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Elisabeth Schwarzkopf discusses her role as The Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier ; part 2

BROADCAST: Nov. 2, 1960 | DURATION: 00:03:23


Studs Terkel discusses with Elizabeth her her role as The Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier. This interview is done in three parts.


Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.


Studs Terkel You and Vienna are related, now ev- even though you're from Berlin. Yet Vienna--

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Oh, I'm not from Berlin at

Studs Terkel all. Poland originally, was it?

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf It's now Poland, but it was German when I was born. I was, I became Austrian overnight, really, when the Vienna Opera was supposed to go to London. And I was still German, and they said, "well, we have to have you with us, so now you have to be an Austrian." And I must say I have ever since never regretted it, and I have been made very, well, they like me very much and I feel very, really at home there, I must say, now.

Studs Terkel With good reason. You're Viennese by adoption, then.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf I am, very much. Well, Lotte Lehmann was, too.

Studs Terkel Perhaps we romanticize, we in America who have [never been?] think of the Vienna of another time as being a - of city almost a world all by itself.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf It is. It still is, definitely, you know. And when I was a young singer, to go to the Vienna State Opera, be engaged there that was the ultimate goal in life, really. I didn't want to go any further, ever. And I must say even now, you know, being a member of La Scala and God knows what all, coming back to Vienna is really still very special.

Studs Terkel And the operetta in Vienna, operetta is almost always exclusively associated with Vienna, primarily.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Oh, yes, rather. Yeah, I think so. Though you have got some operettas, some French operettas, of course, which are very--

Studs Terkel Offenbach.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Ah, yes, but otherwise it is nearly always Vienna.

Studs Terkel Do you find, is your approach to [obtaining?] this, here's a great deal of gaiety and buoyancy involved, yet, here, too, the element of study comes into it? How how how [unintelligible]?

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Oh, quite definitely. It was by no means easy. And to convey gaiety is sometimes much more difficult than to convey other emotions in life, you know? So, of course when we recall it, the many records we did with operetta [that? there?] was always, we had great fun. You can't help. It it's just, it is just wonderful, and you are all the more carried away by it and you allow yourself being more carried away by it than with any other music, really. You have no such strict bounds.

Studs Terkel Here the matter of the infectiousness is there, too, is it not?

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Yes.

Studs Terkel The audience seems to just be--

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf I hope so. [laughter]

Studs Terkel [Involved, it's a cinch?]. Of course, this this leads to the Wiener Blut.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Yes. I must say that I enjoyed hardly anything so much than con-recording some of the operettas, and also if if I rehear it now and then, which I do not very often, but I think that in some of the operettas there are some of - if I, if that doesn't sound presumptuous - some of my best singing in it. It is not easy to sing operetta well.

Studs Terkel Well, tell us about that.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Well--

Studs Terkel You say it is not easy to sing operetta really.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf No, because it has to sound very easy, very much easier and very much more conversational, and very much more with a great schwung and charm than anything else you sing, and--

Studs Terkel So, informal almost--

Studs Terkel Yes--

Studs Terkel Like a throwaway quality at the same time.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf But you know there's nothing is is more difficult. You may know it from the great comics--

Studs Terkel And seeming casual--

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf As to, yes, to seem casual and to, that is really a very difficult thing. But I hope that it does come through and some of the operettas and I must say I'm not ashamed of them.

Studs Terkel That's a good feeling.