This website celebrates one of the great singers of the 20th century and her recorded legacy.
Elisabeth Schumann (1888-1952) came as close to perfection as any artist of her time. She possessed scrupulous musicianship, an unfailing sense of rhythm, and a a lively spontaneity. Her interpretations were deeply considered, yet she always communicated with originality and freshness. Her voice was a silvery lyric instrument with an individual, instantly recognizable timbre. Famed for her ability to float an exquisite portamento, she was also one of the century's finest whistlers! She sang opera and operetta, oratorio and lieder, excelling in all of them. Her Schubert was supreme, her Richard Strauss lieder a model for all later singers. In opera, her Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and Adele (Die Fledermaus) were unequalled.
Schumann's life and work was closely tied up with those of Richard Strauss (with whom she did an extended tour of America in 1921), Otto Klemperer (an early love affair which she described on her deathbed as 'the red thread running through my life'), Lotte Lehmann (a rival and later close friend, with whom she worked in Hamburg and Vienna), Bruno Walter and many others. Even if we had no recordings, she would still be remembered as an important singer of her time.
Nevertheless the voice of Elisabeth Schumann lives on. Her large and well recorded output spanned most of the 78 rpm era: from early acoustics to the beginning of the microgroove era. She made 231 commercial recordings, starting with a small group probably in Hannover in 1913 and ending with her last lieder 78s recorded in London with Gerald Moore in 1949. There are also many informal recordings and broadcasts.
This project, starting from a single web page, is intended to provide more than basic information. A complete discography will shortly be published, together with notes about available CDs. There will be further extracts from the biography by her son Gerd Puritz (Elisabeth Schumann, A Biography, Grant & Cutler Ltd, London 1996). We also have a large collection of photographs waiting to be published. It is hoped to eventually establish an Elisabeth Schumann Society with the ultimate long-term objective of publishing a complete edition of her recordings.
Happy Birthday, Elisabeth!
Simon Holledge, Tokyo, 13 June 2001
This website was established on 13 June 2001, the 113th birthday of Elisabeth Schumann (1888-1952), the celebrated opera and lieder singer.

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