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Johanna Gadski
Johanna Gadski (born Anklammarker, Prussia 15 June 1872 - died Berlinmarker, 22 February 1932) was a Germanmarker operatic soprano with a secure, powerful, ringing voice and an excellent technique.

After receiving her musical education in Stettin, she made her operatic debut in Berlin in 1889 in the role of Undine. Highlights of her subsequent career in Germany included appearances at the 1899 Bayreuth Festivalmarker and at the 1905-06 Munich Festival.

Gadski built her international reputation in English-speaking countries. She made her successful American debut in New York in 1895 (with the Damrosch Company) and became popular, too, in Great Britain. She sang in London at the Royal Opera Housemarker, Covent Gardenmarker, in 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1906. Some sources credit her with appearing at the Worcester Festivals there, but this is an error. Actually, she sang at the Worcester, Massachusetts, festivals in the late 1890s.

In 1899-1900, Gadski embarked on a concert tour of the United States. She also joined the star-studded roster of singers at the New York Metropolitan Opera, singing there in 1898-1904 and 1907-17. At the height of World War I, however, she was obliged to resign from the Metropolitan Opera. Legend has it that she was deported from the U.S. as an alien enemy, but this is not true. She spent the duration of the war in New York and Lake Spofford, N. H., and in fact never returned to visit Germany until 1922. She resumed her concert career in the United States in 1921, but did not return to the operatic stage until the late 1920's; her first such appearance was in a 1928 production of Die Walküre by the Washington National Opera, a semi-professional company not related to its present namesake, and thereafter she toured as the star of the German Grand Opera Company in 1929-31. By this late date, however, her voice had been eroded by age and hard use. A U.S. citizen since 1925, she was visiting Germany when she died in a car accident in Berlin in 1932.

During the years of her prime, Gadski was particularly celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic as a Wagnerian singer; but she was equally splendid as a performer of the more strenuous Italian operatic roles.

She made numerous, impressive recordings in the early years of the 20th century which have been released complete on two sets of CDs by Marston Records.


  1. McPherson, Jim, "Mr. Meek Goes to Washington: The Story of the Small-Potatoes Canadian Baritone Who Founded America’s 'National' Opera," The Opera Quarterly, volume 20, no. 2, Spring 2004
Except as expressly footnoted, adapted from The New Student's Reference Work. Other information drawn from The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera (second edition), by Harold Rosenthal and John Warrack (Oxford University Press, London, 1980) and The Record of Singing (volume one), by Michael Scott (Duckworth, London 1977).

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