Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Rehearsing “Cosi”

Singers Elisabeth Schumann, Eva Hadrabova, Jarmila Novotna, Charles Kullmann, Alfred Jerger and Karl Bissuti rehearsing Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” in Salzburg in 1936, with conductor Felix Weingartner at the piano.

For the 1936 Salzburg Festival production of “Cosi”, Schumann sang Despina, a role she had first performed more than two decades earlier in Hamburg. Schumann had learned the role of Despina while a young soprano with the Hamburg Opera—and Despina was the only “Cosi” role Schumann ever sang onstage.

There were not to be many more opera performances for Schumann after the conclusion of the 1936 Salzburg Festival: Schumann was to remain a member of the Wiener Staatsoper company only for one more full season (1936-1937) and for a portion of a second (1937-1938).

Shortly before the March 1938 Anschluss, Schumann left Europe and sought shelter in the United States, where she was to reside for the rest of her life (Schumann became an American citizen in 1944). Although Schumann appeared widely in recital in America from 1938 until shortly before her death, she was not again to appear on the opera stage.

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