Minnie Hauk

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Minnie Hauk in a cabinet card photograph, ca. 1880

Amalia Mignon Hauck (Minnie Hauk) (November 16, 1851 – February 6, 1929), was an American operatic soprano.

She was born in New York City, the only child of James Hauck, a German carpenter, and his American wife. Soon after Minnie's birth the Haucks moved to Providence, Rhode Island, and then to Sumner, Kansas in 1857.

In 1862, Hauk began vocal studies with Achille Errani, who secured her a spot with the operatic company of Max Maretzek. At age fourteen she made her debut in Brooklyn as Amina in La sonnambula, and a month later, in November, 1866, her New York City debut as Prascovia in L'étoile du nord. In the American premiere of Gounod's Roméo et Juliette (1867) she sang Juliette. Hauk sang at Covent Garden, London, on 26 October 1868, and debuted in Paris in 1869. The soprano then appeared in Italian and German opera at the Grand Opera in Vienna and other venues throughout Europe. Hauk was the first American Carmen (1878) and Manon (1885). Her voice became a mezzo-soprano of great strength and depth. Hauk's enormous repertory included approximately one hundred roles, and she sang Carmen in four languages.

In 1881 she married Ernst von Hesse-Wartegg, the Austrian writer and traveller. Much of Hauk's fortune was lost during World War I. By 1918 she was impoverished and nearly blind.

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