Karin Branzell

Karin Branzell

Swedish opera singer, contralto
Date of Birth: 21.09.1891
Country: USA

Biography of Karin Branzell

Karin Branzell was a Swedish opera singer and contralto, born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1891. She began studying music from a young age, initially focusing on the organ. Branzell showed promising talent and worked as an assistant organist at Hjorthagen Church in Stockholm from 1910 to 1913. It was there, in the church choir, that she first started singing.

Karin Branzell

Soon, Branzell's remarkable contralto voice began to develop, sometimes even classified as a mezzo-soprano. However, she possessed the unique ability to sing both contralto and soprano. Branzell made her singing debut at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm during the 1912-1913 season, appearing in Friedrich von Flotow's "Martha" and Giuseppe Verdi's "Aida." She performed at the Royal Theatre from 1913 to 1918 and then at the Berlin State Opera from 1920 to 1934.

Branzell also sang at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden in 1935, 1937, and 1938. On this stage, she had the opportunity to perform alongside Charles Kullman, Alexander Kipnis, and Elisabeth Rethberg in the German version of Alexander Borodin's "Prince Igor." Her first performance at the Metropolitan Opera took place on February 6, 1924, and she appeared there every season until 1944, participating in a total of 412 performances and portraying 21 roles.

Throughout her career, Branzell performed at various renowned opera venues, including the Munich State Opera, Colon Theatre, Buenos Aires, Bayreuth Festival, Florence, and San Francisco. In 1934-1935, she sang with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the premiere of Gustav Mahler's "Kindertotenlieder."

Branzell was elected a member of the Swedish Academy of Music in 1937. Her repertoire included works by Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi, and Richard Strauss. It is Wagner's operas that were particularly notable in her illustrious career.

Karin Branzell often collaborated with Danish opera tenor Lauritz Melchior, who was also her close friend off-stage. Melchior gained fame as the leading Wagnerian tenor. After retiring from the opera stage, Branzell taught opera vocal at the renowned Juilliard School in New York and gave several solo concerts.

Karin Branzell passed away at the age of 81 in Altadena, California on December 15, 1974.