Berta Morena (1878-1952).

  • Profession: Soprano.
  • Relation to Mahler: Worked with Gustav Mahler.
  • Correspondence with Mahler:
  • Born: 27-01–1878 Mannheim, Germany.
  • Died: 07-10-1952 Rottach-Egern am Tegersee, Germany.
  • Buried: 00-00-0000
  1. 1908 Opera New York 04-03-1908.
  2. 1908 Opera New York 20-03-1908.
  3. 1908 Opera New York 01-04-1908.
  4. 1908 Opera Boston 08-04-1908.
  5. 1908 Opera New York 14-04-1908.
  6. 1909 Opera New York 20-02-1909.

Her real name was Berta Meyer. As the story goes, the famous painter, von Lenbach, who was attracted to Morena’s Rubensesque figure, helped launch her career. She made her debut (1898) as Agathe in ”Der Freischütz”. She was regarded as a “fascinating” actress and an “intelligent” singer. She spent the majority of her career at the Munich Opera. She did appear at Covent Garden during the German Opera Season in 1914.

Berta Morena was born Berta Meyer in 1878, at Mannheim. After completing her studies with Mrs Röhr-Brajnin, Regina de Sales and Aglaja von Orgeni she made her debut in 1898 at the Münchner Hofoper as Agathe in Freischütz. The debut was successful and the critics were full of praise for her beautiful voice as well as for her beauty. During the next seasons she appeared in a variety of roles, gradually gaining a reputation, especially in Wagnerian roles. From 1903 she sang Brünnhilde, from 1907 she was very successful as Leonore in Fidelio. Within a short time, she became Munich’s most beloved singer, appearing there as Elisabeth, Elsa, Eva, Isolde, Kundry, Sieglinde, the Brünnhildes, Senta, Santuzza, the title role in  Lachner’s Catharina Cornaro, Kassandra in Weingartner’s Orestes, Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Aida and in Charpentier’s Louise.

One of her best roles was Rachel in Halévy’s La Juive. In 1908 she was invited to sing at the Metropolitan, where she appeared in 56 performances during four seasons singing Leonore in Fidelio under Gustav Mahler, but she could not erase still vivid recollections of Lilli Lehmann and Amalie Materna in the role. Elisabeth and Sieglinde were considered the best performances during her Met career. Berta Morena sang widely as a guest artist, in Vienna, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Hannover, Karlsruhe, Berlin (Hofoper), Zurich, Barcelona, Budapest National Opera and London (1914). At Covent Garden, she did not please neither as Isolde nor as Kundry, but her Sieglinde was exceptional. In 1923 she celebrated her twenty-fifth anniversary of membership at the Munich Opera. Soon after she left the Munich Opera on account of disagreements with the management reappearing as Brünnhilde at the Metropolitan. It was not until 1927, that she bade farewell to her audience to become a sought-after singing tutor. Berta Morena died in 1952, at Rottach-Egern (Bavaria).

Chronology of some appearances:

  • 1898-1912 Munich – Court Opera Der Freischütz (Agathe).
  • 1903 Riga – Opera House.
  • 1903 Cologne – Opera House.
  • 1904 Munich – Court Opera Das Vaterunser (Rose) (Premiere).
  • 1904 Brno – Theater.
  • 1907-1909 New York – Metropolitan Opera.
  • 1908 Hannover – Court Theater.
  • 1910-1912 New York – Metropolitan Opera.
  • 1911 Hamburg – Opera House.
  • 1911 Frankfurt a. M. – Opera House.
  • 1912 Zurich – Municipal Theater Nibelungenring (Brünnhilde)
  • 1912 Budapest – National Opera.
  • 1914-1923 Munich – Court Opera.
  • 1914 London – Covent Garden  Tristan und Isolde (Isolde).
  • 1918 Munich – Court Opera Theophano (-) (Premiere).
  • 1919 Karlsruhe – Court Opera.
  • 1919 Amsterdam – Opera.
  • 1921 Zurich – Municipal Theater Tristan und Isolde (Isolde).
  • 1923 Zurich – Municipal Theater Tristan und Isolde (Isolde).
  • 1923 Zurich – Municipal Theater Siegfried (Brünnhilde).
  • 1923-1924 – Nuremberg Municipal Theater.
  • 1924-1925 New York – Metropolitan Opera.

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