Ottilie Metzger


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(b Frankfurt, 15 July 1878; d Auschwitz, ?Feb 1943). German contralto. She was a pupil of Selma Nicklass-Kempner in Berlin, and made her début at Halle in 1898. After three years at Cologne she became the leading contralto at the Hamburg Opera, and when Caruso appeared as guest artist she sang with him in Carmen and Aida. In 1901 she appeared for the first time at Bayreuth, where she was heard last in 1912, her great roles being Erda and Waltraute in Götterdämmerung. She also sang at Hamburg in the premières of Siegfried Wagner's Bruder Lustig (1905), Leo Blech's Versiegelt (1908) and Eugen D’Albert's Izegl (1909). From 1916 to 1921 she sang with the Dresden Staatsoper. Although her career centred on Germany, she was also heard in Vienna, St Petersburg and New York, where she sang under Blech with the German Opera Company which toured the USA in 1922 and 1923. At Covent Garden she made her début in 1902, singing in Die Meistersinger, Siegfried and Tristan. In 1910 she appeared as Clytemnestra in Elektra and later that year as the first London Herodias in Salome; she also made a strong impression as Carmen. Following her second marriage, to the bass-baritone Theodor Lattermann, she used the composite name of Metzger-Lattermann and developed a distinguished career as a concert singer, her accompanists including Richard Strauss and Hans Pfitzner. She later taught in Berlin until the Nazis came to power when, as she was Jewish, she took refuge in Brussels, only to be deported to Auschwitz in 1942. Her recordings, made between 1904 and 1910, show a strong, deep tone, ideally suited to Erda's scene in Siegfried.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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