Bettendorf, Emmy

German soprano, 1895 - 1963

Biographical notes:

She was born in Frankfurt a. Main and began to study singing at an early age. She was not even 15 old when she auditioned for the opera house in Frankfurt. She was invited for a two-year-contract in 1914 (!) making her début as Gabriele in Kreutzer’s Nachtlager in Granada. In 1916 she was engaged to the opera house in Schwerin for four years. She took the chance to extend her repertoire into all directions and sang roles from the lyric as well as from the lyric-dramatic repertoire. Her roles included Amelia, Leonore, The Countess, Myrtocle in d’Albert’s Die toten Augen, Agathe, Brünnhilde in Siegfried, Eva, The Marschallin, Santuzza, Elisabeth and Donna Anna among many others. A certain number of guest performances at Berlin’s State Opera (1920) led her to a permanent engagement there. In 1924, however, she moved to the Städtische Oper of Berlin where she stayed five years singing in operas and operettas. She also appeared at Zoppot’s Waldoper, Holland, Madrid and Barcelona. Due to an illness in 1928 the singer bade farewell to the stage but became a prolific recording artist until 1936. After 1937 she only occasionaly sang in concerts. Her husband died in 1938 and she was forced to reappear in concerts during Worldwar II for soldiers in Poland, Russia and Greece. During the war she lived in Garmisch (Austria) and run a guest house. The famous bass Michael Bohnen recommended her to the Musikhochschule Berlin where she taught until 1952.




Four Famous Sopranos of the Past (The Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin, Aida /+ Käte Heidersbach, Else Gentner-Fischer, Margarete Bäumer)

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Four Famous German Baritones in the Past (duets)

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Karin Branzell (duets)

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Lauritz Melchior (duets)


Herbert Ernst Groh (duets)

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Friedrich Schorr (duets)

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The Young Richard Tauber (duets)

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Michael Bohnen (duets)

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Golden Operetta


Richard Wagner on Record

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Von der Königlichen Hofoper zur Staatsoper “Unter den Linden”

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Wagner - The Supreme Operatic Recordings


Mike Richter’s Opera Page: Record of Singing Vol. 3



There was quite a number of excellent lyric and lyric-dramatic German sopranos during the 20s until the 50s. Tiana Lemnitz, Maria Müller, Meta Seinemeyer, Margarete Teschemacher, Trude Eipperle, Delia Reinhardt, Käthe Heidersbach and Else Gentner-Fischer.

Emmy Bettendorf made more than 300 (!) recordings and was one of the most prolific German recording artist of her day!

My favorite recordings:

- Sie entfloh, die Taube so minnig (Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann / Offenbach /  Parlophon 1921)

- O Fürstin with Lauritz Melchior (Elisabeth in Tannhäuser / Wagner / Homocord 1924)

- Das süsse Lied verhallt with Lauritz Melchior (Elsa in Lohengrin / Wagner / Parlophon 1926)

 Tragt ihr das Schiff (Senta in The Flying Dutchman / Wagner / Parlophon 1928)

- Ortrud, wo bist du? with Karin Branzell (Elsa in Lohengrin / Wagner / Parlophon 1928)

- Wohl war euch das Los der Waffen feindlich with Karin Branzell (Aida / Verdi / Parlophon 1928)

- Hörst du es tönen with Herbert Ernst Groh (Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann / Offenbach / Parlophon 1931)

- O holdes Bild with Herbert Ernst Groh (Margiana in Der Barbier von Bagdad / Cornelius / Odeon 1933)

- Es ist schon spät with Herbert Ernst Groh (Marguerite in Faust / Gounod / Odeon 1933)


Photograph and letter by courtesy of Charles B. Mintzer