The German soprano and mezzo-soprano, Anny Schlemm, was the daughter of Franz Schlemm, who was a chorister at the Frankfurt Opera. She was trained by Erna Westenberger in Berlin.
Anny Schlemm made her debut in 1946 as Zerline und Susanna (or in 1948 as Bastienne in Bastien und Bastienne by Mozart) at the Stadttheater of Halle (Saale). In 1949 she came to the Berlin's Staatsoper, whose member she was until 1961 and at the same time was also engaged by the Komische Oper Berlin. Here she worked in the famous productions of Walter Felsenstein as Desdemona in Verdi's Othello (1959) and as Boulotte in Ritter Blaubart by Offenbach (1963). The latter role became her big glossing role, which she sang in the following 19 years 257 times on the stage, 40 times of which in Frankfurt a.M. and in 1992 again at the Komischen Oper Berlin.
Anny Schlemm was 1950-51 at the Opera House of Cologne and since 1951 she was engaged at Opera of Frankfurt a.M.. She appeared as a guest at the State Operas of Munich and Hamburg, at the Deutschen Oper Berlin and at the Staatstheaster Hannover. At the Festival of Glyndebourne she sang in 1964 Zerline in Don Giovanni. In 1957 she appeared at the Opera House of Cologne in the premiere of the opera Bluthochzeit by W. Fortner in the role of the bride, and in 1964 at the Frankfurt Opera in the premiere of Dame Kobold by G. Wimberger. She made guest appearances also at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples (1954), at the State Opera of Stuttgart (since 1964), at the Holland Festival, at the Grand Opéra Paris, at the State Opera of Dresden (1986) and with the ensemble of the Komischen Oper Berlin in Moscow, Stockholm and Prague.
If Anny Schlemm had sung first lyric soprano parts, then she inserted later dramatic soprano and mezzo-soprano parts in the course of her long stage career into her very extensive repertoire. She was admired over and over again for her shining playing talent. At the Bayreuth Festivals she appeared in 1978-1982 and 1984-1985 as Mary in Fliegenden Holländer. She performed this role also in 1990 at Munich State Opera. In 1981 she appeared at the Opera of Cologne as Küsterin in Janácek's with great success; in 1978 she sang at the Netherlands Opera Amsterdam Herodias in Salome and Klytämnestra in Elektra by R. Strauss; in 1984 at the Covent Garden Opera in London Madelon in Andrea Chénier by Giordano. In 1988 she appeared as guest in Frankfurt, in 1989 in Stuttgart and in 1991 in Toronto Klytaemnestra in Elektra, in 1990 at the Wiener Volksoper Palmatica in the Operetta Der Bettelstudent by Millöcker; in 1992 at the Staatsoper Berlin Filipjewna in Eugen Onegin; in 1993 at the Wiener Staatsoper the old Gräfin in Pique Dame.
In 1994 she could be heard at Komischen Oper Berlin as Amme in performances of the opera Der gewaltige Hahnrei" by Berthold Goldschmidt; in 1996 at the State Opera of Dresden as old Buryja in Janácek's Jenufa, at the Theatre of Halle/Saale (its honour member she was appointed in 1996) as Babricha in Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Märchen vom Zaren Saltan. In 2001-2002 she sang with great success Starenka Buryjovká in 'Jenufa' at the Wiener Staatsoper. She was temporarily married with the conductor Wolfgang Rennert (born 1922).
Her many recordings include: on DGG (Madame Butterfly, Bajazzo), HMV, Decca (Hexe in Hänsel und Gretel), Eterna (Verkaufte Braut), Philips (Mary im Fliegenden Holländer), Capriccio (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny by K. Weill), Melodram (Fledermaus), Busch Editon (Page Oscar in Maskenball by Verdi, 1951), Berlin Classics (4th Symphony of Gustav Mahler) and Harmonia Mundi (Scenes from Bluthochzeit by Fortner); EMI-Video (Mary im Fliegenden Holländer), Thorn-Video (Madelon in Andrea Chénier).