Born: January 21, 1921 - Moosbierbaum, Austria
Died: December 15, 2010 - Vienna, Austria
The Austrian contralto, Hilde (Hildegard) Rössel-Majdan (sometimes spelled Rössl-Majdan), was the daughter-in-law and student of the bass Karl Rössel-Majdan. She was educated at the Vienna Academy of Music.
Hilde Rössel-Majdan began her career as a concert alto in 1946. In 1947 she substituted for the soloist who was sick in a performance of J.S. Bach's Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244) in Vienna under Wilhelm Furtwängler and had a brilliant success. In 1950 she heeded a call to the Vienna State Opera, of which she remained a member for over 20 years. Guest appearences in La Scala, Covent Garden, and in many other great theaters took a very successful course. With the same success she sang at the Festivals of Salzburg, Edinburgh, and Aix-en-Provence. In Salzburg she appeared in 1954-1955 as Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos and in 1958 as Lukrezia in Pfitznerís Palestrina, in 1960 as Annina in Straussí Rosenkavalier, and Marcellina in Mozartís Le Nozze di Figaro, and additionally in numerous concerts. As oratorio and Lieder singer she had a most successful career in the music centers of Germany, Austria, and Italy. Later she worked in the Conservatory of Graz (until 1972) as a sought after singing teacher, and then at the Vienna Academy of Music.
Hilde Rössel-Majdan sang on many labels, inter alia, Nixa (Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244)), Decca (Strauss' Rosenkavalier, Frau ohne Schatten, Ariadne auf Naxos, Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte), RCA-DGG (L.v. Beethovenís 9th), EJS (Rienzi), HMV (Gustav Mahlerís 2nd), Melodram (P. Cornelius Barbier von Bagdad), RAI-Electrola (complete Walküre, Rome 1952).
Personal note (by Yoël L. Arbeitman) Once again Operissimo does not begin to tell us much about this great singer. And indeed I couldn't find her there as they have her under Rössel-Majdan. I have heard her two recordings of Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244) (Hermann Scherchen and Mogens Wöldike), her various Bach Cantata recordings which are peerless to me as well as her G. Mahler 2nd under Otto Klemperer (studio and live). The preceding group I have owned forever. Recently I have heard her Grieg "Songs" and the Dvorákís Biblische Lieder and her Franz Lieder (all three rare LP's at a friend's) and I heard her in person in Vienna as the Dritte Dame in Die Zauberflöte in 1965.
Hilde Rössel-Majdan died in Vienna on December 15, 2010, short before her 90th birthday.