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Open Features: Olive Fremstad

Peter Wintersgill outlines the career of Olive Fremstad, a singer who specialised in Wagnerian roles.

14 March, 1871, in Stockholm

Recital piano debut aged 12

Her family moved to the USA when she was in her early teens. She expected to become a pianist.

Adult Life
Her Boston debut was in Sullivan’s Patience in 1890. She became contralto soloist in St Patrick’s Cathedral, New York in 1890. She studied in Boston with Lilli Lehmann.

She made her Cologne debut in 1895 in Paradise and the Peri, her opera debut as Azucena in Bayreuth in 1896 and her New York debut as Sieglinde in 1903.

She started to specialise in Wagner roles, including Kundry and Brunhilde. She sang Carmen opposite Caruso in 1960 and Salome at New York Metropolitan in 1907. She sang her first Isolde at Mahler’s Met debut in 1908.

Her farewell Metropolitan appearance was in 1914.

She died on 21 April, 1951, in Irvington, New York, aged 80.


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