies Bildnis Ist Bezaubernd Schon
Act One: O Zitt're Nicht, Mein Lieber Sohn!
Act One: Hm, Hm,Hm, Hm!
Act One: Du Feines Taubchen, Nur Herein!
Act One: Bei Mannern, Welche Liebe Fuhlen
Act One: Zum Ziele Fuhrt Dich Dise Bahn
Act One: Wie Stark Ist Nicht Dein Zauberton
Act One: Schnelle Fusse, Rascher Mut
Act One: Es Lebe Sarastro, Sarastro Lebe!
Act One: Herr, Ich Bin Zwar Verbrecherin
Act Two: March Of The Priests
Act Two: O Isis Und Osiris
Act Two: Bewahret Euch Vor Weibertucken
Act Two: Wie, Wie, Wie?
Act Two: Alles Fuhlt Der Liebe Freuden
Act Two: Der Holle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen
Act Two: In Diesen Heil'gen Hallen
Act Two: Seid Uns Zum Zweiten; Mal Willkommen
Act Two: Ach, Ich Fuhl's
Act Two: O Isis Und Osiris,Welche Wonne!
Act Two: Soll Ich Dich, Teurer, Nich Mehr Sehn?
Act Two: Ein Madchen Oder Weibchen
Act Two: Bald Prangt, Den Morgen Zu Verkunden
Act Two: Der, Welcher Wandelt Diese Strasse
Act Two: Tamino Mein! O Welch Ein Gluck!
Act Two: Ihr Gotter, Welch Ein Augenblick! ... Triumph, Triumph, Du EdlesPaar!
Act Two: Papagena! Papagena! Papagena!
Act Two: Pa-pa-gena! Pa-pa-geno!
Act Two: Nur Stille, Stille, Stille,Sstille! ... Die Strahlen Der Sonne Vertrieben Die Nacht
Overture
Act I: Darf mit nachtig dustren Traumen (Servants, Nancy, Lady)
Act I: Recitative and Duet: Teure Lady! - Von den edlen Kavalieren (Nancy, Lady)
Act I: Gnaden Tristan Mickleford! (3 Servants, Lady) - Trio: Schone Lady und Cousine (Tristan, Lady, Nancy, Maids, Chorus)
Act I: Madchen, brav und treu - Wohlgemut, junges Blut (Farmers, Maids, Farmers)
Act I: Duet: Wie das schnattert - Ja, seit fruher Kindheit Tagen (Plumkett, Lyonel)
Act I: Finale: Der Markt beginnt! - Ich kann mahen (Chorus, Sheriff, 3 Maids)
Act I: Finale: Vorwarts, Bob - Recitative: Wetter, ein paar schmucke Kinder! - Ich kann mahen (Lady, Nancy, Tristan, Plumkett, Lyonel, Maids, Tenants)
Act I: Finale: Quartet: Sieh nur, wie sie uns betrachten! - Nun furwahr (Lady, Nancy, Plumkett, Lyonel) - Hier, da nehmt die Abstandssumme! (Tristan, Plumkett, Lady, Nancy, Lyonel, Sheriff, Chorus)
Act II: Entr'acte and Quartet: Nur naher, blode Madchen - Madels, dort ist eure Kammer! (Plumkett, Lyonel, Lady, Nancy)
Act II: Quartet: Was soll ich dazu sagen? (Lyonel, Plumkett, Nancy, Lady)
Act II: Duet: Nancy! Julia! Verweile! - Blickt sein Auge doch so ehrlich (Lady, Lyonel)
Act II: Folksong: Letzte Rose, wie magst du so einsam hier bluhn - ! Herr! (Lady, Lyonel)
Act II: Warte nur, das sollst du bussen! (Plumket, Nancy) - Notturno: Mitternacht! Schlafe wohl! (Lady, Nancy, Lyonel, Plumkett)
Act II: Recitative and Trio: Nancy! Lady! Was nun weiter? - Fort von hinnen, lasst uns eilen (Lady, Nancy, Tristan)


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