Materna, Amelia



Soprano, famous for her interpretation of Wagnerian roles; born at St. Georgen, Styria. When she was twelve years old her father died, leaving his family penniless. Amelia and an older brother went to Vienna, but on arriving there were disappointed to find that no one would teach her ito sing on account of her lack of funds. From Vienna she went to St. Petersburg, and three years later to Gratz, where she was discovered by Suppe, who got her into the chorus at the Landes Theatre and later helped her get a position in Vienna. Here she sang in operetta at the Karl Theatre for several years, at the same time preparing for heavier work under Proch in 1868 she sang before Court Conductor Esser so successfully that she obtained a position at the Imperial Opera House, where she made her debut in 1869 in L'Africaine with pronounced success. She had meantime been married to a popular German actor, Karl Friedrich. In 1876 she was given the role of Brünnhilde at the performance of Der Ring des Nibelungen given at Bayreuth during that year. Her interpretation was received with the greatest enthusiasm by Wagner himself, and her rendition of Wagnerian roles has not been equaled in some respects. She sang in the Wagner Festival in London in 1877, and in 1882 created the role of Kundry in Parsifal, visiting the United States that year and in 1884. She retired from the stage in 1897, the occasion being a concert given at the hall of the Musical Union in Vienna. Her greatness lies not only in the exceptional quality and beauty of her voice but also in her dramatic rendering.