Erna Berger (1900-1990)

Zum Leiden bin ich auserkoren
Die Zauberflöte by W. A. Mozart

Erna BergerSoprano Erna Berger was born near Dresden, and it was there she studied singing. She was subsequently engaged by the Dresden Staatsoper, making her debut in 1927 as First Boy in Die Zauberflöte. She sang at Bayreuth (1929-33) as the Shepherd in Tannhauser, the First Flowermaiden and the Woodbird. Her first Salzburg appearance was in 1932 as Blonde, and her last, in the 1953-54 season, was as Zerlina. She made her Covent Garden debut in 1934 as Marzelline, returning in 1935 and 1938, when she sang Queen of Night, Konstanze and Sophie. She sang again in London in 1949, and in that year made her Metropolitan debut as Sophie. She continued to appear in Germany and Austria until the end of the 1954-55 season. On her retirement from the stage she devoted herself to lieder, giving her final public recital in Munich in 1968. Berger’s voice retained its youthful freshness throughout her career; her Queen of Night and Konstanze were considered peerless, and her purely sung, innocent Gilda was one of the best of its day. (source material from Harold Rosenthal and Alan Blyth)

This recording of the Queen of the Night’s Act I aria is with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Sir Thomas Beecham.

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