V1805. OTTILIE METZGER: Songs by Brahms, Schubert & Weber; Arias from Orfeo, Carmen, Samson et Dalila, Le Prophète, L’Africaine, Mignon, Ballo, Marta, Der Evangelimann, Rienzi, Siegfried & Les Dragons de Villars.
(Germany) FLG 19061913, recorded 1906-13. Transfers by Christian Zwarg. Extremely Limited Edition.
“This splendidly gifted contralto spent three years at Cologne before being named the principal contralto at Hamburg; there she sang with many of the greats of her day, including Caruso during his guest appearances. Metzger sang at Bayreuth in 1901, 1902, 1904 and 1912, where she was most noted for her stately interpretations of Waltraute in GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG and Erda in SIEGFRIED. Ottilie Metzger also sang at Covent Garden where she was the first London Herodias in Strauss’ SALOME. Numerous other engagements decorated her long career, including ones at Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Prague, Oslo, Zürich, Amsterdam, Wiesbaden, Vienna, Düsseldorf, Hague and St. Petersburg. She ventured to America in 1913, where she sang as soloist with the New York Philharmonic. Metzger-Lattermann was also a distinguished recitalist; at one point her accompanist was none other than Richard Strauss.
In the early 1920s, she toured the United States in Leo Blech’s distinguished German Opera Company (his casts also included Seinemeyer, Alsen, Schorr and Kipnis), and in the late 1920s was a member of Gadski’s German Grand Opera Company. She taught in Berlin until her being Jewish made escape necessary; she fled to Brussels. She was deported to Auschwitz in late 1942, and it is assumed she endured that hell on earth till early 1943.
It becomes clear almost instantly that Metzger took her records quite seriously, and it is probably fair to assume we are left with a relatively accurate account of what was heard by her audiences. On records, Metzger displays the sort of otherworldly, deep and compelling voice needed for Wagner’s earth mothers and all-knowing goddesses. Yet curiously, her most recently re-issued recordings appear on Ward Marston’s ‘complete’ CARMEN from 1908, a CD set featuring Emmy Destinn. When re-takes were necessary for some of the selections, Destinn was indisposed, so Metzger took her place! Her recorded legacy offers her in a variety of music.”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile