Fritzi Jokl / Maria Gerhart

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Jokl, Fritzi/Gerhart, Maria


Lebendige Vergangenheit

Fritzi Jokl was born in Vienna and showed an interest in music at an early age. Her first singing teacher was the wife of the celebrated pianist Moritz Rosenthal. lt was not long before Fritzi Jokl was engaged by the Frankfurt Opera. Because of her slight figure she was given all the boys' roles in the German opera repertoire, but within six months she was also singing Rosina. While in Frankfurt she was entrusted with Cherubino, Oscar and Urbain in Les Huguenots, and soon with Blondchen and Sophie as well. The conductor Rottenberg had suggested her for a "Noble Orphan" in Der Rosenkavalier, but she was determined to sing Sophie. She got the part, scored a success with audiences and critics, and was established as one of the most promising young singers in Germany. Fritzi Jokl sang in Darmstadt and then at the Grosse Volksoper in Berlin, where the general music director Bugen Szenkar gave her such interesting roles as Konstanze and Norina. Bella Alten had been invited to sing Traviata, but she played the prima donna to such an extent :that the conductor Issay Dobrowen dismissed her at the dress rehearsal. Fritzi Jokl, who had attended all the rehearsals, took over the difficult leading role, delighting the critics with her fine performance. However, the Volksoper could not hold its own against the competition of the other Berlin opera houses, and was forced to close. Szenkar became Klemperer's successor in Cologne and took Fritzi Jokl with him. She became a special favorite of opera audiences. Konrad Adenauer in particular asked her again and again to sing her showpiece "Voices of Spring" for him. A guest appearance had already taken her to London's Covent Garden, where she sang Najade in Ariadne and learned Zerbinetta as understudy to Maria Ivogün. Baron Frankenstein, who had followed the career of the young soprano, invited her to Munich, where she sang Zerbinetta under the direction of Richard Strauss himself. On the strength of. that performance she received a contract for the Munich Festival, marking up a series of triumphs, especially as Konstanze and the Queen of the Night. In Munich she also sang, under Knappertsbusch's baton, Susanna, Despina (which she repeated in Salzburg with Bruno Walter conducting) and Sophie. Her repertoire in Munich further included such roles as Gilda, Nedda, Olympia, Marzelline and Rosalinde. She took part in the revival of Stradella (with Knote) and in the now forgotten opera "Die Lästerschule" by Paul von Kienau under Böhm. In addition, extensive concert tours took her to Milan and Vienna, where she also sang Angelina in La Cenerentola at the State Opera. At the end of the 1932 season Fritzi Jokl was to have gone to Otto Klemperer at the Kroll Oper in Berlin, but political changes had set in and tensions had arisen in the meantime. Klemperer had to leave the Kroll Oper and Fritzi Jokl was not able to begin her engagement. With Franz von Hoesslin's Mozartgesellschaft (to which Lotte Schöne also belonged) she toured France, Switzerland and Monaco. With Johann Strauss's nephew and his orchestra she took Viennese music as far as the south of France. In Germany; a few special theatres continued to accept Jewish artists and Jewish audiences; Fritzi Jokl sang The Bartered Bride and Die Fledermaus under such conductors as Steinberg and Rosenstock. As of 1936, this, too was not possible any more, and she went to America. There she found freedom and a happy marriage to Jack Siegel, the author and journalist, but no chance to continue her career. In Europe she had been a leading soprano, appearing with top orchestras, colleagues and conductors. Now she found that in the United States Mozart was performed only rarely. At the Metropolitan, Fritzi Jokl's roles were the property of Lily Pons and Bidu Sayao, who had got there first. Then came the war. It was a loss for opera-lovers that the entrancing silvery voice with its exquisite carrying tone and flawless technique was now heard only in private circles. Only a handful of recordings have kept these gifts alive and fresh. The collection on this CD includes almost everything Fritzi Jokl put on records. Despite a great deal of effort, it has not been possible to find the early radio recordings of the arias from the Abduction from the Seraglio. In any case, our collection bears eloquent testimony to the art of one of the most cultivated belcanto singers of the 20th century. Her career was fated to come to a premature end, but her voice will continue to fire the imagination of anyone who listens to this record. Viennese charm was lent by Maria Gerhart to all of the operatic characters she embodied in the course of her career. Born in Vienna around the turn of the century, she had the good fortune to find a singing teacher, Irene Schlemmer-Ambros, who specialized in developing coloratura voices and imparting the necessary technical knowledge. Maria Gerhart's high soprano possessed a silvery, lustrous timbre, a velvety head register, and above all an absolutely secure high fifth. She was at home at altitudes that proved daunting to many of her competitors. Like many coloraturas, she tended to pitch too high, but she was able to overcome this drawback effectively. Nor were her gifts limited to the purely ornamental; her accomplishments in lyric roles were outstanding, and her delicate voice could develop an astonishing power when the dramatic situation of the composer's will called for it. Maria Gerhart scored her first successes in the …

Additional Information

Setanzahl 1
Tonträger CD
Artikelnummer PR89191
Veröffentlichungsdatum Jun 25, 1999
Tracks L´Allegro, il Pensieroso, ed il Moderato, Dein bin ich (Il re pastore), O säume länger nicht (Figaros Hochzeit), Der Hölle Rache kocht (Die Zauberflöte), Frag ich mein beklomm´nes Herz (Der Barbier von Sevilla), Ich kenn´ den tiefen Zauber (Don Pasquale), Seid meiner Wonne stille Zeugen (Alessandro Stradella), Letzte Rose (Martha), Ihr edlen Herrn allhier (Die Hugenotten), Mit starrem Angesicht (Ein Maskenball), Lasst ab mit Fragen (Ein Maskenball), Titania ist herabgestigen (Mignon), Du leichter Schatten an meiner Seite (Dinorah), Frühlingsstimmen-Walzer, Wird Philomele trauern (Abu Hassan), Hier liegt, welch´ martervolles Los (Abu Hassan), Teurer Name, dessen Klang (Rigoletto), Grossmächtige Prinzessin (Ariadne auf Naxos)
L´Allegro, il Pensieroso, ed il Moderato
Dein bin ich (Il re pastore)
O säume länger nicht (Figaros Hochzeit)
Der Hölle Rache kocht (Die Zauberflöte)
Frag ich mein beklomm´nes Herz (Der Barbier von Sevilla)
Ich kenn´ den tiefen Zauber (Don Pasquale)
Seid meiner Wonne stille Zeugen (Alessandro Stradella)
Letzte Rose (Martha)
Ihr edlen Herrn allhier (Die Hugenotten)
Mit starrem Angesicht (Ein Maskenball)
Lasst ab mit Fragen (Ein Maskenball)
Titania ist herabgestigen (Mignon)
Du leichter Schatten an meiner Seite (Dinorah)
Wird Philomele trauern (Abu Hassan)
Hier liegt, welch´ martervolles Los (Abu Hassan)
Teurer Name, dessen Klang (Rigoletto)
Grossmächtige Prinzessin (Ariadne auf Naxos)
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