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Hilde Gueden

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Biography

The Austrian soprano Hilde Gueden, or Güden (September 15, 1917 - September 17, 1988) was one of the most appreciated Straussian and Mozartian sopranos of her days. Her youthful and lively interpretations made her an ideal interpreter of roles like Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro.

She was born Hulda Geiringer in Vienna, and studied singing with Otto Iro, piano with Maria Wetzelsberger, and dancing at the Vienna Music Academy. She debuted, as Hulda Gerin, in 1937 in Benatzky’s operetta Herzen im Schnee at the Vienna Volksoper. Her operatic debut came in 1939, when she sang Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at the Zurich Opera.

In 1941, the famous conductor Clemens Krauss engaged her for the Munich State Opera, where she sang with much success. From this time she used Hilde Gueden as her stage name. However, she had some Jewish ancestry, and this forced her to leave Germany under the Nazis. Rumour has it that she was almost arrested by the Gestapo in Munich, but she had by then obtained a fake passport showing that she was a Roman Catholic Polish woman and could avoid the arrest.

Post-war career:
In Italy, Tullio Serafin invited her to sing Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) in Rome and Florence. From then on, she gained great successes in Paris, Milan, London, Venice, Glyndebourne, and other major cities. She made her debut at Salzburg Festival in 1946 by singing Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 1946.

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