Recording Reviews

These are all quotations from published reviews. No violation of copyright is intended. Recordings are listed chronologically, in order of when Seinemeyer recorded them. See the discography for recording dates.

Strauss, "Cäcilie":

Alan Blyth, Song on Record, p. 311:
"Among other sopranos, Meta Seinemeyer (Parlo. 2218; LV 276), in 1926, with orchestra, evinces a darker-hued passion, all-enveloping but not so fresh and ardent as Reining, and a little too deliberate in speed."

Otello, "Sie sass mit Leide auf öder Weide":

Alan Blyth, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 327:
"Most Desdemonas fall into one of two categories: the soft-grained German-lyric school, of which Meta Seinemeyer singing the 'Salce' (Parlo. E 10506), is the epitome and Lemnitz a worthy copy (DB 4595; SHB 47). Both sing the dolce phrase 'io per amar' with a perfectly judged rise to F sharp..."

Der Freischütz, "Wie nahte mir der Schlummer":

Alan Blyth, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 138:
"Meta Seinemeyer (Parlo. E 10484) catches the romantic ecstacy of 'O süsse Hoffnung' to perfection and the vocal emission is as smooth as a soft cushion, very tender and intimate."

Strauss: "Morgen!":

Alan Blyth, Song on Record, p. 317:
"Meta Seinemeyer (1926, Parlo. P. 2218; LV 276) is even more richly endowed with her vibrant, rounded interpretation, up to tempo, slowing only when she reaches the recitative. One feels this is the Marschallin singing "Morgen!"--and why not?"

La Gioconda, "Suicidio!":

Alan Blyth, Opera on Record, vol. 3, p. 206:
"To [Helene] Wildburnn's tenderness, Meta Seinemeyer (Parlo. P 9015; LV 111) adds a sense of greater urgency, also vulnerability, helped by an attractive fast vibrato and the warm colours in the tone. 'E un di leggiadro' is meltingly lovely here, yet there is power in reserve for an utterly sincere 'vinsi l'infausta'."

Aida, "Als Sieger kehre heim":

John Steane, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 313:
"Very fine also are two German singers, Frida Leider and the tragically short-lived Meta Seinemeyer. Both sing in German, Leider (Poly. 65641) with glorious command and lovely softening of the big voice, and Seinemeyer (Parl. P.7646; LV 111) giving possibly the best performance of all, scrupulous in note-values and touchingly sincere in feeling."

Andrea Chenier "Du kommst daher":

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 415:
"Another duet--the final scene from Andrea Chenier, where Madeleine joins the condemned poet in his dungeon and they ride off together to the guillotine. Here full steam is on from the first note to the last, and right well do the ecstatic exclamations of the lovers come out in the voices of these two soulful artists. They sound as if magnified to immense size, yet without detracting in the smallest degree from their fine quality. The words are less easily distinguished, because the lady is apparently singing in German and the gentleman in Italian."

Note: this is not true. They both sing in German.

La Bohème, "O du süssestes Mädchen":

Edward Greenfield,Opera on Record, vol 1, p. 581:
"A version in German of 'O soave fanciulla' by Meta Seinemeyer and Tino Pattiera (Parlo. E 10976; LV 111) is marred not only by an obviously unatmospheric ending but because the orchestral reference to 'Che gelida manina' has to be hurried shamelessly to fit a 78 side. Otherwise from Seinemeyer - a singer still under-appreciated - it is an enchanting performance with a beautifully poised 'Io t'amo', or rather 'Ich liebe dich'."

Andrea Chenier, "Die Bersi hat sich meiner angenommen":

William Mann, Opera on Record, vol. 3, p. 235:
"Then the [Act 2] love duet, variously entitled according to where it started...Seinemeyer and Pattiera (Parlo. E 10976; LV 111) begin a bit later, in the middle of Madeleine's solo, at 'Al mondo Bersi', which gives a bonus portion of Seinemeyer's rich creamy voice and beautiful phrasing. As a matter of fact, despite the information on the label, what she sings is 'Die Bersi hat sich meiner angenommen', and Pattiera interrupts with 'Heil dir, O Susse', complete with a 'coup de glotte' on almost every note (the one on the second note of 'Ora' seems to be traditional, though) because this is a rather heavy performance in German. Giordano in German does not go well, as we shall see later: and, even if it did, I could wish that the beautiful Seinemeyer had been granted a partner who was not what the Germans call a "Kravattenor", apparently being strangled by his neckwear."

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 474:
"The Andrea Chénier is the more successful of these two duets. Even Meta Seinemeyer, with all her talent, which we so much admired, could make the mistake of treating Mimi as a doleful, tragic young person; while the painter whom she loved was, according to Tino P., an excessively throaty young man. Yet, turn from Giordano to Puccini, and all is changed. Both voices come out in their true colours, and you have a positively splendid rendering of the scene, with Meta Seinemeyer quite at her best, which, as you are aware, was a treat worth enjoying."

Figaros Hochzeit [Le Nozze di Figaro] "Und Susanna kommt nicht":

Irving Kolodin, A Guide to Recorded Music, p. 273:
"The Seinemeyer version is the only one of these which is approximately complete, for the others lack the prefacing, and important, recitative. However, though Seinemeyer's voice is a fine one and her style is admirable, the recording is fatally faint."

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 504:
"The lamented German soprano evidently made this record of the Countess's big aria before the days of "amplification" came to puzzle and mislead us. Yet, weak as the voice sounds by comparison, I prefer it for the sake of all the other good qualities that proclaim a sincere, refined, and conscientious artist. At any rate we have here genuine Mozart phrasing supported by breathing as faultless as could possibly be imagined and a wholly perfect management of the voice in the longest passages. I like best the outpouring of grief in the andantino or slower part of the air; the allegro might have been taken a trifle faster if only to secure the necessary contrast. The accompaniments were well played."

La Forza del Destino, "Son giunta!... Madre pietosa":

Lord Harewood, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 283-84:
"My own preferences are for [Giannini and Milanov] and for the rare control, the doomed, tragic sound, the great span of Meta Seinemeyer's performance (E 10605; LV 111). These last three compare well with the delicacy and drama of Callas in her set."

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 413:
"This excerpt from Verdi's Forza del Destino (last part with chorus) is magnificently sung by the German soprano, but not over well accompanied by the orchestra, or heard to advantage through the recording. It is difficult, indeed, to imagine that this is a typical example of what the Parlophone can accomplish with the new process. Frau Seinemeyer is such a thoroughly first-rate artist that we ought to be afforded a much truer idea than this of the lovely quality of her tone and the tenderness as well as the dramatic power of her singing. As it is, it only sounds like a faint suggestion of either."

La Forza del Destino, "Pace, pace, mio Dio":

Lord Harewood, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 289:
"The basically dark but constantly varying tonal quality of Meta Seinemeyer (Od. 0-7648; LV 111), together with her controlled swelling and diminishing sustained high notes, highlight her supremacy amongst German artists in Italian roles."

Aida, "Bringet den Göttern Dank":

John Steane, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 315:
"And for her sake (as well as the spaciousness of the sound), it is well worth hearing the 1927 recording of the triumphal scene (P. 9171/2; LV 112), where that tense and hauntingly lovely voice soars clearly above the dense mass of the ensemble."

Manon Lescaut, "In quelle trine morbide":

Edward Greenfield, Opera on Record, vol. 3, p. 217:
"Her [Lotte Lehmann's] compatriot, Meta Seinemeyer, recorded the aria in 1927 in rather German-sounding Italian (Parlo. P 9819; LV 112), and unusually for the period she observed the marking 'lo stesso movimento' at the beginning of the second half (maybe the influence of her husband-to-be, Frieder Weissmann), keeping the tempo the same, where the custom (as Puccini must have anticipated) was to slow down markedly."

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone,, p. 508:
"I am glad to see that Parlophone have not yet come to the end of the interesting records bequeathed by a talented opera singer who was taken from us all too soon. This time we hear her in examples of Verdi and Puccini, which, though they may not represent either master at his best, nevertheless deviate agreeably from the beaten track and unmistakably show the Meta Seinemeyer possessed the gift of versatility. The attractive quality and admirable legato that were distinguishing features of her singing come out clearly and with irreproachable diction in her rendering of the passage from Manon Lescaut. It is delightfully free from any trace of exaggeration and yet abundantly expressive."

Don Carlo, "Tu che le vanità":

Lord Harewood, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 302:
"Technically there can be no comparison between her [Callas'] stereo and Meta Seinemeyer's 1928 [sic; it was made in 1927] vintage recording (Od. 0-7650; LV 112) - Seinemeyer died in 1929, still in the early stages of her career - but there is a uniquely tragic quality about Seinemeyer's singing, and such sensitive phrasing and caressing, lovely tone should be more generally known. I doubt if, after the orchestra's statement of the love theme, even Callas gets more heart-break into the single word 'Francia', with its overtones of half-forgotten happiness."

Tristan und Isolde, "Mild und leise" [Liebestod]:

Robin Holloway, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 373:
"Inevitably such grandeur [referring to Frida Leider's 1931 recording] overshadows the contemporary version by Meta Seinemeyer (Parlo. E 10829; LV 112) which, though rushed, is memorable for a gentle warmth and a touchingly domestic quality in its ardour."

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 450:
"Meta Seinemeyer does not know how to be over-loud, and she sings the Liebestod with exquisite smoothness and restraint, but there are moments when the orchestral background fades into faintness because the balance is wrong."

Strauss, "Traum durch die Dämmerung":

Alan Blyth, Song on Record, p. 322:
"But she [Florence Austral] is outclassed by Meta Seinemeyer (Parlophone P 9870; LV 112) with orchestra. She seems to carry the beginning of the song through to 'Frau' in a single phrase, and throughout pours out her enveloping tone in a generous way, too generous perhaps, suggesting one of Strauss' operatic heroines, but she justifies her method through the intensity of expression. Like many singers, she ignores the semiquaver before 'samtenes'. This surely is where a breath should be taken so that the rest of this passage can be taken in a single 'bowing' up to 'Land'."

Schubert, "Gretchen am Spinnrade":

John Steane, Song on Record, p. 79:
"Johanna Gadski (8811; 99-108) and Meta Seinemeyer (P 9871; RLS 766) also express eloquently and beautifully the tragic depth of the song."

Die Meistersinger, "Preislied" [with Pilinszky]:

Richard Law, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 387:
"One of the only other tenors to make a double-sided version was Sigismund Pilinsky, a Bayreuth Tannhäuser in 1930-1 with a clear and steady, if plaintive, voice. His Ev'chen, though, is the magnificent Meta Seinemeyer (E 10947; LV 202), fifteen seconds of whom here kill all memory of the tenor's effortful eight minutes."

Otello, "Già nella notte densa":

Alan Blyth, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 329:
"Tino Pattiera and Meta Seinemeyer (E 10816; LV 113), singing in the original, are both impassioned, making much of the ecstatic passages, but hurrying in-between."

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 448:
"The voices of these two singers blend very harmoniously in the love duet which terminates the First Act of Verdi's Otello--one of the most beautiful and original of the many inspired pages that enrich the score of that opera. It was, indeed, the number over which the critics "raved" loudest when Otello was first produced at La Scala forty years ago. Unfortunately, it is the custom nowadays to hurry the tempi; and Dr. Weissmann does not avoid the common mistake of modern conductors. Otherwise there is little fault to find, while the exquisite mezza voce effects of Meta Seinemeyer are worth a journey to listen to. The tenor is also good in his softer moments, though his "Un bacio ancora" does not equal Tamagno's in tenderness and warmth."

Aida, "Pur ti riveggo, mia dolce Aida":

John Steane, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 314:
"In the 1920s at Dresden, evenings when Seinemeyer sang with Tino Pattiera were occasions looked forward to almost as eagerly as Melba-Caruso nights at Covent Garden. They sing the Nile duet (Parlo. E 10905; LV 16) a good deal faster, one imagines, than 'in the flesh', and Pattiera is square in his phrasing, but the soprano preserves fine tone and legato."

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 463:
"Even when divided in two parts, the duet between Aida and Radamès in the Nile scene of Verdi's opera, is rather a long selection to get on to a single disc. The effort in this instance has meant hurrying the tempi from first to last, and the music suffers in proportion. The reading sounds wrong. The effect on the singers was less marked in the case of Meta Seinemeyer than in that of the tenor, who loses dignity directly he is forced out of his gentle canter (I had nearly said his bel canto) into something like an agitated gallop. Despite this the record is an exceedingly good one and well worth having for the sake of the lamented soprano who so recently took part in it."

Madama Butterfly, "Ancora un passo or via" [Butterfly's entrance]:

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 446:
"A pleasing record this--limited, so far as my judgment is concerned to the Entrance of Butterfly. The girls sing well in tune, while the geisha-bride's progress towards her ill-fated dwelling is very sweetly announced, if with a trifle more tremulousness than even so trying an occasion can be said to warrant. Un bel di has apparently not yet dawned."

Tosca, Cantata:

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 454:
"Versatility is evidently among the virtues possessed by this clever German soprano, in addition to the beauty of voice in the interpretation of Wagner that has distinguished her recent work at Covent Garden. As regards this record, the excerpt from the second act of Tosca allows her little scope, being mainly a choral episode during Scarpia's supper, yet so graceful and purely Italian that I welcome its transfer to the gramophone."

Tosca, "Vissi d'arte":

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 454:
"In Vissi d'arte, however, she comes very near indeed to the ideal established in this overworked piece by the illustrious Ternina, who created the role of Tosca in London. Would that every would-be imitator of that great artist were so successful as Meta Seinemeyer. The touching quality of her plaintive reproach is really exquisite; her breath-control and vocal technique generally, beyond praise."

Madama Butterfly, "Un bel di vedremo":

Edward Greenfield, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 614:
"Most memorable among German singers in this era was Meta Seinemeyer using Italian (Parlo. E 10805; LV 113). Recorded not long before the singer died in 1929 [sic; it was recorded in June 1928, over a year before she died], this is one of the richest and most vibrant versions ever put on disc, full-voiced as well as poised and with the most subtle shading. On the reverse Seinemeyer sings the entry charmingly (in German) and she also recorded the flower duet with Helene Jung (E 10883; LV 115)."

Andrea Chenier, "La mamma morta":

William Mann, Opera on Record, vol. 3, p. 237:
"German sopranos were fond of this solo [La mamma morta]: Meta Seinemeyer (Parlo. 2089; LV 276) overdoes the bosomy chest tone at the beginning, like others, then warms to her task with warm timbre and lovely legato."

Der Rosenkavalier, "Nicht dort, dort ist das Vorzimmer":

Alan Jefferson, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 568:
"Meta Seinemeyer, a notable Marschallin, recorded (in 1928) the scene where she and Octavian (Elisa Stünzner) are dismayed at hearing a man's voice outside the door (Parlo. E 110864/5; LV 114). Ochs is sung by Emanuel List. These two discs make it possible for us to appreciate what a fine Marschallin Seinemeyer must have been."

Irving Kolodin, A Guide to Recorded Music, p. 399:
"The two ladies are admirable singers, but I endorse this disk for the rare recorded evidence it offers of List's sonorous Ochs. The spirit of the performance is infectious, even if the quality of the recording isn't."

Der Rosenkavalier, "Hat mir's gelobt":

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 457:
"In these excerpts from the Rosenkavalier and the succeeding items in this column is provided an exact illustration of the argument that I have just been laying down. Music more difficult or exacting in every way than that of Strauss' opera does not exist, and I should rather like to know, though not perhaps to experience, what would be made of the same selections by a heterogeneous collection of our own native singers. Well, it would do them good, anyhow, to take a lesson from these admirable records, performed under the able and experienced direction of Dr. Weissmann. I will not say I have not heard the wonderful trio in the last act more beautifully done, but it is an excellent performance none the less, while the orchestral support is particularly praiseworthy."

Faust, Church Scene and Prison Scene:

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 453:
"The evergreen freshness of Gounod's Faust is once more demonstrated in these admirable records of the Church and Prison Scenes. They are done on the grand scale, so that a little judicious "amplifying" of the voices--and such voices, too--does not sound amiss. Making full allowance for the reinforcement, it is evident that Dr. Weissmann has big forces at his disposal and that he knows how to get the utmost dynamic power out of them. In the Church Scene a very imposing ensemble is achieved. It should come out splendidly in an auditorium of corresponding magnitude, and makes me feel that I would like to see and hear this Marguerite and Mephistopheles in the flesh. The Prison trio is cut slightly, but in revenge the final choral epilogue is sung intact."

Daily Telegraph (London), May 11, 1929:
"Meta Seinemeyer, Jaro Dvorsky, and Emanuel List will afford a great amount of pleasure to lovers of "Faust," for they have recorded two extracts from Gounod's popular opera with an amount of "bigness" that is quite unusual. The voices are admirable and blend well, and the singing is beautiful."

Ein Maskenball (Un Ballo in Maschera), "Hier ist der grauenvolle Ort":

Lord Harewood, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 268:
"A more appropriately Verdian voice is that of Meta Seinemeyer, who died in 1929 hardly out of her twenties [sic] and who recorded this scena memorably, but in German (E 11300; LV 115), with piercingly beautiful top notes and a style which demonstrates a great voice in full, majestic, tragic flight..."

Madama Butterfly, "Das ist sicher ein Kriegsschiff":

Irving Kolodin, A Guide to Recorded Music, p. 308:
"Both of these singers are capable, and the spirit of the performance is indeed attractive. The recording is only fair, and a German text is used."

Hänsel und Gretel, "Abends will ich schlafen geh'n":

Irving Kolodin, A Guide to Recorded Music, p. 203:
"For musical purposes, the Seinemeyer-Jung performance is much to be preferred, if only for its inclusion of an orchestra in place of the piano used by [Elisabeth] Schumann."

Alan Blyth, Opera on Record, vol. 2, p. 289:
"A very different impression is made by Meta Seinemeyer and Helene Jung in the 'Abendsagen'; in contrast to their Spanish contemporaries [Conchita Supervia and Ines Ferraris] these are more staid, well-behaved children with rounder, fuller voices. Like so many German singers, they call to mind Octavian and Sophie, but the actual sound is quite lovely in its warmth and richness."

Hänsel und Gretel, "Jucchei, nun ist die Hexe tot":

Irving Kolodin, A Guide to Recorded Music, p. 204:
"The singing is delightful, the recording sufficiently clear."

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 461:
"Both singers are heard to better advantage (though they have much less to do) in the joyful waltz which the two children sing and dance after they have consigned the Witch to her own well-heated oven. The duet here sounds crisp and vivacious both in the voices and the orchestra, and is altogether extremely well given."

Alan Blyth, Opera on Record, vol. 2, p. 289:
"They can also be heard in the 'Knusperwalzer' on the reverse of Parlo. E 10870 (reissued on LV 115) - the elation here is almost palpable."

Liszt, "O lieb'" and Rubinstein, "Die Nacht":

Herman Klein, Herman Klein and the Gramophone, p. 463:
"I need not dwell on the sensations that one experiences on hearing anew the voice of a singer who has just passed on. It is one of those strange phenomena that the gramophone alone can create--an impression far more touching in its realism than any that the camera can convey; for, after all, the sound of the human voice is like the reflection of life itself and therefore as it were, part and parcel of the living being. But enough of that! To listen to the quiet charm the exquisite vocal quality of these records of songs by Liszt and Rubinstein is not only to enjoy music made doubly beautiful by its rendering, but to deplore with a profounder regret the premature passing of a most delightful singer. The sincerity of her work was among her many rare merits and it stands forth plainly for all to hear in these pieces, the orchestral accompaniments to which (never intended or provided by the composers) were, pathetically enough, conducted by the singer's husband of a month, Dr. Frieder Weissmann."

Will Crutchfield, Song on Record, p. 185, on Liszt's "O lieb'":
"I must unhesitatingly declare a preference for the Schipa arrangement over the original. Meta Seinemeyer's vocally exciting though sometimes hectic rendition (P 9861; LV 115) is more or less the latter, with orchestra".

Die Walküre, "Der Männer Sippe":

Alan Blyth, Opera on Record, vol. 1, p. 418:
"the unique Meta Seinemeyer begins at 'Der Männer Sippe' and tells her story in those peculiarly warm, vibrant tones of hers, every word made to tell - listen to the thrill of 'dem sollte der Stahl geziemen' and then on to an enraptured climax. Any Siegmund would be in thrall to such a marvellous Sieglinde. Curt Taucher responds with properly infatuated tones, even if they are none too ingratiating. He was a notable Met Siegmund and Siegfried in the 1920s. Then Seinemeyer bursts forth with an ecstatic 'Du bist der Lenz', which has no peer except Lehmann's, and Seinemeyer had the better voice. Sadly the impassioned duet, thrillingly inflected by both singers, ends abruptly at Siegmund's '... Wälse gennant'".

[Note: Actually, this part was recorded, but not published; see the discography for details.]

Thanks to John Ryan for providing me with the reviews from Opera on Record, vol. 3 and from Irving Kolodin's A Guide to Recorded Music. Thanks as well to John Yoh, who provided me with the reviews from Opera on Record, vol. 2 and Song on Record.

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