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Lotte Lehmann Collection, 1880s-1976 (PA Mss 02)


Several home movies featuring opera star Lotte Lehmann.

Lotte Lehmann was born Charlotte Sophie Pauline Lehmann on February 27, 1888, in Perleberg, Germany. Lehmann's operatic career began in Hamburg in 1910 and she made her Vienna debut in 1916. Her best-known role in Europe was the title role in Fidelio; she became internationally famous for her portrayal of the Marschallin in Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier (she sang all three of the major female roles in that opera, and worked closely with Strauss for a number of years). She made her American debut in Chicago in 1932. Lehmann left Europe to make her home in the U.S. in 1938, after the Anschluss; she lived first in New York and then in Santa Barbara. By 1937, Lehmann described herself as "a concert singer who sometimes sings opera"; she sang her last opera in 1946, but continued to give concerts until 1951. From 1951 until 1961, and occasionally after that, she taught master classes in interpretation at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, in Pasadena, at Northwestern University, and at Wigmore Hall in London. In addition to a novel and two volumes of poems, she published two autobiographies, Midway in My Song (1938; Anfang und Aufsteig in Germany and Wings of Song in Great Britain) and My Many Lives (1948), and two books about interpretation, More Than Singing (1945; revised and published in 1971 as Eighteen Song Cycles) and Five Operas and Richard Strauss (1964; Singing with Richard Strauss in Great Britain).

These films are from the Lehmann Collection, at the University of California, Santa Barbara Library's Department of Special Collections. For more information on the Lotte Lehmann Collection, see the finding aid, available online at:, or contact the Special Collections department.

Sample items from the collection

No edge code but invitation in film appears to read 1967.