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Elisabeth Grümmer

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Biography

Elisabeth Schilz Grümmer (March 31, 1911 – November 6, 1986) was a German operatic lyric soprano.

She was born at Niederjeutz, near Diedenhofen, Alsace-Lorraine (later Yutz-Basse; now Thionville, France) to German parents. In 1918, her family were expelled from Lorraine, and they settled in Meiningen, where she studied theater and made her stage debut as Klärchen in Goethe’s Egmont.

She married the concertmaster of the theater orchestra, Detlev Grümmer, and became a mother. The family moved to Aachen, where they met Herbert von Karajan. Elisabeth started to take singing lessons, von Karajan cast her as the first flower maiden in a performance of Wagner’s Parsifal. She went on to perform in Duisburg and Prague.

Her husband was killed in a bombing in the war. After the war, she settled in Berlin, singing at the Städische Oper Berlin. She performed in all the major opera houses in Europe and the United States, restricting herself to a small number of roles, primarily sung in German. She was also active in song recitals and concert performances, particularly of Brahms’ German Requiem.

The Kammersängerin became a professor at the Berlin Musikhochschule.

She can be seen on video in two performances as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, one conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the other in German translation conducted by Ferenc Fricsay.

She died in Warendorf, Westphalia.

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