Olga Maria Elisabeth Frederike Schwarzkopf, b. Dec. 9, 1915
August 5, 2006 6:08 AM   Subscribe

An Aryan's Aryan (damn few Nordics, let alone humans in general, have golden hair like hers, and had typical de-Nazification problems post WWII); often mannered and arch; but we're still waiting for a comparable Marschallin or Donna Elvira to be born.

Personal favorite (this is no big secret discovery, and is still available,) Hugo Wolf lieder recital with Furtwangler at the piano. Schwarzkopf was a diva all senses, not all of them good, though hardly surprising considering her gifts and intensity. Nevertheless in this recital she is matched with at least an equal and is in somewhat more subdued form than usual, while the performance (highly unusual for lieder) is clearly being led from the keyboard. Five stars.

posted by jfuller at 6:10 AM on August 5, 2006

She famously selected eight of her own recordings for Desert Island Discs.
posted by matthewr at 6:57 AM on August 5, 2006

Can I just complain about a single-link post, please? Oh, wait, I already did.
posted by imperium at 7:55 AM on August 5, 2006

Fascinating woman, wonderful voice - I must admit that until she died I only knew of her as Desert Island Discs legend and one-time Nazi party member.

Can I just complain about a single-link post, please? Oh, wait, I already did.

posted by jack_mo at 8:09 AM on August 5, 2006

A little more about her. May she rest in peace.
posted by nickyskye at 8:23 AM on August 5, 2006

> Can I just complain about a single-link post, please? Oh, wait, I already did.

No you may not, not without arousing mass laughter at your expense. There are hundreds of obits for this woman already. For instance the BBC, the Guardian, the NYT, the LA Times, the Washington Post. Schwarzkopf is a Very Big Name--among musically literate people. Bestir yourself if you're interested, or don't. Complaining about a single link to the London Times in a case like this is about like complaining about a single link to the announcement of Castro's death or the aliens landing or the Second Coming. (Won't that be a surprise, heh.)
posted by jfuller at 8:35 AM on August 5, 2006

but we're still waiting for a comparable Marschallin or Donna Elvira to be born.

funny because Lisa Della Casa has been born since, like, 1920 or something, and most of us have noticed.

see, it's just wrong to fetishize Giulini's Don Giovanni (his Nozze is a much better record), especially as far as Schwarzkopf is concerned (I say this as an unabashed Giulini lover). she certainly was a striking Marschallin, and a very beautiful woman (who chose the right husband). but she never got rid of certain vocal limitations that really make her cult a bit, well, baffling. she made the most of the voice she had -- using very smart pianissimi to mask her small voice. and her diction was not exactly perfect. of course people end up loving singers for their limitations, in a way, but I've been reading some baffling, even ridiculous stuff about Schwarzkopf these last two days.

and as a Hugo Wolf ultra-fan, I have to say that Waltraud Meier, last January, at La Scala, did an incredible recital. I just don't have a Schwarzkopf fetish -- and Furtwangler's fixation for her does not surprise me, he didn't have the best ear for singers, especially late in his career. it was all about HIM, in the end, Herr Doktor Furtwangler

having said that, I like her Vier letzte Lieder record, too. and I was very sorry to see her leave us.

posted by matteo at 11:39 AM on August 5, 2006

Divas Caption Contest™

"Go fetch me another cup of coffee, Lisa, please... SCHNELL!"

posted by matteo at 11:46 AM on August 5, 2006

OK, props to Della Casa, no argument about that. She also recorded a Vier Letzte Lieder, with Bohm (as I'm sure you know) that I've heard is very great, but I don't have it and can only find it now on a big expensive DGG multi-CD Bohm collection with a lot of other stuff I don't want. Oh well, it'll reappear one day in a different format because everything eventually reappears.


Heh. Matteo, you're so implacabile. Mellow, man, lower yer blood pressure.

posted by jfuller at 12:32 PM on August 5, 2006

I often send in post with one link. Though some at this site thing this lame, I have seen posts with 6 links that send the mind reeling and make too much work to bother going through the post. So there. The singer's reputation seriously damaged because of Nazi synmpathies and I recall that she lost her American audience because so many people chose not to go to her shows or listen to her music. Not a formal boycott but rather folks making individual decisions.
posted by Postroad at 12:52 PM on August 5, 2006

Single link obit-filter posts are killing MetaFilter.
posted by Eideteker at 1:06 PM on August 5, 2006

> Not a formal boycott but rather folks making individual decisions.

People in general are pretty implacabile, come to that. If it was Dr. Mengele that's one thing. But an entry-level singer at the Berlin Opera? Silly. I myself take Cardinal Wolsey's attitude toward John Taverner (English, 1495-1545.) Wolsey hired Taverner to write Catholic church music at Cardinal College, Oxford (now Christ Church). While there, Taverner got involved with a bunch of Lutheran troublemakers and could have been charged with heresy, no joke in those days. But Wolsey let him off, saying he was "onlie a musitian."
posted by jfuller at 1:45 PM on August 5, 2006

The all-classical music station in Portland, OR will broadcast Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's 1963 EMI recording of The Merry Widow at 9AM PDT on Saturday August 12.
KBPS.FM streaming audio: http://www.oregonlive.com/live/kbps/audio/index.ssf?kbps.

THe station's website observes that an investigation of both lineages proved that Elisabeth was no relation of General Norman.
posted by Cranberry at 2:37 PM on August 5, 2006

Posty, Karajan had TWO fucking party membership cards, not just one, and dumped his first wife because she lacked an Aryan race certificate. and if Schwarzkopf deserved an all-out boycott, I guess that Boehm should have been tried and executed at Nuremberg, for chrissakes

jfuller has a point. she was guilty of two-bit opportunism, not of genocide.
posted by matteo at 3:02 PM on August 5, 2006

Vier Letzte Lieder, with Bohm

posted by matteo at 3:11 PM on August 5, 2006

at least la signora Schwarzkopf did not die in vain. we now have a perfect tagline

MetaFilter: some at this site thing this lame
posted by matteo at 3:13 PM on August 5, 2006

Artist as she was, flawed as she was, I'll miss her. I'm not so fond of her Donna Elvira, but I'll play her Strauss recordings and her Eva in Meistersinger and think of how hearing them helped get me into opera.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:27 AM on August 6, 2006

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