Lehmann, Lilli


German operatic singer; born at Würzburg. She was taught singing by her mother, who was formerly a harpist and prima donna at Cassel under Spohr, and the original heroine of several operas written by him. Her debut was made in 1866 at Prague as the first boy in Zauberflote, after which she filled engagements in Dantzic, 1868, and at Leipsic, 1870. In 1870 she also sang in Berlin as Vielka, and was so successful that she remained there until 1885. She now, 1870, began to sing in Wagner's operas, playing Woglinde and Helmwige, and sang the Bird music in Wagner's trilogy at Bayreuth. In 1876 she was appointed Imperial chambersinger. In 1880 she made a successful appearance at Her Majesty's, London, as Violetta, and again as Philine, in Mignon, and sang there for two seasons. In 1884 she appeared at Covent Garden as Isolde, and was enthusiastically received. On her way to America in 1885 she gave a concert in England with Franz Rummel at the Stemway Hall. The next five years were spent in America, singing German Opera, and here her great powers were immediately recognized. During this time she returnd to Her Majesty's, London, in 1887, to sing as Fidelio. About this time she married Paul Kalisch, of Berlin, a tenor singer of some distinction. In 1892 her health broke down and she returned to Germany. It was feared she would never sing again. During her few years of retirement, at Berlin, she devoted her time to teaching singing. In 1896 she reappeared, and was engaged to sing at Bayreuth, where she astonished the world by her magnificent performance. In 1899 she sang again at Covent Garden as Fidelio, Sieglinde, Norma, Isolde, Qrtrud and Donna Anna. She sang in Paris at the Lamoureux concerts and at the Nouveau Theatre as Donna Anna in 1903, and has also revisited the United  States. Her voice was of superb quality and volume and gained for her the reputation of being one of the greatest Wagnerian singers of her day. She was unsurpassed in the roles of Brünnhilde and Isolde. It was, indeed, because of her ability to sing music of the Italian School that she was so highly successful in the Wagner roles.