Martha Mödl

22.03.1912 - 17.12.2001


Martha Mödl (March 22, 1912, in Nuremberg – December 17, 2001, in Stuttgart) was a German soprano, and later a mezzo-soprano. She specialized in large dramatic roles, most notably Wagnerian roles such as Isolde, Kundry, and Brünnhilde. Although she lacked the vocal security and ease of Kirsten Flagstad and Birgit Nilsson, particularly in the upper register, Mödl was celebrated for her highly individualized interpretations, exceptional acting ability, and intense stage presence.

She began studying voice when she was 28 at the Conservatory of her hometown. She was noticed by Wieland Wagner, and was part of the group of singers in the "New Bayreuth", often sharing roles with Astrid Varnay. During the 1960s she had difficulties with her voice, and switched to singing mezzo-soprano repertoire, such as Klytemnestra in Elektra. A little while before her death the Kammersängerin's performances were spoken more and more; however, they maintained their dramatic intensity. 

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