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Elisabeth von Magnus (Mezzo-soprano)

Born: Vienna, Austria

The Austrian mezzo-soprano, Elizabeth von Magnus, studied recorder at the Vienna Conservatory. She continued her studies in theater at the ’Mozarteum’ in Salzburg and later turned to singing working with Hertha Töpper at the Conservatory of Munich, where she joined opera singing as well. During that time she worked for the Austrian Radio where she had her own program.

Elizabeth von Magnus' opera debut was in Munich as Polly in Benjamin Britten's arrangememt of the Beggar’s Opera. Since then she has appeared in the most varied roles at several leading opera houses and music festivals. She had a great success in the role of Sara in the classical opera Abramo ed Isaaco of J. Myslivecek with the Carintihi Summer in Ossiach. She appeared in the role of the Styriarte in Purcell’s Dido und Aeneas in the Théâtre of the Champs Elysées, and as Icaro in the early-classical opera Testoride Argonauto by J.d.S. Carvalho. In Linz she was to be heard in the W.A. Mozarts' church opera Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, and in Cologne in his Betulia liberata. In Amsterdam she appeared in Nikolaus Harnoncourt/Flimm’s production of the Le Nozze di Figaro as Marcellina. Also as Rosina in Barbiere di Siviglia she had a big success. She made her Salzburg Festival debut in 1993 in W.A. Mozart's C minor Mass, Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea and Marienvesper.

Concerts and Lieder recitals take a large portion in Elizabeth von Magnus' activity, with songs from Joseph Haydn up to Alban Berg and Kurt Weill. She has been a soloist in nearly every European country, in Japan and in the USA, including such prestigious venues as the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, the Barbican Centre in London, Musikverein and Konzerhaus in Vienna, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Cologne Philharmonic, Göttinger Händelfestspielen, Styriarte in Graz, Schubertiade Hohenems, Haydn-Festspielen in Eisenstadt, and many others, where she sang under various famous conductors, such as Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Bruno Weil, H. Vonk, Frieder Bernius, Ton Koopmann, A. Fischer and others. She made her USA debut in 1991 in Los Angeles with J.S. Bach’s Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244) with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under the conducting of Peter Schreier. Recently she appeared as Piramo in Johann Adolf Hasse’s Piramo e Tisbe at the Viennese ‘Schauspielhaus’ under S. Schouten.

Elisabeth von Magnus has been featured on numerous radio and TV broadcasts (W.A. Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro from Zurich opera house) and records for Teldec and Erato: J. Strauss’ Zigeunerbaron (Nikolaus Harnoncourt); J. Haydn Stabat Mater (Nikolaus Harnoncourt); J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) and Magnificat (BWV 243) (both with Ton Koopmann), and many others. Her most actual recordings are Dmitri Shostakovich’s Seven Romances on verses by Alexander Blok Op.127 with the Storioni Trio-Amsterdam and Haydn’s Canzonettas in combination with his cantata Arianna.

Source: Operissimo Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (June 2001); Elisabeth von Magnus (April 2002)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2001) & Elisabeth von Magnus (April 2002)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Gerd Guglhör


BWV 245

Nikolaus Harnoncourt


Member of Concentus Musicus Wien:
Sacred Cantatas Vol. 4: CD-2:
BWV 65; CD-3: BWV 69a; CD-4: BWV 71
BWV 152
Sacred Cantatas Vol. 7: CD-1:
BWV 119; CD-2: BWV 122

Nikolaus Harnoncourt


BWV 140 [2nd, 2007]
L-16 Video (2007):
BWV 26 [2nd], BWV 36 [2nd], BWV 140 [3rd]
BWV 244 [4th]

Ton Koopman


BWV 22, BWV 23, BWV 63, BWV 67, BWV 69, BWV 69a, BWV 75, BWV 76, BWV 77, BWV 83, BWV 105, BWV 155, BWV 161, BWV 162, BWV 163, BWV 165, BWV 173, BWV 181, BWV 184, BWV 186, BWV 190, BWV 198, BWV 205, BWV 206, BWV 207a, BWV 208, BWV 213, BWV 214
BWV 243 [1st], BWV 249
V-10 (1996):
BWV 248/1-6 [1st recording]
Ton Koopman on VHS: BWV 106, BWV 147

Markus Stenz


BWV 244

Links to other Sites

Elisabeth von Magnus (biography) (Gulbenkian) [Portuguese]
Elisabeth von Magnus [Photo]

Ma’ariv - Interview with Elisabeth von Magnus [Hebrew

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