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The great soprano Inge Borkh died in Stuttgart at the age of 97

It was the first high-drama of operatic modernism and wrote as Salome performance story: An obituary on Inge Borkh

Stuttgart / Munich – It's not that long ago, more precisely five years, since it was hard to get an appointment with her. "Here I have an interview, there's one more thing, then I'm going to a premiere, then I'm going to the recital by Christian Gerhaher …" – that's about the time that sounded on the phone. In the fall of 2013, Inge Borkh was suddenly in great demand again. Everyone wanted to know from her what it was like exactly 50 years ago, when she did not sing the dyer's wife in the "Frau ohne Schatten" by Richard Strauss at the reopening of the Munich National Theater, but with skin, hair and to the last Of course, Borkh then traveled to the Isar for the festival performance of that opera.

Again and again she was spotted in the National Theater. She did not have it so terribly far, two and a half hours by train from Stuttgart, where she had lived for over three decades in the local Augustinum. On the Neckar Inge Borkh died on Sunday morning, 97 years old, this once the most modern soprano among the highly dramatic. Modern? Because she was perhaps the first after the war, the necklace handle, back of the hand on the forehead, saltpole stance on the ramp, so despised all these helpless stereotypes of colleagues. And their consequences drew attention: When the Borkh lived their parade roles Elektra, Salome or Dyer, lava seemed to pour on the stage.

At their Salome the choreographers became pale

And yet: Who Inge Borkh, who died on 26. He was born in Mannheim in May 1

921 when Ingeborg Simon was born, but he still did not know her. "Every artist has to learn that he makes art based on real feelings," she said in a personal conversation. "Emotions should never crowd out ability." After all, Gründgens once recommended, "After the biggest part, I have to be able to feel my armpits are dry."

Not surprisingly, this singular woman first began as an actress and dancer – and After her early career ending in 1973, the talk theater resigned, even cabaret ventured. Of course, she personally took over the dance of the seven veils in Strauss' "Salome" and declined to let herself be doubly dubbed by a dancer. And in view of their intensity, their overtly erotic eroticism, even established choreographers became pale.

Inge Borkh spent the first years of her career in Switzerland – compulsorily. In 1933 she had to leave because of the Jewish origin of her father Mannheim, the family first lived in Geneva. She had her first engagement in Basel, then came Bern. She was initially subscribed to the lyrical subject, but the shackles of Mozart's pamina soon burst: In fact, Puccini's Tosca or Wagner's Senta felt much better.

Those who visited Inge Borkh in their small apartment in Stuttgart saw themselves in a museum penetration. Rollshots, records, many also from her husband, the 1991 died bass baritone Alexander Welitsch. But one of these ex-divas, who only existed in their own past, was not the Borkh. She knew about everything in the current opera scene. Especially thanks to her travels – and thanks to many singer contacts. She regarded Christian Gerhaher as her protégé for a while, so she went to almost all available concerts and opera performances.

Even as eyesight faded and Inge Borkh was almost blind, she did not want to stay in the Augustinum. And who witnessed, as she was repeatedly stormed at her appearances in the audience, the suspected: A better elixir of life there was not for this once almost unpredictable stage animals. Of course, Inge Borkh made many thoughts about the state of the opera direction thanks to the numerous live impressions. Modern or not, she did not care. Truthfulness, that was their credo no matter what singer and scene were dressed in.

"I thought it was horrible when singers told the director that they always came from the right side at this point," Borkh said ereifern. "As with the doctor, when the patient says: I've read in the magazine, this remedy is great." All the more did she appreciate those who know and understand the role, like Christof Loy. And she understood all the less why young singers did not deal enough with the respective opera. She got that close to her as a pedagogue and counselor. "Yes, did not you think about it, when this woman meets the man of her life?" The dizzy offspring got to hear this regularly.

Superhuman female figures were their feel-good parts

In the female characters of Richard Strauss, in Inge Borkh was the best performer of almost superhuman games like Medea, Turandot or Lady Macbeth. Recorded recordings reflected this only partially. Even though the "Salome" with Josef Keilberth in a production of the Bavarian State Opera should be in the CD cabinet of every opera fan, what Inge Borkh achieved was too big for the microphones – and that's not just the dimension of their soprano.

The titles of her two books – the autobiography "I can not shake off the theater" and the interview book "Not Only Salome and Elektra" – summed up the essence and self-image of this singer. And yet in 1973 she made the decision of life with remarkable, almost cool reflection. After a "Elektra" in Palermo, when there were technical problems, she told the opera Adieu. Even so, Inge Borkh was a pioneer, because she was one of the few female vocalists to admit dwindling forces and suffer the consequences.

Brigitte Fassbaender, Julia Varady, Catarina Ligendza, more similarly knitted fellows did not exist. "It always hurt me when I heard singers who let go. I did not want to experience that under any circumstances. "Inge Borkh still took part in the stage life. If she got wind of an interesting production, she had to go – and possibly expressed her displeasure. Not with boos, she found that too hurtful. "I'm calling: not like that! Since I still get sounds out as Elektra. "

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