Philine Fischer

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Philine Fischer (born Franke ; married Fischer-Sannemüller ; born February 1, 1919 in Leipzig ; † January 22, 2001 ibid) was a German opera singer ( soprano ) who also excelled as an oratorio and concert singer. In Halle she advanced to prima donna and made a significant contribution to the Handel Renaissance of the 1950s. She interpreted fourteen Handel operas, making her one of the world's best to this day. She sang a total of 85 opera roles. Fischer was a senior citizen of the Fischer-Sannemüller-Krumbiegel family of musicians .


Origin and vocal studies

Philine Fischer was born in 1919 as one of three daughters of a librarian who worked in the German Library in Leipzig. She came from a Christian home where house music was cultivated. From the age of ten she attended a school for "Word, Sound and Movement" led by Martel Schmidt. As a 15-year-old she took an aptitude test at the Alter Theater Leipzig , where her musical talent was attested.

After school, she completed a vocal study at the State Conservatory of Music in Leipzig from 1936 to 1941 with a free position . She started this with the singing teacher Ilse Helling-Rosenthal , but then switched to Fritz Polster out of dissatisfaction . Later she was tutored by the chamber singer Erna Westenberger , whom she knew from her engagement in Leipzig. During her studies, from 1938, she appeared as an oratorio singer a . a. she sang in Haydn's Creation and Strauss' German Motet . In Leipzig she worked a. a. with her former teachers, the Thomaskantor Karl Straube , the violinist Walther Davisson and the Austrian composer Johann Nepomuk David .

Start of her operatic career

For about ten years, encouraged by her first husband, a church musician and Straube student, she worked as an oratorio and concert singer . In 1942 she was discovered by an artist 's agent during a staged performance of Bach's coffee cantata . He offered her engagements in Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Frankfurt am Main, which Fischer turned down because of the ongoing Allied air raids on German cities. She made her stage debut as Micaela in Bizet's Carmen in 1944 as an opera singer for one season at the Oldenburg State Theater .

At the end of the war, she moved with her daughters to Leipzig, where she sewed sleeves for a company in Halle . After two weeks in Leipzig, she responded to an advertisement and sang the soprano solo in the Handel Oratorio Messiah on August 2, 1945 in the first post-war concert of the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Gewandhaus Choir under Gewandhauskapellmeister Hermann Abendroth in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig . There were also Intendant Hans Schüler , General Music Director Paul Schmitz and Kammersängerin Margarete Bäumer , who they wanted to win over to the ensemble of the Leipzig Opera. At first Fischer hesitated, but then started working in Leipzig in 1946 because Abendroth left for Weimar.

Engagement at the Leipzig Opera

Until 1952, Fischer was engaged as a soloist at the Leipzig Opera, which at the time resided in the interim venue in the Dreilinden house . The Leipzig Symphony Orchestra acted as a backup orchestra for the opera , with which she worked as a soloist. Kapellmeister Helmut Leo prepared them right from the start for the Ännchen in Weber's Freischütz , which was staged by the Göttingen director Hanns Niedecken-Gebhard . She then appeared as Marie in Smetana's Sold Bride . In total she was involved in around 25 operas in Leipzig. Particularly noteworthy is her role as Euridyke in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice in 1947 , which was the first production by the internationally known choreographer Mary Wigman . In addition, in 1949 Fischer played the leading role in the world premiere of the opera Die Laune des Verliebten after Goethe by Erwin Dressel .

Hallesche Primadonna

The Halle theater director Heinz Rückert , formerly chief theater manager in Leipzig, brought her to the city of Saale in 1952. Although the house was smaller than Leipzig, Fischer was drawn to the Handelian challenges that awaited her there. She was engaged at the Städtische Bühnen Halle and appeared at the Handel Festival, which takes place regularly . She developed an international reputation as an interpreter of the solo parts in the operas of the baroque composer. In their reference work from 1956, Herbert A. Frenzel and Hans Joachim Moser attributed a "youthful dramatic soprano " to her. In total she sang 14 Handel roles in hall. Her fellow singers in Halle included u. a. Rolf Apreck , Werner Enders , Kurt Hübenthal , Hellmuth Kaphahn and Günther Leib . In 1953 she took the title role in the forgotten opera Deidamia . The high points of her work in Halle were the productions of Radamisto (1955) and Poro (1956). The opera company was u. a. Guest at the Hamburg State Opera and the German State Opera Berlin . With her work, Fischer helped to establish the “Handel Renaissance ” in Halle, working closely with the director Heinz Rückert, the general music director Horst-Tanu Margraf and the set designer Rudolf Heinrich . They were shaped by the realistic music theater of Walter Felsenstein . For the musicologist Karin Zauft (2019) "[Philine Fischer] embodied the generation of awakening, new paths and devotion to the obligatory moral mission of the theater - not just the Handel opera". Her work has also been recognized abroad, for example by Everett Helm and the Handel researchers Otto Erich Deutsch and William C. Smith . In 1967 Fischer sang her last Handel role as Agrippina in the opera of the same name, staged by Renate Oeser .

Fischer held back politically in the GDR. Nevertheless, she was a member of the central board of the art union in the FDGB and was elected as a successor candidate in the People's Chamber of the German Democratic Republic in October 1963 at the suggestion of the Kulturbund .

Portrait of Fritz Freitag

In 1963/64 the painter Fritz Freitag from Halle made a role portrait of Fischer as a sorceress in the Handel opera Amadigi . He titled it with "The singer before the performance". In 1985 the painting was in the holdings of the Moritzburg State Gallery , which today operates as the Moritzburg Art Museum Halle (Saale) .

In 1964 the portrait was included in the exhibition “Our Contemporary” by a jury and presented in the National Gallery in Berlin from October 3 to December 31 by the Ministry of Culture , the German Academy of the Arts and the Association of German Artists . From September 10 to October 13, 1985, the work was exposed on the occasion of the congress and World Music Week of the International Music Council in the Neue Berliner Galerie in the Altes Museum of the Ministry of Culture, Center for Art Exhibitions of the GDR . From May 16 to June 28, 2009 it was exhibited in the exhibition of the Halle Opera and the Hallesches Kunstverein in the foyer of the Halle Opera House.


Philine Fischer was a senior citizen of the well-known Leipzig musician family Fischer-Sannemüller-Krumbiegel . Her first marriage was to the cantor Ulrich Fischer (1913–1993), whom she met at the Leipzig University of Music. Their daughter Cornelia Fischer is the mother of the musicians Martin Krumbiegel (* 1963), Sebastian Krumbiegel (* 1966) and Susanne Krumbiegel . The violist Matthias Sannemüller (* 1951) emerged from her second marriage to the Gewandhaus concert master Horst Sannemüller (1918–2001) .

She and her second husband led an " upper class " life. She also lived in Leipzig during her engagement in Halle. After a serious illness, she died there in 2001 at the age of 81.


She participated in the following Handel operas (according to the database "Handel operas since 1705"):

Playtime Opera title HWV no. Production in Halle premiere Lot
1952/53 Deidamia 42 1. - Heinz Rückert
(first performance ever)
05/31/1953 Deidamia
1953/54 Ezio 29 1. - Heinz Rückert 05/08/1954 Fulvia
1954/55 Radamisto 12 1. - Heinz Rückert 06/12/1955 Polissena
1955/56 Poro , Re dell´Indie (Poros) 28 1. - Heinz Rückert 06/17/1956 Cleofide / Mahamaya
1957/58 Tamerlano (Tamerlane) 18th 3. - Wolfgang Gubisch 04/22/1958 Asteria
1957/58 Ottone, Re di Germania (Otto and Theophano) 15th 2. - Heinz Rückert 05/31/1958 Teofane / Theophano
(with Susanne Sobotta , new cast from April 17, 1960)
1958/59 Admeto , Re di Tessaglia (Admetos) 22nd 1. - Heinz Rückert 12/14/1958 Antigona / Antigone
1960/61 Orlando 31 2. - Heinz Rückert 03/29/1961 Angelica
1961/62 Siroe , Re di Persia (Siroe) 24 1. - Heinz Rückert 01/21/1962 Laodice / Laodike
1962/63 Amadigi di Gaula (Amadis) 11 1. - Kurt Huebenthal 03/23/1963 Melissa
1964/65 Publio Cornelio Scipione (Scipio) 20th 1. - Heinz Rückert 05/15/1965 Berenice
1965/66 Alcina 34 2. - Heinz Rückert 05/29/1966 Alcina
1966/67 Agrippina 06th 2. - Renate Oeser 06/04/1967 Agrippina

In addition, she was involved in the staged performances of Acis and Galatea (Acis and Galatea) as well as the concert performances of Il Parnasso in festa (The Feast on Parnassus) and Muzio Scevola , Atto III in the 1950s and 1960s .

Her repertoire of 85 opera roles included, in addition to Handel roles a. a. also Pamina in Mozart's Magic Flute , Desdemona in Verdi's Otello and Eva in Wagner's Meistersinger von Nürnberg . Her role in Janáček's Jenůfa , directed by Heinz Runge, is considered particularly valuable . Her last role in Halle was that of Herodias in Strauss' Salome on November 23, 1980 , with which she retired.

Since their success in 1945 they have performed oratorios and passion performances all over Germany. Her “favorite works” were Bach's St. Matthew Passion and Mozart's Great Mass in C minor . She had guest performances and concert tours in particular in the socialist states of the Eastern Bloc ( Czechoslovakia , Poland, etc.), but also in the Federal Republic. As the first GDR singer, she made a guest appearance in England in 1958 . She interpreted L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato in English under the Handel specialist James S. Hall . In 1959 she received an invitation from the Royal Musical Association to the London “ Purcell -Händel-Fest”. In the summer of 1961 she accompanied her husband to the Bayreuth Festival . There she met the neo-Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch , who informed her about his whereabouts in the FRG. After the construction of the inner-German border in August 1961, their travel privileges were also curtailed. In December 1962 she was allowed to perform in the GDR cultural center Helsinki in neutral Finland .

Fischer realized chamber music programs with her husband, the violinist Horst Sannemüller , and the pianist Robert Köbler . She gave recitals as part of the traditional concert series “Hour of Music” . She interpreted newer songs a. a. by Ernst Hermann Meyer , Fritz Geißler , Heinz Krause-Graumnitz , Leo Spies and Gerhard Wohlgemuth . Fischer was close friends with the composer Walter Draeger . This dedicated u. a. his Franck songs. In 1955 she sang Draeger's orchestral songs Darin and Damon at the opening concert of the first Hallische Musiktage .

Fischer was involved in several radio and vinyl recordings that appeared on the Eterna record label . To name are u. a. the complete recording from 1958 of the Handel opera Poros with the Handel Festival Orchestra Halle under Horst-Tanu Margraf and the recording from 1964 of the suite from the opera Lady Macbeth of Mzensk by Dmitri Shostakovich with the Dresden Philharmonic under Carl von Garaguly .



  • Mahamaya in GFHändel: "Poros" (German), Handel Festival Orchestra Halle, conductor Horst-Tanu Margraf , recorded 7/1958, Berlin Classics 1998 (0093742BC)


  • Fischer, Philine. In: Herbert A. Frenzel , Hans Joachim Moser (eds.): Kürschner's biographical theater manual. Drama, opera, film, radio. Germany, Austria, Switzerland . De Gruyter, Berlin 1956, p. 173.
  • Fischer, Philine. In: Federal Ministry for All-German Issues (ed.): SBZ biography. A biographical reference book on the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany. Compiled by the investigative committee of freedom lawyers , 3rd edition, Deutscher Bundes-Verlag, Bonn 1964, p. 89.
  • Fischer, Philine. In: Walter Habel (Ed.): Who is who? The German who's who. XIV. Edition of Degeners Who is it? . arana Verlags-GmbH, Berlin 1965, p. 71.
  • Walther Siegmund-Schultze : Philine Fischer . In: Ernst Krause (ed.): Opera singers. 48 portraits from the world of music theater . 3rd, modified edition, Henschel, Berlin 1965, pp. 56–58.
  • Fischer, Philine (Fischer-Sannemüller). In: Horst Seeger : The great lexicon of the opera. Over 12,000 keywords and explanations . Pawlak, Herrsching 1985, ISBN 3-88199-243-X , p. 199.
  • Karin Zauft: Portrayed. Chamber singer Philine Fischer on her 80th birthday: She was the prima donna of the Handel opera of her time. In: Handel House Communications 1/1999, pp. 43–47.
  • Karin Zauft: Philine Fischer (1919–2001). With it, an era of Handel's interpretation came to an end. In: Handel House Communications 1/2001, pp. 3–6.
  • Fischer, Philine. In: Karl-Josef Kutsch , Leo Riemens †: Large singer lexicon . Volume 2: Castori - Frampoli . 4th, expanded and updated edition, Saur, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-598-11598-9 , p. 1476.
  • With Handel to Halle. Grandmother and opera diva: Philine Fischer . In: Peter Krumbiegel, Clemens Prokop : Jauchzet, rejoice: You don't have to be a pig. About Bach, the prince and a Leipzig family of musicians . Bärenreiter-Verlag, Kassel u. a. 2004, ISBN 3-7618-1735-5 , pp. 16-25.
  • Karin Zauft: Philine Fischer (February 1, 1919– January 22, 2001). The once celebrated diva of the Handel opera was born 100 years ago . In: Magazine of the Handel Festival (2019), p. 36.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h Wolfgang Lange (recording): cloakroom talk with Philine Fischer . In: Theater der Zeit 8/1983, pp. 27–30, here: p. 27.
  2. Marianne Tosetti: A happy meeting underhands portrait. NZ conversation with Volkskammer candidate Philine Fischer . In: Neue Zeit , October 7, 1963, vol. 19, edition 234, p. 6.
  3. a b c d e Heino Lüdicke: Handels Princess and Mozart's Pamina. Interview with national prize winner Philine Fischer from the Landestheater Halle . In: Neue Zeit , October 30, 1959, vol. 15, edition 254, p. 4.
  4. a b c d BMG (ed.): SBZ biography . Berlin 1964, p. 89.
  5. a b c d Personal: Birthdays. In: Theater der Zeit 4/1989, p. 68.
  6. a b Krumbiegel / Prokop: Jauchzet, rejoice: You don't have to be a pig . Kassel 2004, p. 20.
  7. a b c d e f g Wolfgang Lange (recording): cloakroom talk with Philine Fischer . In: Theater der Zeit 8/1983, pp. 27–30, here: p. 28.
  8. a b c d e f g h i j k Kutsch / Riemens: Large singing dictionary . Vol. 2nd 4th edition, Munich 2003, p. 1476.
  9. ^ Wolfgang Langner: The Gewandhaus Choir in Leipzig. From the beginning until 2000 . Sax-Verlag, Beucha 2005, ISBN 3-934544-72-X , p. 121.
  10. ^ A b Werner Wolf : Personnel: Opera singer Philine Fischer died . In: Leipziger Volkszeitung , January 25, 2001, p. 10.
  11. ^ Fritz Hennenberg: 300 years of Leipzig Opera. Past and present . Langen Müller, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-7844-2432-5 , p. 104f.
  12. Steffen Lieberwirth (ed.): Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk - the history of the symphony orchestra . Written by Jörg Clemen on behalf of Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. Kamprad, Altenburg 1999, ISBN 3-930550-09-1 , p. 97.
  13. a b c d e Wolfgang Lange (recording): cloakroom talk with Philine Fischer . In: Theater der Zeit 8/1983, pp. 27–30, here: p. 29.
  14. a b Karin Zauft: Portrayed. Chamber singer Philine Fischer on her 80th birthday . In: Handel House Communications 1/1999, pp. 43–47, here: 44.
  15. a b c d Peter Korfmacher: Handel's helper for rebirth . In: Leipziger Volkszeitung , February 1, 2019, p. 10 ( online ).
  16. ^ Fritz Hennenberg : 300 years of Leipzig Opera. Past and present . Langen Müller, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-7844-2432-5 , p. 141.
  17. a b Frenzel / Moser (ed.): Kürschner's biographical theater manual . Berlin 1956, p. 173.
  18. Personnel . In: Theater der Zeit 5/1984, p. 68.
  19. a b c d e f Matthias Frede: On the death of Philine Fischer. Protagonist in the Handel renaissance. The singer was engaged in Halle for almost 30 years . In: Mitteldeutsche Zeitung , January 25, 2001.
  20. Karin Zauft: Philine Fischer (1919–2001) . In: Handel House Communications 1/2001, pp. 3–6, here: p. 4.
  21. ^ A b Horst Seeger : Hallesches opera guest performance in Hamburg. Great success with Handel's “Poros” . In: Neues Deutschland , September 18, 1956, vol. 11, edition 223, p. 4.
  22. Heino Lüdicke: Lively Handel performance. “Porous” as a guest performance by the Halle State Theater in the State Opera . In: Neue Zeit , October 17, 1957, vol. 13, issue 243, p. 4.
  23. a b Karin Zauft: Philine Fischer (1.2.1919–22.1.2001) . In: Magazine of the Handel Festival (2019), p. 36.
  24. Everett Helm : Handel Festival in Halle . In: Fono Forum 6/1959, p. 8f .; Otto Erich Deutsch : Notes from Abroad: Germany . In: The Musical Times 96 (1955) 1351, pp. 491f .; William C. Smith : Notes from Abroad: Germany . In: The Musical Times 97 (1956) 1362, pp. 434f .; William C. Smith: News from Abroad: Handel Festival at Halle . In: The Musical Times 98 (1957) 1374, pp. 447f.
  25. a b Krumbiegel / Prokop: Jauchzet, rejoice: You don't have to be a pig . Kassel 2004, p. 21.
  26. ^ Presidium of the People's Chamber of the German Democratic Republic (Ed.): The People's Chamber of the German Democratic Republic, 4th electoral period . Staatsverlag der DDR, Berlin 1964, p. 681.
  27. a b Exhibition directory . In: Ministry of Culture of the German Democratic Republic, Center for Art Exhibitions of the GDR: Music in the fine arts of the GDR, painting, graphics, sculpture. Exhibition on the occasion of the Congress and World Music Week of the International Music Council. New Berlin Gallery in the Altes Museum, September 10 - October 13, 1985 . Center for Art Exhibitions in the GDR, Berlin 1985, pp. 100–109, here: p. 101.
  28. Exhibition directory . In: Gerhard Pommeranz-Liedtke: Exhibition Our Contemporary in the National Gallery, Berlin 1964. [Event organized by the Ministry of Culture, the German Academy of the Arts and the Association of German Artists. Exhibition catalog.] . Ministry of Culture - Berlin, German Academy of the Arts - Berlin, Association of German Artists, Berlin 1964, pp. 99–113, here: p. 102.
  29. ↑ Prima donna in costume . In: Mitteldeutsche Zeitung , June 3, 2009.
  30. Handel on Halle's stages and in works by Halle artists ,, access: November 10, 2019.
  31. a b Werner Wolf: Primadonna Philine Fischer turns 80 today . In: Leipziger Volkszeitung , February 1, 1999, p. 9.
  32. a b c d Wolfgang Lange (recording): cloakroom talk with Philine Fischer . In: Theater der Zeit 8/1983, pp. 27–30, here: p. 30.
  33. Handel operas since 1705 ,, accessed: November 10, 2019; Friends and sponsors of the Handel House in Halle (ed.): 90 years of the Handel Opera in Halle. Hallesche productions 1922 to 2012 (= messages from the Friends and Sponsors of the Handel House in Halle . Special issue). Halle (Saale) 2012, no p.
  34. a b Krumbiegel / Prokop: Jauchzet, rejoice: You don't have to be a pig . Kassel 2004, p. 18.
  35. a b Krumbiegel / Prokop: Jauchzet, rejoice: You don't have to be a pig . Kassel 2004, p. 16.
  36. a b c Walther Siegmund-Schultze : Philine Fischer . In: Ernst Krause (ed.): Opera singers. 48 portraits from the world of music theater . 3rd, modified edition, Henschel, Berlin 1965, pp. 56–58, here: p. 58.
  37. ^ Letters to the Editor . In: The Musical Times , 99 (1958) 1382, pp. 202-204, here: p. 204.
  38. ^ GDR musician in London . In: Neues Deutschland , June 23, 1959, vol. 14, issue 170, p. 4.
  39. a b c Krumbiegel / Prokop: Jauchzet, rejoice: You don't have to be a pig . Kassel 2004, p. 19.
  40. ^ GDR artist abroad . In: Berliner Zeitung , December 5, 1962, vol. 18, issue 334, p. 6.
  41. ^ Konstanze Musketa : Music history of the city of Halle. Guide to the exhibition in the Handel House . Handel House, Halle an der Saale, ISBN 3-910019-13-7 , p. 84.
  42. Krumbiegel / Prokop: Cheer, rejoice: You don't have to be a pig . Kassel 2004, p. 23.
  43. Thomas Buchholz : Chronicle of the Hallische Musiktage 1955-2005 . LVDK Saxony-Anhalt, Halle / Saale 2005, p. 12.
  44. Karin Zauft: Philine Fischer (1919–2001) . In: Handel House Communications 1/2001, pp. 3–6, here: p. 6.
  45. ^ Karsten Steiger: Opera discography. Directory of all audio and video recordings . 2nd, fully updated and expanded edition, Saur, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-598-11784-8 , p. 191.
  46. ^ Derek C. Hulme: Dmitri Shostakovich catalog: the first hundred years and beyond . 4th edition, Scarecrow Press, Lanham et al. a. 2010, ISBN 978-0-8108-7264-6 , p. 89.
  47. Silvia Brendenal: 5th Congress of the Association of Theater Professionals in the GDR . In: Theater der Zeit 12/1985, p. 65.
  48. Honorary Members ,, accessed: November 10, 2019.