The German soprano, Irmgard Jacobeit, began to take interest in singing at the age of 11. She then entered a girl’s chorus and was taken on as pupil of the voice teacher Lilly Schmitt-de Georgi at the age of 16 thanks to the recommendation of the baritone Georg Mund. She enrolled in the Staatlische Schule für Musik und Theater der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg, the future Musikhochschule, in 1948 and was a student in the master-class of Lilly Schmitt-de Georgi until her graduation.
Although Irmgard Jacobeit had not yet acquired any practical experience as an opera singer by 1953, she was hired to sing the role of Marie in Albert Lortzing’s opera Der Waffenschmied at the Eutin Summer Festival. The years later she sang the other “Marie” of Lortzing’s operas at the Bavarian Broadcasting Corp. in Munich, namely the Marie in the recording of Zar und Zimmermann. Her outstanding technique allowed her to master the entire role with stunning ease. Whether in lyrical phrases or soubrette-like passages, she dazzles in a role that makes greater demands than one thinks. This engagement came after Irmgard Jacobeit had sung the part of the “empty soul” in Werner Egk’s Irische Legende at the Bavarian Radio under the direction of the composer himself.
Irmgard Jacobeit only partly took part in opera productions. Instead, she pursued her career essentially as a concert singer. Her repertoire comprises the parts of J.S. Bach’s Passions, Mass in B minor (BWV 232) and Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248). She recorded many of Bach Cantatas for Telefunken series “Das Alte Werke”. She also took part in performances of George Frideric Handel ‘s The Messiah and J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (BWV 245), along with Mozart’s Requiem, Coronation Mass, and Exsultate jubilate. Haydn also graces her repertoire with The Creation and The Seasons. Also among the composers she most frequently performed are L.v. Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Bruckner, Dietrich Buxtehude, Cornelius, Felix Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Richard Strauss and other great names.
Today Irmgard Jacobeit lives in Hamburg, where she teaches singing.