Lilli Lehmann 1906-1907
Lilli Lehmann was born on November 24, 1848, and 58 when she made most of the recordings heard here. She had made her debut in 1865, and had developed from a light soprano to one who was habitually entrusted with the heaviest Wagnerian roles in some of the greatest opera houses in the world. It was an unsparing career in which she sang 170 parts in opera as well as taking a full share of concert work. It would not be surprising if we were to approach her records with a degree of trepidation. What we actually hear is more than merely surprising. They continually amaze us with the sheer quality - the clarity, steadiness, power and flexibility - of her voice, with the stamina which takes her through Donna Anna’s Vengeance aria and Fidelio’s ‘Abscheulicher!’, with the delicacy she could command in her Lieder singing, and with the sureness of intonation, which never falters. We also recognise an artist, warmly expressive and scrupulous in detail...