Gertrude Rünger


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(b Posen [now Poznan], 1899; d Berlin, 10 June 1965). German mezzo-soprano and soprano. She sang at Erfurt (1924–7), then for a season at Magdeburg, and from 1928 to 1935 at Vienna, where she took part in some notable revivals such as Don Carlos (1931) and Macbeth (1933). She returned to Vienna in 1938 after a period in Berlin. Her career also expanded to include the 1933 and 1934 seasons at Covent Garden, 1937 at the Metropolitan and 1938 at La Scala, where she sang Brünnhilde in the Ring cycle under Clemens Krauss, and Isolde the following year under Victor De Sabata. At Salzburg she sang Fatima (Oberon), the Nurse (Die Frau ohne Schatten), Clytemnestra (Elektra) and Leonore (Fidelio). In London her most admired role was Kundry in which she ‘displayed exceptional power in a wide range of dramatic expression’. Her later career included appearances as Electra under Hans Knappertsbusch (1940) and some postwar seasons in Berlin. Her studio recordings are few, but solos from Don Carlos and Macbeth show fine quality, both vocal and dramatic. Fragments from the Vienna Archive confirm her position among the most impressive singers of her generation.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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