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 Francis Hauck, a German emigrant, and his American wife. Soon after Minnie's birth the Haucks moved to Providence, Rhode Island, and then to Sumner, Kansas in 1857. It was later wrongly rumoured that Hauk was the daughter of the financier Leonard Jerome, who was a devotee of the opera. Jerome's daughter, Jennie, to whom some have suggested Hauk bore a resemblance, married the British politician Lord Randolph Churchill and was the mother of the great British war leader Winston Churchill.[1]

In 1865, Hauk began vocal studies with Achille Errani, who secured her a spot with the Max Maretzek Italian Opera Company. At age fourteen she made her public debut as opera singer 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 (November 15, 1867) she sang Juliette. Hauk sang for the frist time in Europe 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 (1870-1874) and other venues throughout Europe. Hauk interpreted the role Carmen, the previously unsuccessful opera by Georges Bizet, in a new intensive way for the first time on January 2, 1878 in Brussels. The immediate success brought the opera to longlasting fame. She then played the role at the opera's British and American premieres in 1878. Hauk performed Manon at its American premiere in 1885. Her voice became a mezzo-soprano of great strength and depth. Hauk stopped to sing intensive opera tours by end of 1893. Hauk's enormous repertory included approximately one hundred roles, and she sang Carmen in four languages.

In 1878 she married Ernst von Hesse-Wartegg, the Austrian - American writer and traveller. Much of Hauk's fortune was lost during World War I. By 1920 she thought to be impoverished and was nearly blind. Hauk died at her home near Lucerne, Switzerland in 1929.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Million Dollar Princesses (ITV3, 8 October 2015)
  2. ^ "Minnie Hauk, once Famous Opera Star of American Stage, Dies in Poverty in Switzerland Today". Herald-Times. Manitowoc, Wisconsin. 6 February 1929. p. 1. Retrieved 6 August 2014 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read

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