Born: August 13, 1930 - Kingston, New York, USA
Died: April 1, 1992 - Munich, Germany
The American contralto, Margarethe Bence, came from a family of German descent. She undertook her first studies in the USA and from 1950 until 1953 participated in concert tours with the Robert Shaw Chorale. She continued her vocal studies in 1953 in Stuttgart with Res Fischer and Ellinor Junker-Giesen.
Beginning as a concert singer, especially in oratorio, Margarethe Bence was a member of the Stuttgart State Opera from 1956 to 1970 and continued to make guest appearances there afterwards. From 1970 she was a member of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich; from 1976 to 1987 she was engaged by the Vienna State Opera and also appeared at the Vienna Volksoper. For the Bayreuth Festival, she was Erda and Waltraute in Ring Cycles during 1962-1963. She made guest appearances in Berlin, Paris, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Bucharest, San Francisco and the Salzburg Festival, where she sang Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro in 1966-1968 and 1970-1971. For the Bavarian State Opera in Munich she played Babekan in the world premiere in 1963 of Die Verlobung in San Domingo by
W. Egk. In 1966 she sang in the world premiere of the opera Der Tod des Empedokles by Hermann Reutter at the Schwetzinger Festival.
In her sixties, Margarethe Bence was a coach in the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart. Her stage repertoire included Annina in Der Rosenkavalier (in 1961 at the Monte Carlo Opera), Quickly in Falstaff , Baroness Grünwiesel in Der junge Lord by Henze, Adelaide in Arabella, Hata in The Bartered Bride and the Nurse in Boris Godunov. She also had great successes in the concert hall and was considered a Bach interpreter of the highest rank.
Recordings: Decca (Die Walküre), Columbia, Telefunken, Eurodisc, Vox (Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in patria by Monteverdi), Fono, Orfeo (live excerpts from the world premiere of Die Verlobung in San Domingo by W. Egk,), Myto, Arkadia (Der Rosenkavalier), Bärenreiter-Verlag Recordings.