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Marta Fuchs (Soprano, Contralto)

Born: January 1, 1898 - Stuttgart, Germany
Died: September 22, 1974 - Stuttgart, Germany

The German soprano and contralto, Marta (or Martha) Fuchs, began her training at the Musikhochschule of Stuttgart and completed it in Munich and Milan.

In 1923 Marta Fuchs began her career as a concert alto. After five-year concert activity she made her debut in 1928, still as alto, at the Stadttheater of Aachen. Here she appeared among other things as Orpheus of Gluck, as Azucena in the Troubadour and as Carmen. She sang then starting from 1930 at the Staatsoper of Dresden, where her voice changed itself to the high-dramatic soprano, but maintained parts of her old repertoire. At the Dresden opera she participated in the premiere of the opera Der Günstling by Rudolf Wagner-Régeny in February 1935 the role of Maria Tudor. Already in 1932 she sang in Dresden in the premiere of the opera Mister Wu by Eugen d'Albert (after the death of Leo Blech), in 1933 in Marks Lothar's Münchhausen, in 1936 in Der verlorene Sohn by Robert Heger, in 1939 at the Berlin's Staatsoper in Die Bürger von Calais by Rudolf Wagner-Régeny, in 1940 at the same opera house in a further premiere, that of Andreas Wolfius by Fried Walter, in 1943 in Othmar Schoeck's Das Schloß Dürande.

In 1929 Marta Fuchs appeared at the Salzburg Festival as Annina in the Rosenkavalier; in 1931 she had a very successfully guest appearance at the Deutschen Opernhaus Berlin as Octavian in Rosenkavalier. Since 1935 she was simultaneously, apart from her engagement in Dresden, member of the Berlin's Staatsoper. She became soon one the most important Wagner sopranos of her generation. From 1933 to 1942 she stood in the centre of the Festivals of Bayreuth, where she was celebrated as Isolde (1938), as Kundry (1933-1937), above all however as Brünnhilde (1938-1942). In 1933 and 1935-1938 she participated in Amsterdam in performances of Wagner's operas; in 1938 she sang Isolde at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. In 1936 she appeared as a guest with the ensemble of the Dresden State Opera at the Covent Garden Opera in London as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, as Marschallin in Rosenkavalier and as Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos by R. Strauss; in 1942 with the same ensemble at the Maggio Musicale Florence as Leonore in Fidelio. In 1942 she had a great success at the Wiener Staatsoper, at which she often appeared as a guest until 1944.

Since 1945 Marta Fuchs lived in Stuttgart, where she was to be heard until 1952 as a guest at the State Opera there, among other things as Ortrud in Lohengrin and in 1951 in the German premiere of The Rake's progress by Igor Stravinsky as Türkenbaba. In 1949 she appeared in Dresden again in one Lieder recital.

From Marta Fuchs' very extensive repertoire for the stage are still to be called: Cornelia in Giulio Cesare by George Frideric Handel, Alceste as well as Orpheus in the operas of the same names by Gluck, Klytämnestra in Iphigenie in Aulis and Iphigenie in Iphigenie auf Tauris by Gluck, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Zerline in Don Giovanni, Adriano in Wagner's Rienzi, Senta in Fliegenden Holländer, Elisabeth and Venus in Tannhäuser, Elsa in Lohengrin, Herodias in Salome by R. Strauss, the title role in Arabella and Maria in Der Friedenstag, Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlos, Amneris in Aida, Dalila in Samson et Dalila by Camille Saint-Saëns, Mona Lisa in the opera of the same name by Max von Schillings and Küsterin in Jenufa by Janácek.

In 1954 Marta Fuchs had finally to give up her career because of a neck suffering. She lived since then completely withdrawn in Stuttgart. Her big, darkly sounded voice, whose expression obtained unforgettable intensity achievements, particularly in the Wagner singing, in addition on the stage by her eminent artful representation.

Recordings: On Telefunken (Duet from Arabella with Elsa Wieber und Paul Schöffler); HMV (complete Walküre, Lieder for the Hugo Wolf Society); Urania (complete opera Der Corregidor by Hugo Wolf; Duet by A. Dvorák with Margarete Klose, 1951) and DGG. On Acanta she can be heard as Brünnhilde from Götterdämmerung; on Jecklin Disco recording of a radio broadcast of O. Schoeck's Das Schloß Dürande from 1941; on Preiser Götterdämmerung from Bayreuth of 1942.

Source: Operissimo Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (May 2005)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2005)

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