Edith Mathis

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Edith Mathis, Amsterdam 1969

Edith Mathis (born 11 February 1938) is a Swiss soprano and a leading exponent of the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Mathis was born in Lucerne, where she studied in Lucerne and made her operatic debut in 1956 in The Magic Flute. Mozart would remain one of her specialties, with her roles including Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Despina in Così fan tutte and Pamina in The Magic Flute. Indeed, she recorded the latter role in 1980, opposite Karin Ott and Janet Perry, under Herbert von Karajan. Other roles she sang include Sophie and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier and Agathe and Aennchen in Der Freischütz.

Mathis also sang in the premières of von Einem's Der Zerissene, Henze's Der junge Lord,[1] Heinrich Sutermeister's Le roi Berénger, and Menotti's Help, Help, the Globolinks!. She was also a singer of oratorios and Lieder. Her Lieder recordings include Volume 21 of the complete songs of Franz Schubert for Hyperion Records.

Several of her most notable recorded roles in Mozartian opera include Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro for the Deutsche Oper Berlin with Karl Bohm conducting, as well as Ilia in Idomeneo with the Staatskapelle Dresden. A re-released recording of Don Giovanni with the Vienna Philharmonic and Karl Böhm from the 1977 Salzburg Festival features her in one of her best-known roles, Zerlina. A performance by Mathis as Cherubino is available on an excellent DVD from the Salzburg Festival of 1966, with the Vienna Philharmonic under Böhm, Ingvar Wixell, Claire Watson, Reri Grist, and Walter Berry.

Mathis' part of Susanna in Sull'aria...che soave zeffiretto, a duet from The Marriage of Figaro, with the German soprano Gundula Janowitz, features prominently in the film The Shawshank Redemption.


Mathis made her operatic debut as the second boy in Zauberflöte in 1956. She continued gaining stage experience in her native Switzerland for the next three years. Her first appearance abroad was at the Cologne Opera in 1959.

In the early 1960s she made frequent guest appearances in Hamburg, at the Glyndebourne Festival, and the Salzburg Festival.

In 1963, she became a member of the Deutsche Oper in West Berlin. She made her debuts at Covent Garden and the Met in 1970. The 1970s saw her appear in the great opera houses of Europe: the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, and the Opéra de Paris.

In addition to her operatic career, Mathis made numerous concert tours in Lieder recitals, including tours to Japan, the USA, Australia, Russia, and Israel.

She recorded Mahler's Fourth Symphony, singing the Finale's 'Child's View of Heaven', with the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan for Deutsche Grammophon.

She also became a sought-after teacher.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Mathis was married to conductor and pianist Bernhard Klee, with whom she often performed. She lives in her native Switzerland.


  • Hans Reinhart Ring (1978)
  • Mozart-Medaille der Internationalen Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg (1976)
  • Kunstpreis der Stadt Luzern
  • Buxtehude-Preis des Lübecker Senats (1981)
  • Prix Mondial du Disque (Montreux)
  • 1980 Bayerische Kammersängerin

Discography (partial)[edit]

Tamino: Nicolai Gedda Pamina: Edith Mathis Sarastro: Hans Sotin Königin der Nacht: Cristina Deutekom Papageno: William Workman Papagena: Carol Malone Monostatos: Franz Grundheber Speaker: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau 2 Men in Armour: Helmut Melchert, Kurt Moll

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Andrew Porter, "Reports from Abroad: Berlin - Henze's New Opera" (June 1965). The Musical Times, 106 (1468): pp. 453-455.
  2. ^ Biography on the Bach Cantata website