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Ibolyka Astrid Maria Varnay

Born: 1918 AD
Died: 2006 AD

1918 – Ibolyka Astrid Maria Varnay, born on the 25th of April in Stockholm, Sweden. She was an operatic soprano of Hungarian heritage and Swedish birth, who did most of her work in the United States and Germany.


1940 – By the age of 22 she knew Hungarian, German, English, French and Italian and her repertoire consisted of fifteen leading dramatic soprano roles, eleven of which were Wagnerian parts.


1941 – She made her sensational debut at the Metropolitan Opera on the 6th of December at a broadcast performance singing Sieglinde in Wagner’s Die Walküre, substituting for the indisposed Lotte Lehmann with almost no rehearsal.


1944 – Married to Weigert.


1948 – She made her debut at Covent Garden.


1956 – She sang at Bayreuth for the next seventeen years, and appeared regularly at the Metropolitan.


1969 – She gave up her repertoire of heavy dramatic soprano roles and began a new career singing mezzo roles.


1979 – Last appeared there in Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.


1995 – Her last appearance on stage was in Munich, fifty-five years after her Metropolitan debut. 1998 – She published her autobiography Fifty-Five Years in Five Acts: My Life in Opera, written with Donald Arthur (German title is Hab’mir’s gelobt).


2004 – A documentary about her life and first New York career entitled Never Before received acclaim in the USA.


2006 – Died on the 4th of September in Munich.