ERNESTINE SCHUMANN HEINK AUTOGRAPH


Ernestine Schumann-Heink June 15, 1861 – died November 17, 1936. Ernestine was a well-known operatic contralto, noted for the great control, tone, beauty, and wide range of her singing. She was born as Tini Rössler to a German-speaking family in the town of Lieben, near Prague, now in the Czech Republic but then part of the Austrian Empire. In 1877 she made her first professional performance, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Graz, appearing with soprano Maria Wilt. Tini made her operatic debut at Dresden’s Royal Opera House on October 15, 1878 as Azucena in Il Trovatore. Ernestine remained in Dresden to pursue her career, and eventually rejoined her husband when she secured a position at the Hamburg Opera. Ernest Heink was again thrown out of work when Saxons were banned from government positions, and departed to Saxony to find work. Ernestine, pregnant, did not follow him; they were divorced in 1893. That year she married actor Paul Schumann, with whom she had three more children. The second marriage lasted until Paul Schumann’s death in 1904. Her breakthrough into leading roles was provided when prima donna Marie Goetze argued with the director of the Hamburg opera. He asked Ernestine to sing the title role of Carmen, without rehearsal, which she did to great acclaim. Goetze, in a fit of pique, cancelled out of the role of Fides in La Prophete, to be performed the following night, and was again replaced by Ernestine. Schumann-Heink!” During World War I she toured the United States raising money for the war effort, although she had relatives fighting on both sides of the war – including her son August Heink, a merchant mariner who joined the German submarine service, and stepson Walter Schumann and sons Henry Heink and George Washington Schumann, all in the United States Navy. In 1915 she appeared as herself in the early documentary film Mabel and Fatty Viewing the World’s Fair at San Francisco, which was directed by and starred Fatty Arbuckle. In 1926 she first sang Silent Night (in both German and English) over the radio for Christmas. This became a Christmas tradition with US radio listeners through Christmas of 1935. Her last performance at the Met was in 1932. In her later years she had a weekly radio program. Ernestine Schumann-Heink died of leukaemia. Original Ernestine Schumann Heink Autograph, signed on lined cut paper. Approx. Size of paper 1 x 5 1/2 inches. Hand written on paper: E. Schumann Heink Oct. 1932. Regular Price – $ 135.00 / Sale Price – $ 74.95.

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