Opera Scotland

Leonie Rysanek Suggest updates

Born  Vienna, 14 November, 1926.

Died Vienna, 7 March, 1998.

Austrian soprano.

Leonie Rysanek was the leading Strauss soprano of her generation with a uniquely attractive, soaring high register.

She studied in Vienna under two renowned baritones, Alfred Jerger and Rudolf Grossmann.  Her debut, in 1949, was as Agathe at Innsbruck and she was a member of the Saarbrücken company from 1950-52.

Rysanek became a 'star overnight' when she was chosen to sing Sieglinde at the first post-war Bayreuth Festival in 1951, and she repeated the part over many seasons, adding Senta and Elsa.

She was particularly renowned as a Strauss performer, especially successful as the Empress Die Frau ohne Schatten, Chrysothemis and Salome.   Other major Strauss parts included the Marschallin and Ariadne.  She took part in rare revivals of Die Ägyptische Helena and Die Liebe der Danaë.  Towards the end of her career she sang Elektra (on video, though not in the theatre), followed by both Herodias and Klytämnestra.

Important debuts included Munich (1952) and Vienna (1954).  In the USA she sang regularly  - at San Francisco from 1957 and at the New York Met from 1959, when she was a successful short notice replacement for Callas as Lady Macbeth.

In Britain, she made several appearances at Covent Garden during the 1950s.  Her only Scottish appearance was as Chrysothemis with the Hamburg company in 1968.

Roles in Scotland

Chrysothemis sister to Elektra and Orest
Elektra 1968

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