Margarethe Arndt-Ober

Margarethe Arndt-Ober

American opera singer (contralto)
Country: USA

  1. Margaret Arndt-Obert: An American Contralto Opera Singer
  2. Early Career
  3. Success in Berlin
  4. Metropolitan Opera and Challenges
  5. Continued Success and Recordings
  6. Legacy

Margaret Arndt-Obert: An American Contralto Opera Singer

Margaret Arndt-Obert was an American contralto opera singer of German descent, known during the first half of the 20th century. She achieved great success at the Berlin State Opera from 1907 to 1944, as well as at the Metropolitan Opera from 1913 to 1917. Born in Brooklyn, New York to German immigrant parents, Margaret studied singing in Berlin with Benno Stolzenberg and Arthur Arndt, who would later become her second husband.

Early Career

Margaret made her operatic debut as Azucena in Giuseppe Verdi's "Il trovatore." After some time on the stage, she moved to the Berlin State Opera, where she worked for over 35 years. Her first major role in Berlin was Amneris in Verdi's "Aida," where she sang alongside Enrico Caruso, who played Radames in the same production.

Success in Berlin

In 1908, Margaret played the lead role in the German premiere of Jules Massenet's "Thérèse." In April 1910, she performed in the world premiere of Arthur Nevin's "Poia." In 1913, Margaret took on the role of Eboli in the Berlin premiere of Verdi's "Don Carlos."

Metropolitan Opera and Challenges

In 1913, Margaret started singing at the Metropolitan Opera, making her debut as Ortrud in Richard Wagner's "Lohengrin," which was highly successful. However, her career at the renowned New York theater was cut short prematurely due to the outbreak of World War I. Upon learning that Germany was at war with the United States, Margaret fainted on stage. The public's prejudice against German-Americans led the theater management to dismiss her. Margaret sued the opera house but eventually returned to Germany after the court's decision.

Continued Success and Recordings

Until her retirement in 1944, Margaret continued to perform at the Berlin State Opera. In 1924, she delivered a brilliant performance in the Berlin premiere of Leoš Janáček's "Jenůfa." She also played significant roles in three other world premieres in Berlin: the operetta "Die große Sünderin" by Eduard Künneke, the opera "Der singende Teufel" by Franz Schreker, and the opera "Peer Gynt" by Werner Egk.

Margaret also performed outside of Berlin, regularly participating in the Zoppot Festival from 1922 to 1942. She sang on the stages of opera houses in Spain, Holland, and Norway. She recorded for several record labels, including HMV, Odeon, Parlophon, Pathé, and Victor.


Margaret Arndt-Obert passed away in 1971. Her beautiful contralto voice lives on through her recordings, allowing modern music lovers to experience her talent. Margaret's long and successful career, both in Germany and internationally, solidified her place as a renowned contralto opera singer.