Margarethe Siems

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Margarethe Siems (1911)

Margarethe Bertha Ida Siems (born December 30, 1879 in Breslau ; † April 13, 1952 in Dresden ) was a German opera singer (soprano) and singing teacher .


Margarethe Siems first received violin and piano lessons in her native Breslau. In 1899 she began her singing studies in Dresden with the singer and music teacher Aglaja Orgeni . In 1902 she received her first engagement from theater director Angelo Neumann at the Deutsches Theater in Prague , where she made her debut as Queen Margarethe in “ Die Huguenots ” by Giacomo Meyerbeer .

In 1908 she was engaged at the Dresden Court Opera (today Semperoper ), where she succeeded Irene Abendroth . Siems participated in the world premiere of the opera " Elektra " in 1909 , in the world premiere of " Der Rosenkavalier " in 1911 and in the world premiere of the opera " Ariadne auf Naxos " in 1912 - all by Richard Strauss , who played the extremely demanding role of Zerbinetta ( "Ariadne on Naxos ” ) was actually intended for Frieda Hempel , who fell ill for a short time. The role of Marschallin ( "Rosenkavalier" ), however, remained the greatest success of her career, which took her to many German and international stages.

From 1920 to 1924 Margarethe Siems was a singing teacher at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin ; from 1926 she worked as a private singing teacher in Dresden. Among her students was the contralto Sigrid Onegin . After numerous appearances (mainly at the Dresden and Berlin Court Opera), Siems celebrated her official stage farewell in 1925 at the opera house in her hometown of Breslau, with her star role, the marshal from the "Rosenkavalier" .

Former country house of Margarethe Siems in the former Bismarckstrasse (today ul. Miła No. 3) in Bad Landeck in the Glatzer Land (today Lądek-Zdrój ).

After 1937 she became a professor of singing at the Wroclaw Conservatory - but on the condition that she did not have to become a member of the NSDAP . She now lived in Bad Landeck (today Lądek-Zdrój , Poland), where she had bought a country house. During the forced evacuation on November 27, 1946, she had to leave her place of residence within an hour, and all of her private belongings were lost. Impoverished, Siems went back to Dresden, where she received a small pension. Despite her old age, she continued to teach at the Dresden Academy of Music.

Margarethe Siems was not married. She had an adopted daughter (Ingeborg Siems) who, however, died in 1950 at the age of only 37 after an operation. Siems died almost two years later and was buried in the Johannisfriedhof in Dresden-Tolkewitz.


Richard Strauss in a letter dated August 12, 1949 (shortly before his death):

“Frau Kammersängerin Margarethe Siems sang the role of Marschallin in my Rosencavalier for the first time in 1911 and then sang the role 320 times on all the major stages. She was exemplary for all marshals in terms of voice and play. In Stuttgart she launched the difficult role of Zerbinetta in my opera Ariadne and had great success in this too. Ms. Siems still has a highly cultivated voice and is highly recommended as a singing teacher. May the young generation learn a lot from their experience for the stage combined with the best Dresden tradition, that is the wish of the composer Dr. Richard Strauss."

(Source: Saxon State and University Library Dresden, estate of Gerda Weinholz / Margarethe Siems, Mscr_Dred_App 2543).


  • Peter Sommeregger: "We artists are different natures": the life of the Saxon court opera singer Margarethe Siems . Seifert Verlag, Vienna 2016. ISBN 978-3-902924-64-3 .

Web link

Individual evidence

  1. See: A first performance by Richard Strauss in Stuttgart. In: Neues Tagblatt , Stuttgart, vol. 69, No. 45, February 23, 1912, signed. Wko, p. 1. See also a letter from Hugo von Hofmannsthal to his father from October 15, 1912, Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach am Neckar (DLA 71.601 / 6). Cf. also: Richard Strauss - Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Correspondence. Edited by Willi Schuh. Zurich 1952, pp. 120, 122, 154, 162, 165f. and 184.
  2. ^ Peter Sommeregger: Searching for traces of the first Marschallin in the opera magazine OperaLounge. Digitized