The role of fate Salome: Soprano Inge Borkh died



She did not have a nice, well-tuned voice, but Inge Borkh, actually Ingeborg Simon, made no secret of it, but before that she sang full of character, striking, striking. And that is why she will be remembered as a legendary actress of the "highly dramatic" opera room. In the loudest and most stressful roles such as "Elektra" and "Salome", she set new standards in her time, by making the previously "hysterical" games into lifelike personalities and playing with a truly great presence.

When she lost the "innocence," she stopped

Hollow pathos and boring standard gestures were an abomination to her. Richard Strauss had personally admired her as Salome in Bern in 1947 and advised her to deepen this "role of fate". The desire, erotically inexperienced, but love-madness-possessed king's daughter became the trademark of Borkh. When she suddenly realized on September 3, 1960 that she could no longer play the role with the youthful & innocence, she stopped quite unexpectedly, although critics did her full development & # 39; at that time. For Elektra, who sang with similar consistency and veracity, the Borkh said in her memoirs that "everyday life" at the first words of this part of her had fallen away, that she had become completely this mythical figure, and she certainly had .

Performer research in 1936 in the Viennese Ronacher

She was a "theater beast" and that was no coincidence: at the age of 18 Borkh, who came from rich backgrounds, started her training as an actress at the Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna in 1935. A year later she did the "Artistenprüfung" in Ronacher in Vienna "What she appreciated at a high age when she performed as Brecht-Diseuse.A first engagement led her to Linz, after the infamous" Anschluss "of Austria to the Nazi empire, she moved to Basel in 1938. Bassist Fritz Ollendorff would have "discovered" her vocal talent there. "Anyway, she went to Milan to be vocally trained and was in 1940 in Lucerne for the first time as a soprano on stage.

Energetically she defended her birth date

It soon became clear that she had little regard for "lyrical" roles and that he preferred to sing such lofty figures as Wagner's Senta in the "Flying Dutchman" or Puccini's "Tosca". After a stop in Bern, Inge Borkh made an international breakthrough with the German premiere of Giancarlos Menotti & # 39; s "Consul" in Berlin. In the fifties and sixties she became one of the most desirable characters sopranos, an artist who according to her own words never & # 39; her whole life & # 39; no could say and therefore constantly from vacation to emergency missions & # 39; flew. Incidentally, she occasionally had to claim vigorously that she had actually been born in 1921 and not in 1917, as it was sometimes in lexicons to look up.

Willy Brandt did not know her

In New York, at the famous Metropolitan Opera, the iron curtain only had to be reopened for her after a performance like Salome, because the audience was raving enthusiastically. In Berlin she was a frequent guest and she liked to tell the anecdote that the then reigning mayor Willy Brandt did not know them because he was supposedly only interested in "military music & # 39 ;. She was also often admired in Munich and in 1963 she appeared on stage at the festive reopening of the Bavarian State Opera as dyeing in Frau ohne Treasures & # 39; by Richard Strauss. Incidentally, this performance led to her being asked again as a witness in 2013, exactly fifty years after the event, and even traveled to Isar as a guest. For her 95th birthday two years ago, she still gave interviews, until her high age she was restless on the road and busy with appointments.

She felt good on the "Brettl"

She was already retired in 1973, after a & # 39; elektra & # 39; in Palermo, where she was technically no longer fully satisfied, and from then on she worked as a singing teacher, Diseuse, chanson interpreter and even a comedian. She did not frighten the Brecht and Erich Kästner texts and flirted with the comment that was never written about them as positively as their time on the "Brettl".

At the height of his realization, man should be cheerful. The more experienced you become in life, the more you should have learned not to be that important anymore. – Inge Borkh in her memoirs

Journalists pulled them down with banality

She herself was only her sharpest critic, divine broadcasts were alien to her, sometimes speaking ruthlessly about their own shortcomings, dwindling forces and expressing her astonishment at the surprise of how few young singers deal with the psychology of their respective roles. In her opinion, she also critically assessed journalists who, in their opinion, continued to push them to trivial questions that made it "difficult" to "work up" again. She also found time for two retrospective books ("I can not shake off the theater" and the talk book "Not just Salome and Elektra").

They thought they were harmful

In it she distanced herself from the "snobism" of some directors to always perform operas in the original language and regretted that the intelligibility of the lyrics hardly plays a role. At the same time she criticized the negative influence of the musicals, which are sung with a microphone and therefore negatively influenced the expectations of the audience, since opera singers have since been expected to be & gigantic halls & # 39; to fill. The human voice has been degraded into a "mass product" to promote concerts such as sporting events. The combative, stubborn, wonderful Inge Borkh died 97 years on Sunday morning in Stuttgart, where she lived for decades in a retirement home.


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