Anneliese Rothenberger

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Anneliese Rothenberger, 1969

Anneliese Rothenberger , also Anneliese Dieberitz (born June 19, 1919 in Mannheim ; † May 24, 2010 in Münsterlingen , Switzerland ), was a German opera and operetta singer (lyrical soprano ).


Cast list Lulu with Anneliese Rothenberger's autograph

Anneliese Rothenberger completed her vocal studies at the University of Music and Theater Mannheim, among others with Professor Erika Müller-Seeger, who recognized Rothenberger's talent very early on. At the age of 16 she was already singing in public in concerts. She began her career in 1942 at the Theater Koblenz as Christel in Vogelhändler by Carl Zeller . Here they came on as an actress and has sung major roles such as Gilda in Rigoletto and the title role in Christel Flein by Hans Pfitzner . Its discoverer and patron was the local music director Dr. Wilhelm Schmidt-Scherf (1904–1990). After the theater was closed, she had to work on the assembly line in a tinplate can factory in Weißenthurm during the war . Because of severe anemia, she was sent to the country to recover and came to the village of Hassenberg near Mitwitz in Upper Franconia, where she stayed until the end of the war. There she began to sing again and gave house concerts in Neustadt bei Coburg. In 1946 she was brought to the Hamburg State Opera by the artistic director Günther Rennert , where she made her debut in 1947 as Oskar, Page in Giuseppe Verdi's A Masked Ball .

In 1952/53 she made her first international tours to North and South America and appeared on American television for the first time. In 1954 Rothenberger made his debut at the Salzburg Festival in Rolf Liebermann's Penelope under the conductor George Szell and the director Oscar Fritz Schuh (set: Caspar Neher ). Liebermann's Die Schule der Frauen (Szell, Schuh, Neher) followed in 1957, followed by Zdenka in Strauss' Arabella in 1958, conducted by Joseph Keilberth and directed by Rudolf Hartmann . At the opening of the new Großer Festspielhaus in 1960 she was Sophie in a performance of Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier under Herbert von Karajan (director: Hartmann; set design: Teo Otto ). In 1965 she sang Konstanze in Salzburg alongside Fritz Wunderlich in the production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail by Giorgio Strehler (direction) and Luciano Damiani (set), which was conducted by Zubin Mehta . Rothenberger sang again in this production until 1970. Her last role in Salzburg was in 1969 and 1970 Fiordiligi in Mozart's Così fan tutte under Seiji Ozawa and Jean-Pierre Ponnelle .

In the fifties Rothenberger made his debut at the festivals in Edinburgh , Munich , Glyndebourne and the Berliner Festwochen ; she remained associated with all these festivals for many years. In 1956 Rothenberger was engaged at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf / Duisburg and in 1957 at the Vienna State Opera , of which she was a member until 1975.

In 1960 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Zdenka in Richard Strauss' Arabella . At the Metropolitan Opera she was one of the audience's favorites for many years and, in addition to Zdenka, she also sang the role of Oscar in a new production of Verdi's Un ballo in maschera (with Leonie Rysanek as Amelia and Carlo Bergonzi as Riccardo), Musetta in La Bohème (with Renata Tebaldi as Mimi and Franco Corelli as Rodolfo), Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro (with Lisa della Casa as Countess), Amor in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice , Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier and Adele in Die Fledermaus .

In 1961 she made her debuts at La Scala in Milan (as Sophie in Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier ), in Copenhagen (as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro ) and at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (as Sophie , and also as Konstanze in Mozart's Die Entführung from the seraglio ). At this time she also sang in Montreal , Zurich , Dortmund , Mannheim and at the festivals in Aix-en-Provence and Florence ( Maggio Musicale ).

As an interpreter of classical songs, Rothenberger gave recitals in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Japan and in many cities in the USA and the Soviet Union . For many years she went on a major song tour twice a year.

Due to her popularity, which she enjoyed above all in Germany and Austria, she was persuaded to participate in several successful music films. The best known of these films is probably the English film adaptation of the operetta Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss from 1955.

She was also very active on television, which made her known to a wide audience. She appeared very often on German and American television, on the BBC and in Eurovision programs. In 1967 she had her first own show in Germany (Tonight: Anneliese Rothenberger) . In 1969 she moderated the big live concert in the Berlin Philharmonic on the occasion of Robert Stolz's 90th birthday ; the concert was broadcast live over 200 channels. Shortly afterwards she got her own entertainment series on ZDF , Anneliese Rothenberger does the honors .

Radio exhibition 1970 in Düsseldorf

She later made a contribution to promoting young talent with her ZDF program Anneliese Rothenberger presents young artists . This is what she did with her foundation of the Anneliese Rothenberger Prize as part of the European Culture Forum Mainau . Every two years, promising young talented singers are awarded two Anneliese Rothenberger Prizes .

From 1954 until his death in 1999 she was married to the journalist, editor and poet Gerd Wendelin Dieberitz , who was also her manager.

She had resigned from the opera stage in 1983; She gave recitals until 1989. Because of her cancer, she stopped performing in public afterwards.

Anneliese Rothenberger was also successful as a painter. In the early 1960s she was studying in New York with the German-American painter Alfred Zwiebel . In 1963 she had the first exhibition of her own pictures in Frankfurt am Main . Since then she has organized a number of exhibitions in Germany and Switzerland.

One of her last public appearances was on October 26, 2003 on ZDF , when she received the ECHO Klassik Award for her life's work in the Dortmund Konzerthaus . The public television program Das Erste and Reinhold Beckmann were able to persuade them again in 2006 to appear in front of the camera on the Beckmann program . She reported about the sudden cardiac death of her father at the age of 36 and the accidental death while playing Fangerle , her five-year-old brother Heinz by a Postbus .

Until the end she lived in Salenstein , on the Swiss shore of Lake Constance . She was close friends with the Count family Bernadotte from Mainau and godmother of Count Björn Bernadotte .

She was buried anonymously in the family grave of a friend at the Hamburg cemetery in Ohlsdorf



Anneliese Rothenberger had a large repertoire. She sang roles in operas by Claudio Monteverdi , Henry Purcell , Georg Friedrich Händel , Christoph Willibald Gluck , Joseph Haydn , Ludwig van Beethoven , Richard Wagner , Giuseppe Verdi , Giacomo Puccini , Ruggero Leoncavallo , Carl Maria von Weber , Albert Lortzing , Engelbert Humperdinck , Gioachino Rossini , Daniel Auber , Eugen d'Albert , Gaetano Donizetti , Georges Bizet , Jacques Offenbach , Maurice Ravel , Paul Hindemith , Benjamin Britten , Gian Carlo Menotti , Igor Stravinski , Carl Orff , Werner Egk , Gottfried von Eine , Wilhelm Kienzl , Norbert Schultze , Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari , Francis Poulenc and Alban Berg .

She sang the title role in Madama Butterfly and Mimi (at the beginning in Hamburg also Musette ) in La Bohème by Puccini, the title role in Martha by Friedrich von Flotow , Gilda in Rigoletto and Violetta in La traviata by Verdi and the title role in Lulu by Alban Berg .

Above all, however, she was in the roles of Mozart ( Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail ), Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro , Zerlina in Don Giovanni , at the beginning Despina and later Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte , Papagena , Pamina and the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte and by Richard Strauss ( Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier , Zdenka in Arabella ). Her warm soprano set standards in the aforementioned Strauss roles that are still used today in the opera world. Her embodiment of Zdenka in the Salzburg Festival performance of Arabella in 1958, the Munich performance in 1959 and the performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1960 remains decisive for this role for many connoisseurs. This opera was then performed every year from 1959 to 1973 at the Münchner Festwochen with the same cast ( Lisa della Casa as Arabella , Rothenberger as Zdenka , and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as Mandryka .)

But the artist also had great success with contemporary music, such as the title role in Alban Berg's Lulu . In the modern field she sang a. a. also Telemachos in Rolf Liebermann's opera Penelope and Agnes in his Schule der Frauen , Lucy in Benjamin Britten's performance of The Beggar's Opera and the title role in the opera Madame Bovary , an opera that Heinrich Sutermeister wrote for her in 1966 and which premiered in Zurich.

Her song repertoire included songs by u. a. Gluck, Haydn, Beethoven, Franz Schubert , Robert Schumann , Johannes Brahms , Pjotr ​​Iljitsch Tschaikowski , Richard Strauss, Hugo Wolf and Othmar Schoeck .

Anneliese Rothenberger has been an important operetta soprano, especially since the 1970s . Although she has participated in numerous operetta recordings, she only appeared on stage in operetta roles in the trouser role of Henri in The Opera Ball and as Adele . She was all the more loyal to the operetta subject on television. Among other things, she moderated the ZDF shows Anneliese Rothenberger gives herself the honor and dreamland operetta , in which she also presented samples of her skills.

At an early age she also successfully devoted herself to the lighter muse. In the 1950s she sang the hit song “Love is just a fairy tale” in a duet with Peter Schütte and “ La-Le-Lu ” with Detlev Lais, and in 1969 the song of the ARD television lottery How beautiful is this world .

Anneliese Rothenberger has recorded several dozen records for EMI / Electrola ; there are also some for Deutsche Grammophon and RCA . Several of these recordings have recently been released on CD; some video recordings have also been released in DVD format.



  • Melody of my life. Self-experienced, self-told . Lichtenberg, Munich 1972 ISBN 3-7852-1141-4 (autobiography; with discography, repertoire and curriculum vitae in tabular form; 191 pages)
    • Paperback edition with the title: Melody of my life. A world star tells. Goldmann, Munich 1974 a. ö. ISBN 3-442-02990-2 . With discography and repertoire; ibid. as a large print edition 1981 ISBN 3-442-07207-7 (with discography etc. from p. 190; identical to the Lichtenberg edition)


Web links

Commons : Anneliese Rothenberger  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Handbuch der Musik , Ring der Musikfreunde 1960; Riemann Musiklexikon , Brockhaus Wiesbaden 1979
  2. broadcast Cantabile of Bayerischer Rundfunk of 19 June 2014. 90th anniversary of the artist
  3. 1919 is mentioned as the year of birth in the artist's will. See Adrienne Braun: Mozart's missionary from Mannheim. In: Stuttgarter Zeitung , June 19, 2019, p. 28
  4. KJ Kutsch and Leo Riemens: Large singer lexicon. Fourth, enlarged and updated edition. Saur, Munich 2003. ISBN 3-598-11598-9
  5. Anneliese Rothenberger, Melodie meine Leben, Munich 1972, pp. 86–95.
  6. Anneliese Rothenberger, Melodie meine Leben, pp. 112–123.
  7. ^ ZDF: You could inspire generations from May 25, 2010
  8. YouTube “Anneliese Rothenberger at BECKMANN.” Interview on November 20, 2006, accessed on October 23, 2018
  9. ^ Adrienne Braun: Mozart's missionary from Mannheim. In: Stuttgarter Zeitung , June 19, 2019, p. 28