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|Year of Death:||1929|
Lilli Lehmann, born Elisabeth Maria Lehmann, later Elisabeth Maria Lehmann-Kalisch (24 November 1848 – 17 May 1929) was a German operatic soprano of phenomenal versatility. She was also a voice teacher.
The future opera star's father, Karl-August Lehmann, was a singer (Heldentenor) while her mother, Maria Theresia Löw (1809–1885), was a soprano. Her younger sister, Marie, also went on to become an operatic soprano. Her first lessons were from her mother, who had been a prima donna under Spohr at the Cassel opera. After singing small parts on the stage, for example in Mozart's Magic Flute at Prague in 1866, and studies under Heinrich Laube in Leipzig, Lehmann made her proper debut in 1870 in Berlin as a light soprano in Meyerbeer's Das Feldlager in Schlesien. She subsequently became so successful that she was appointed an Imperial Chamber Singer for life in 1876.
Lehmann sang in the first Bayreuth Festival in 1876, singing in the first complete performances of The Ring Cycle as Woglinde and Helmwige. She performed in London in 1884, and appeared at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1885–1899. Together with her Met colleagues Fischer, Alvary, Brandt, and Seidl, she helped to popularise Wagner's music in America. By remaining in America beyond the leave granted her by the Berlin Opera, she faced a ban following her return to Germany. After the personal intervention of the Emperor, the ban was lifted.