Publications about Music, Singers, and Singing

Each name is linked to more information, including links to wikipedia and publications.

Nellie Melba

Most people know of Melba (1861 - 1931) through the food named after her: Melba peach and Melba toast. This operatic superstar from Australia was the most prominent student of Mathilde Marchesi.

Mathilde Marchesi

Marchesi (1821 - 1913) was a renowned voice teacher in the 19th century. Marchesi herself was a student of Manual Garcia (the younger). Among her own students were Nellie Melba, Emma Calvé, Frances Alda, Ellen Gulbranson, Selma Kurz, Emma Eames, and many more. Marchesi published several books with vocalises and exercises, including instructions on how to sing and now to teach singing in several of these. For example, Garcia's "Coupe de Glotte" has been described in detail in "Bel Canto: A Theoretical and Practical Vocal Method" (as published by Dover).

Lilli Lehmann

Lehmann (1848-1929) was a versatile soprano with a remarkable vocal longevity and technique. She also was a famous teacher, and the author of a vocal pedagogy book (Meine Gesangskunst), that includes a number of beautiful drawings of the vocal mechanism, as known at her times. According to Lilli Lehmann, the most important vocalize is the "Grand Scale", to be sung quietly, slowly, and accurately at least daily.

Friedelind Wagner

Wagner (1918 – 1991), granddaughter of Richard Wagner, was estranged from her family after she distanced herself from Hitler and the 3rd Reich. Her autobiography about her upbringing in Bayreuth is a valuable source of information about the Wagnerian performance tradition, and is also an important historical document.

Frida Leider

Leider (1888-1975) was a dramatic soprano best known for her Brünnhilde performances. Having to support herself and her mother from young age, she studied voice privately. Although she never studied with her, Leider gives credit to Lilli Lehmann and her publications ("Mein Weg", "Meine Gesangskunst") in guiding her career. In her autobiograpy "Playing my part", she emphasizes the importance of belcanto singing for Wagnerian roles. Interesting is her account of the "Wagner Tradition" as experienced in Bayreuth.

Berta Geissmar

Geissmar (1892 - November 1949), musicologist and author, was the private secretary of Wilhelm Furtwängler, and, after she had to leave Germany during the 3rd Reich, of Sir Thomas Beecham. Her candid, sometimes verbose, autobiography touches the lives of many musicians before and during the 3rd Reich, an is an important historical document.

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