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Margerete Klose (Contralto)

Born: August 6, 1902 - Berlin, Germany
Died: October 15 (or December 14), 1968 - Berlin, Germany

The esteemed German contralto, Margarete Close, lost her father early and was soon forced to earn her living, working as a secretary. However, she always enjoyed singing. An office colleague, noticed her talent and advised her to audition at the local conservatory. The directors of the conservatory immediately recognised her outstanding ability. She studied at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin and received vocal training from Bültemann and Marschalk.

Margarete Close made her operatic debut as the gypsy girl (Manja) Gräfin Maritza in Ulm in 1927. She was engaged by the opera where she sang an astonishing variety of roles, including operetta. Then she sang in Kassel (1928-1929) and Mannheim (1929-1931). She sang the big mezzo and contralto roles. She was a leading member of the Berlin State Opera (1931-1949; 1955-1961). She also sang at the Bayreuth Festivals (1936-1942) and London's Covent Garden (1935, 1937), San Francisco. (1953), and was a member of the Berlin Stadtische Oper (1949-1958). Guest appearances took her to Vienna, London, Hamburg, Dresden, Munich, Brussels and Budapest. At La Scala she sang Brangäne. She was particularly praised for her Wagner and Verdi portrayals (Eboli, Amneris, Ulrica).

From the beginning Margarete Close expanded her repertory including Lieder and oratorio parts. Her rendition of the contralto solos in J.S. Bach's B-minor Mass (BWV 232), St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244), George Frideric Handelís Messiah and L.v. Beethovenís Missa Solemnis were regarded as exemplary not only from a vocal but also stylistic point of view.

In 1961, Margarete Close made her farewell appearance and started giving vocal tuition. She held master classes every summer in the Salzburg Mozarteum.

More Photos

Source: Bakerís Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); OPERAlmanac Mailing List (August 2004)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2002); Walter R. Lonis (August 2004); Manfred Krugmann (Photos 02-11, July 2011; Photo 12, June 2012)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Wilhelm Furtwängler


BWV 244

Clemens Krauss


Selection from BWV 244

Hans Weisbach


BWV 244

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