Helen Traubel

Helen Traubel (June 16 1899 - July 28 1972) was an American operatic dramatic soprano, best known for her Wagnerian roles, especially those of Brünnhilde and Isolde.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she made her debut as a concert singer with the St. Louis Symphony in 1923. In 1926 she got a first offer to join the Metropolitan Opera company which she turned down to continue with her studies. She didn't appear on the opera stage until May 12 1937, when the composer Walter Damrosch asked her to sing the first performance of his opera "The Man without a Country".

Since the Met already had two first-class Wagnerian sopranos, Kirsten Flagstad and Marjorie Lawrence, Traubel at first had difficulty finding her niche. Her debut as a regular company member was as Sieglinde in "Die Walkure", the only standard role which she had previously sung, at the Chicago Opera. Flagstad left the US in 1941 to visit her homeland of Norway and couldn't return for political reasons. The same year, Lawrence was stricken with polio and her career was curtailed.

Traubel later triumphed in Tannhäuser and in Tristan und Isolde. She was renowned for her strong voice, which was often described as a "gleaming sword"; her endurance and purity of tone were unsurpassed, especially as Brünnhilde and Isolde. Although she longed to sing Italian opera, she never did in a complete performance, although she often included Italian arias in her recital repertoire. Towards the end of her Met career, she did add the Marschallin in Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier briefly to her repertoire.

Traubel's contract wasn't renewed in 1953 when the Metropolitan Opera's Rudolf Bing expressed disapproval of her radio and TV appearances with the likes of Jimmy Durante and her expressed desire to expand her lucrative career in major supper and night clubs. Traubel went on to appear at the Copacabana, as well as in many cameo television roles.

After her Met career, she appeared on Broadway in the Rodgers and Hammerstein failure, "Pipe Dream", playing a bordello madame with a heart of gold and the voice of Isolde. Additionally, she appeared in the films "Deep in my Heart", "Gunn" and "The Ladies Man". She also appeared opposite Groucho Marx as Katisha in a Bell Telephone presentation (abridged) of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado".

Traubel wrote a murder mystery, "The Metropolitan Opera Murders" (1951), which features a soprano heroine, Elsa Vaughan, who helps solve the mystery, as well as being a thinly-disguised portrait of Traubel herself. She also wrote an autobiography, "St. Louis Woman" (1959).

For her contribution to the recording industry, Helen Traubel has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6422 Hollywood Blvd. In 1994 she was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Helen Traubel died in Santa Monica, California, aged 73, and was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

External links

* [http://www.stlouiswalkoffame.org/inductees/helen-traubel.html Traubel's Entry] at the St. Louis Walk of Fame


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  • Helen Traubel — (* 20. Juni 1899 in St. Louis; † 28. Juli 1972 in Santa Monica) war eine US amerikanische Sopranistin. Leben Nach ihrem Gesangsstudium in St. Louis und New York debütierte Traubel 1923 als Konzertsängerin mit dem St. Louis Symphony …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Helen Traubel — (née le 16 juin 1899 ; morte le 28 juillet 1972 à Santa Monica en Californie) était une soprano américaine, réputée pour ses interprétations des grands rôles wagnériens, en particulier celui de Brunehilde dans L Anneau du Nibelung. Née à… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Helen Traubel — fue una soprano dramática norteamericana nacida en Saint Louis, Missouri el 16 de junio de 1898 y fallecida en Santa Mónica, California en 1972. Considerada una de las voces mas caudalosas e imponentes del siglo XX. Trayectoria De medios… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Helen Traubel — noun United States operatic soprano (1903 1972) • Syn: ↑Traubel • Instance Hypernyms: ↑soprano …   Useful english dictionary

  • Traubel — Helen Traubel (* 20. Juni 1899 in St. Louis; † 28. Juli 1972 in Santa Monica) war eine US amerikanische Sopranistin. Leben Nach ihrem Gesangsstudium in St. Louis und New York debütierte Traubel 1923 als Konzertsängerin mit dem St. Louis Symphony… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Traubel — noun United States operatic soprano (1903 1972) • Syn: ↑Helen Traubel • Instance Hypernyms: ↑soprano * * * /trow beuhl/, n. Helen, 1903 72, U.S. soprano …   Useful english dictionary

  • Traubel, Helen — ▪ American opera singer born June 20, 1899, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. died July 28, 1972, Santa Monica, California  American opera singer, remembered as one of the finest Wagnerian sopranos of her day, who also enjoyed success in popular music… …   Universalium

  • Traubel — biographical name Helen 1903 1972 American soprano …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Traubel — /trow beuhl/, n. Helen, 1903 72, U.S. soprano. * * * …   Universalium

  • Deep in My Heart (1954 film) — Deep in My Heart Theatrical release poster Directed by Stanley Donen Produced by …   Wikipedia


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