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Remember the Ladies: Marie Gutheil-Schoder

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Marie Gutheil-SchoderMarie Gutheil-Schoder (February 16, 1874 – October 4, 1935) was one of the most important German sopranos of her day. Born Marie Schoder, in 1899 she married Gustav Gutheil, with whom she lived until his death in 1914.

She debuted in the secondary role of the First Lady at the Weimar Court Opera in The Magic Flute in her native city of Weimar in 1891. Gustav Mahler engaged her for the Vienna State Opera in 1900, where she remained until 1926. She appeared at the Royal Opera House as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier in 1913. One of her famous roles was her portrayal of a “strange, Nietzschean” Carmen. She was seen in the 1914 Vienna premiere of Richard Strauss’s ballet, Josephslegende as Potiphar’s Wife. She created Esmeralda in the world premiere of Franz Schmidt’s opera Notre Dame in the same year.

Marie Gutheil-Schoder in her study 1901

Marie Gutheil-Schoder in her study 1901

Gutheil-Schoder created the fiercely difficult single role of Arnold Schoenberg’s monodrama Erwartung in 1924 in Prague. Mahler termed her “a musical genius,” and she was highly regarded as a musician and singing-actress, although she seemed to be, as one Viennese critic wrote, “the singer without a voice.” In her later career, she became a stage director of opera.

She was a well-known pedagogue as well, one of her students being the mezzo-soprano Risë Stevens. She died at the age of 61, in Ilmenau, Germany. [Wikipedia]

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