Bibliography of Articles about Meta Seinemeyer

The following is a list of articles about Seinemeyer, and books that contain substantial information about her. I have excluded biographical dictionaries, encyclopedias, and similar works, and books that contain only a few paragraphs (or less) about Seinemeyer. The list does not include my own article, which was published in The Record Collector, Dec. 2002, p. 243-283. If you know of any other articles about Seinemeyer, please e-mail me.

Bartnig, Hella. "Sie hatte die ‘Träne in der Stimme’ (Meta Seinemeyer)". Sächsische Zeitung, Sept. 5, 1995. A brief article on the 100th anniversary of Seinemeyer's birth.

Blyth, Alan (ed.). Opera on Record, vol. 1. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1979. The following chapters mention Seinemeyer's recordings: "Der Freischütz", by Alan Blyth; p. 138.
"Il Trovatore
", by John Higgins and Alan Blyth; p. 236.
"Un Ballo in Maschera
", by Lord Harewood: p. 268.
"La Forza del Destino
", by Lord Harewood, p. 283-84, 289.
"Don Carlos
", by Lord Harewood, p. 302.
", by John Steane, p. 313-15.
", by Alan Blyth, p. 327, 329.
", by Charles Osborne, p. 361.
"Tristan und Isolde
", by Robin Holloway, p. 373.
"Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
", by Richard Law, p. 387.
"Der Ring des Nibelungen
", by Alan Blyth, p. 418.
", by Kenneth Furie, p. 457.
"Der Rosenkavalier
", by Alan Jefferson, p. 568-569.
"La Bohème
", by Edward Greenfield, p. 581.
", by Edward Greenfield, p. 596.
"Madama Butterfly
", by Edward Greenfield, p. 614.
All of these critics give her very high praise.

Dennis, James F. E. "Meta Seinemeyer". The Record Collector, vol. XIV, no. 7-8 (1961-62), p. 158-168, with discography by J. W. C. Hesser, p. 163-167. The article is quite well done, considering the time when it was written. In 1961-62, many essential documents would have been located in East Germany, and so were probably inaccessible to the author. This could explain why he did not know her date of birth (her birth certificate was in East Berlin). The author mentions Seinemeyer’s original plan to become a concert singer. He repeats the common mistake about the date of her debut in New York (Feb. 23, 1923, instead of the actual date of Feb. 12). Dennis, more than any other author, writes about the enormous following that Seinemeyer had in Dresden; the audiences’ enthusiasm for her was comparable to that given to Caruso and Farrar at the Met. The article quotes from several obituaries; many of which are the same ones quoted in Wahl’s article (see below). The discussion of her recordings, which is a bit on the technical side, is very good, although the author repeats a mistake made in Gramophone Magazine (see below), which says that Seinemeyer’s four last Lieder recordings (Liszt’s "O lieb’", Weingartner’s "Liebesfeier", Rubinstein’s "Es blinkt der Tau" and "Die Nacht") were made in June 1929. They were, in fact, made in March 1929.

Eckhardt, Brigitte. "Die Seele lebt: Meta Seinemeyer zum 100. Geburtstag". SLB-Kurier (publication of the Sächsische Landesbibliothek), vol. 9 (1995), H. 3, p. 12. Excellent one-page summary of Seinemeyer's life and career. The only mistake is in her death date (the article says Aug. 9, 1929, when in fact it was Aug. 19). This might have been just a misprint.

Erhardt, O. "Seinemeyer, Meta". Jahrbuch der Sächsischen Staatstheater, vol. 110, [1929], p. 69-72. A tribute to Seinemeyer, written shortly after her death. Contains a good summary of her career in Dresden.

Fischer, Jens Malte. Grosse Stimmen. Stuttgart; Weimar: Verlag J. B. Metzler, 1993. Seinemeyer: p. 217-219. Fischer clearly admires Seinemeyer, but says she lacked star quality (whatever that means), and seems to think that she became more popular after her death, through her recordings, than she ever was during her lifetime. I wonder if Fischer knows about her huge following in Dresden; he never mentions it.

Hague, John. "Meta Seinemeyer". Notes to Rococo LP 5222. Toronto: [no date; probably 1964 or 1965, since Hague says he first met Seinemeyer thirty-nine years before the article was published, and this first meeting must have taken place in 1925 or 1926]. 2 p. The author first saw Seinemeyer in a performance of Faust in Dresden; later, he saw as many of her performances as possible and became a close personal friend. He writes about her "fine sense of the stage" and great ability as an actress. Also, he mentions her perfectionism, and how intensely she studied her roles: "No role was ever undertaken without at least a year’s study and preparation". Hague says that Seinemeyer’s favorite role was Leonora in Forza del Destino, and that other favorites were Marguerite in Faust and Maddalena in Andrea Chenier, although he himself preferred her Wagnerian roles of Eva and Elisabeth. One thing I would question, though, is his statement that she had a small voice. I know it can be difficult to judge by recordings alone, but, at least to me, her voice does not sound that way; for example, Seinemeyer’s voice pierces so clearly through the chorus in the Aida excerpts, and I think it would be very difficult for a small voice to do that. Another mistake that Hague makes is that he says that Seinemeyer’s illness, which began in 1926, was TB ("a tubercular complaint", in his words).

Hiller, Carl H. "Auf alten Rillen: Meta Seinemeyer." Opernwelt, Oct. 1984, p. 55-56. A brief discussion of Seinemeyer’s recordings, which emphasizes her role in the "Verdi Renaissance". The author says she had one of the most beautiful voices of her time ("eine der schönsten Stimmen ihrer Zeit").

Hunt, John. Teachers and Pupils: Schwarzkopf, Ivogün, Cebotari, Seinemeyer, Welitsch, Streich, Berger. Exeter: Short Run Press, 1996. Seinemeyer: p. 217-232. Discography only; no biographical information. This is the most up-to-date of the published Seinemeyer discographies, and also the only one which is arranged alphabetically by composer. It does contain some mistakes, however (the first Rococo LP of Seinemeyer is always given the number 5318; its actual number is 5218). On p. 6-7, the book includes a table of the seven singers’ repertoires, which also includes operas from which they recorded an aria, but did not sing on stage (so, for example, Tristan und Isolde and The Tsar’s Bride are listed for Seinemeyer, even though she never sang these operas on the stage). For some of the singers, but not Seinemeyer, roles that were sung on the stage, but not recorded, are listed as well. To me, this seems quite inconsistent; we know, for example, that Seinemeyer sang Elisabeth in Tannhäuser and Lisa in Pique Dame (two of the roles listed in the table, for other singers), although she did not record anything from them; the table does not list either role as being part of Seinemeyer’s repertoire; at the same time it lists, for example, Berger’s Olympia and Nedda, which were also roles sung on stage but not recorded. If the author could list such roles for some of the other singers, why couldn’t he list them for Seinemeyer?

Kesting, Jürgen. Die grossen Sänger unseres Jahrhunderts. Düsseldorf: Econ Verlag, 1993. Seinemeyer: p. 346-349. Kesting, who has a reputation for being extremely difficult to please, admires Seinemeyer very much, and gives especially high praise to most of her Verdi recordings. But he does make some negative comments about two of my favorite Seinemeyer recordings: "Tu che le vanità" and "Gretchen am Spinnrade".

"Meta Seinemeyer". By a personal friend. The Gramophone, Oct. 1929, p. 195-196. The author’s name is never given. Do any of you know who this "personal friend" was? If you do, please let me know. This article, which came out shortly after Seinemeyer’s death, gives a better sense of her personality than many of the other articles do. It mentions her perfectionism, her sense of the drama, and her complete devotion to her art. The author says "she was one of the most charming and amusing of companions", but "her circle of intimate friends was always small", because her art always came first. Like Wahl, this author mentions her interest in the recording process, which he/she says was unusual. Also, it was to this friend that Seinemeyer wrote a letter from London (later quoted by Steane), about "the opera house ‘hiding shamefacedly between a vegetable market and the chief lock-up,’ and which for all its wonders did not boast of a permanent circus!" This author mentions Seinemeyer’s plans to sing in the new production of Benvenuto Cellini in Dresden, and her last concert of Lieder with Weissmann at the piano. The article does contain a mistake about when her four last Lieder were recorded; it says she recorded them in June 1929, when in fact they were recorded in March. The author says that Seinemeyer died of the flu, which she caught in London. It is possible that he/she did not know about her leukemia, which she kept a secret. Also, at the very beginning of the article, there’s a story, which seems very unlikely to me, about an agent hearing Seinemeyer singing at a window. At that time, Seinemeyer had wanted to become a concert singer (which was true), but the agent convinced her to audition at the opera. I would question this story because, for one thing, the dates don’t work out right; the author says this incident happened "Not quite ten years ago", which would be 1920. By that time, Seinemeyer had already been singing at the Berlin Opera for two years. (But I could be wrong. If you know for a fact that this story was true, and the author just had the dates wrong, please let me know.)

Moran, William R. (ed.). Herman Klein and the Gramophone. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press, 1990. This is a collection of reviews by Herman Klein, who was for many years the leading critic of The Gramophone. Klein is quite critical of Seinemeyer’s early recordings. (He is much too hard on her Der Freischütz recordings, I think.) But his reviews of Seinemeyer get better and better, until the last few are absolute raves. He especially emphasizes her versatility. In a review of her Liszt and Rubinstein records, which were released after her death, he pays a touching tribute to her: "I need not dwell on the sensations that one experiences on hearing anew the voice of a singer who has just passed on. It is one of those strange phenomena that the gramophone alone can create... The sincerity of her work was among her many rare merits and it stands forth plainly for all to hear in these pieces..."

Riemens, Leo. "Meta Seinemeyer". Notes to Rococo LP 5218. Toronto: [no date; 1960s?] 2 p. This article contains several mistakes, mostly in regard to dates: it gives incorrect birth and death dates (Sept. 19, 1895 instead of Sept. 5; July19, 1929 instead of Aug. 19) and repeats a commonly-made mistake about the date of her debut in New York (the date is given as Feb. 23, 1923, when in fact it was Feb. 12, 1923). The article does, however, contain information that is not to be found in any of the other articles on Seinemeyer. Riemens mentions her performances in The Hague, while the other articles don't. Perhaps most interestingly, Riemens says, about Seinemeyer’s illness: "The cause for her tragic death at 34 has long remained a mystery, but recent research has proved most conclusively that she was suffering from leukemia." Several articles that were written later than this (1970s-1980s) attribute her death to the flu or TB; Riemens’ article shows that the cause of her death was known at least as early as the 1960s. I wish Riemens had said what this "research" was, though; it sounds like there is definitely another article out there that I haven’t seen. (If any of you know where this "research" is to be found, please let me know!)

Simpson, Harold. Singers to Remember. The Oakwood Press, 1972. Seinemeyer: p. 151-153. The author seems to rely heavily on John Hague’s article; he also mentions TB as the cause of Seinemeyer’s death. Simpson admires Seinemeyer very much, and mentions her devoted admirers in Dresden, who called her "the beloved Seinemeyer".

Steane, J. B. The Grand Tradition: Seventy Years of Singing on Record. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press, 1993. (First published 1974.) Discussion of Seinemeyer’s recordings on p. 198-202. Steane, one of the world’s leading music critics, is a great admirer of Seinemeyer. He especially loves her Verdi recordings and her "Vissi d’arte", but gives high praise to many of her recordings. He also mentions her "remarkable personal following in Germany", and says that her recordings "suggest only a part" of the emotional effect she had on her audiences.

Steane, J. B. Singers of the Century, vol. 2. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press, 1998. "Tiana Lemnitz and Meta Seinemeyer", p. 191-195. Steane considers Seinemeyer "one of the loveliest singers of her generation". He says a lot about her Covent Garden performances, and tells a wonderful story about a performance where Seinemeyer substituted at the last minute for "a great favourite" (Lotte Lehmann) who was indisposed; some women, who were fans of Lehmann, were disappointed at first, but Seinemeyer won them over, and they hoped to see her again the next year. (Steane is quoting Josephine O’Donnell, secretary to the General Manager of Covent Garden.) He does make a mistake as to the number of Seinemeyer’s performances there, saying there were three when there were, in fact, five. Steane compares Seinemeyer’s voice to Lemnitz’s. At the end of the article, he mentions an old man who seemed to have heard every singer for the past fifty years; Steane asked him who the greatest was, and he mentioned Ponselle and Seinemeyer. "Then he shut his eyes and listened. ‘And Seinemeyer’, he repeated". Steane also says that "Seinemeyer is in danger of being forgotten." I certainly hope that is not the case!

Tubeuf, André. Les introuvables du chant Wagnérien. In: L’avant scène opéra, special issue, 1984. Seinemeyer: p. 157-159. Tubeuf considers Seinemeyer one of the greatest singers of her generation. This article focuses on her Wagner recordings, but also mentions her role in the "Verdi Renaissance".

Wahl, Horst. "Erinnerungen an Meta Seinemeyer". Stimmen, die um die Welt gingen, no. 23, March 1989, p. 1-13, with discography by Floris Juynboll, p. 14-29. This is one of the most in-depth articles written on Seinemeyer; unfortunately, it has never been translated into English. (I would love to get permission to translate parts of the article for this website, but I don’t know who to get permission from; the author died a few years ago.) Wahl was a young employee of Odeon-Parlophon at the time Seinemeyer made her recordings (he was only 20 at the time she made her first Parlophon recordings in 1925) and became a good friend of Seinemeyer and her future husband, Frieder Weissmann. The article contains a very touching story about Seinemeyer inviting the baritone Joseph Schwarz to dinner shortly before his death, and singing a duet with him (with Weissmann at the piano); Wahl took a picture of them, and the picture became one of Seinemeyer’s most treasured possessions until her own death a few years later. Since Schwarz died in 1926, and Wahl already refers to Weissmann as Seinemeyer’s fiancé, this proves that their relationship lasted at least three years; Weissmann did not "love Seinemeyer from a distance" (as the commonly-told story goes) until he married her on her deathbed. (But I have no doubt that the deathbed wedding actually happened.) Wahl writes about Seinemeyer’s interest in the recording process itself (which was quite unusual), and her enthusiasm for the "new" electric recording process. He also writes about her perfectionism, and the reason why her final recordings, from Der fliegende Holländer, were left unpublished; she was not satisfied with the way she sang, and planned to do some more work on them after she returned from London. By that time, however, she was too sick to do any more recording. Unfortunately, Wahl and Juynboll do not say whether or not the recordings still exist. The article also contains extensive quotations from various obituaries, and a picture of Seinemeyer’s funeral, which I have never seen anywhere else.

In addition, I am certain there is at least one other article about Seinemeyer that I am having a hard time locating: the one mentioned by Riemens, which proves conclusively that she had leukemia. Unfortunately, Riemens doesn't mention the source. If any of you can help me find this article, I would greatly appreciate it. Please let me know if you find it.

Back to the Seinemeyer home page.

Copyright 2002 Vicki Kondelik.