13 March 1934/1939
|Died||11 April 2016|
|Spouse(s)||Wolf Walther (19??-1997; his death)|
Ursula Wendt-Walther (13 March 1934/1939[a] – 11 April 2016) was a German operatic soprano. She was a member of the Staatstheater Nürnberg for decades, where she performed leading roles by Mozart, Strauss and Wagner. In contemporary opera, she appeared as Marie in Bernhard Zimmermann's Die Soldaten, and created the role of Marei in Zemlinsky's Der Traumgörge.
Life and career
Ursula Wendt was born in Berlin, the daughter of insurance director Hugo Wendt. She studied at the Musikhochschule Berlin She also took private lessons with Finnish baritone Kari Nurmela in Zurich. She was a member of the Staatstheater Hannover in 1956–1958, the following season at the Theater Rheydt, followed by a year at the Luzerner Theater. She had her first engagement as a lead singer from 1960-63 at the Landestheater Detmold where she made her debut in the title role of Verdi's La Traviata. In the 1964/65 season, she appeared as a guest at the Württembergische Landesbühne Esslingen. Further engagements followed at the Staatstheater Mainz in the 1965/66 season and at the Stadttheater Bremerhaven from 1966 to 1970.
At the beginning of the 1970/71 season Wendt-Walther joined the Staatstheater Nürnberg as a permanent member of the ensemble, to which she belonged for almost 25 years without interruption until her retirement in 1994. Her first role was Marcelline in Beethoven's Fidelio. She performed more than 60 roles at the theatre, from Monteverdi to contemporary opera. She excelled in Mozart characters, including Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. Her signature roles included Eva in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, the title role of Puccini's Tosca, the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier and the title role of Arabella, both by Richard Strauss.
She appeared in several operettas, as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, as Laura in Millöcker's Der Bettelstudent, as Saffi in Der Zigeunerbaron by Johann Strauss, as Marie in Zeller's Der Vogelhändler, in the title role of Lehárs Die lustige Witwe, and as Lisa in his Das Land des Lächelns. In April 1994, she appeared for the last time on the opera stage, as Senta in Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer.
Wendt-Walther was committed to singing contemporary opera, including Marie in Bernhard Zimmermann's Die Soldaten in 1974. She created the role of Marei in the world premiere of Zemlinsky's Der Traumgörge on 11 October 1980. In the 1980/81 season, she appeared as Miss Wordsworth in Britten's Albert Herring, staged by Uwe Kreyssig. In March 1982, she performed the role of Regan in Aribert Reimann's Lear. She sang in operas by Hans Werner Henze, Hans Zender and Wolfgang Rihm.
Wendt-Walther gave guest performances at the Vienna State Opera, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, at the Nationaltheater Mannheim, the Staatstheater Hannover, the Staatstheater Wiesbaden, the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz and the Theater Basel, among others. She was also active as a concert singer.
- Wilhelm Kosch (ed.): Deutsches Theaterlexikon. Volume VI. Weisbrod–Wolansky. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin. 2008, pg. 3219; ISBN 978-3-908255-46-8.
- In many bibliographical reference works including Kutsch/Riemens, the year of birth is given as 1939. It conflicts with contracts at the Theater Nürnberg, ending at age 60 for female members. Therefore, 1934 is assumed as the year of birth, which also matches the obituary of Deutsche Bühne in April 2016, according to which Wendt-Walther died "at the age of 82".
- Kutsch, K. J.; Riemens, Leo (2012). Wendt-Walther, Ursula. Großes Sängerlexikon (in German) (4 ed.). Walter de Gruyter. pp. 5013–5014. ISBN 978-3-59-844088-5.
- "Die Sopranistin Ursula Wendt-Walther ist tot". Deutsche Bühne (in German). 11 April 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
Nürnberg. Im Alter von 82 Jahren ist die Schauspielerin Ursula Wendt-Walther gestorben, die von 1970 bis 1992 Ensemblemitglied der Nürnberger Oper war.
- Focht, Josef, ed. (2 July 2017). "Wendt-Walther, Ursula". Bayerisches Musiker-Lexikon Online (in German). Retrieved 5 March 2019.
- "Wendt-Walther, Ursula". Who's who in the Arts: A Biographical Encyclopedia containing some 13,000 Biographies and Addresses of Prominent Personalities, Organizations, Associations and Institutions connected with the Arts in the Federal Republic of Germany. Ottobrunn: Who's Who-Book & Publishing. 1975. p. 373. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
- Ursula Wendt-Walther - Abschied von der Nürnberg Opernbühne (in German). Staatstheater Nürnberg. May 1994.
- "Ursula Wendt-Walther" (in German). Theaterfreunde Mainz. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
- Schleicher, Fritz (22 April 1994). "Abschied von der Oper. Ursula Wendt-Walther scheidet aus" (in German). Nürnberger Nachrichten.
- "Staatstheater Nürnberg". curt.de (in German). March 2018. Retrieved 23 February 2019.