Bindernagel, Gertrud

German soprano, 1894 - 1932

Biographical notes:

She was born in Magdeburg where she studied at the local conservatory. At the age of 17 she became an unpaid apprentice at the Municipial Theatre. Between 1913 and 1917 she was a pupil at the Berlin Musikhochschule. After graduating, she appeared with the Breslau and Regensburg operas. The fine qualitiy of her voice brought her to the attention of the management at the Berlin State Opera where she made her debut in 1921. During the next six seasons Gertrud Bindernagel was a leading member of the company, singing roles such as Nedda, Aida and as Isolde. In 1927 she appeared as Leonora in the first Berlin performance of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino opposite Tino Pattiera (the frequent partner of the great Meta Seinemeyer at Dresden), Heinrich Schlusnus, Leo Schützendorf, Emanuel List and Genia Guszalewicz, conducted by Leo Blech. After 1927 she also sang at the Städtische Oper, at Hamburg, Munich, Mannheim, Barcelona and at the Zoppot Festival on the Baltic coast. In 1930 she visited Vienna succeeding as Marschallin in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier in a glorious cast which included Adele Kern, Margit Angerer and Richard Mayr, the conducter was Clemens Krauss. It was in Berlin after a performance of Siegfried in 1932, as she was walking through the opera arcade, that her second husband, shot her down. She died a few days later as a result of her injuries. At the trial it transpired that the banker’s finances having suffered from the economic uncertainty immediately before the Nazis took office, he imagined that there was a conspiracy organized by his wife and her lover. The tragic irony was that there was not only no conspiracy, there was no lover either.




Four Dramatic Sopranos of the Past (Oberon, Tristan und Isolde, Aida /+ Elisabeth Ohms, Marta Fuchs, Anny Konetzni)

Preiser - LV

Von der Königlichen Hofper zur Staatsoper “Unter den Linden”

Preiser - LV

Richard Wagner on Record

Preiser - LV

Waldoper Zoppot - The Bayreuth of the North

Preiser - LV

Mahler - The First Mahler Recordings (Horenstein, Fried, Weigert, Meyrowitz/Emmi Leisner, Heinrich Rehkemper, Grete Stückgold, Lula Mysz-Gmeiner and Mme Charles Cahier)

Naxos Historical


As Leonore


Gertrud Bindernagel made but a few recordings which are listed below. Hers is a dramatic, powerful and brilliant instrument with a ringing top moving easily to the high C. Her tone production is not as smooth as e.g. Helen Wildbrunn’s, and Scott stated that her tone was squeezed out rather than floated. I think this is mainly because of the tonal color and the forward resonance. I particularly like her in Isolde’s “Mild und leise”, reminding me of Frida Leider’s rendering, and in the Verdi arias which are performed in the “German tradition” of the time. Anna’s aria of Marschner’s Hans Heiling belongs to the great dramatic soprano recordings.


As Ortrud

Her complete recordings: (all titles sung in German)

- Il se fait tard with Alexander Kirchner (Marguerite in Faust / Gounod / Anker 1920/21)

- Ritorna vincitor (Title role in Aida / Verdi / Parlophon 1922)

- Ritorna vincitor (Title role in Aida / Verdi / Vox 1922)

- Porgi amor (Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro / Mozart / Vox 1922)

- Ah, je ris de me voir si belle (Marguerite in Faust / Gounod / Vox 1922)

Dove sono i bei momenti (Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro / Mozart / Vox 1922)

- Tu che le vanità conoscesti del mondo (Elisabetta in Don Carlos / Verdi / Vox 1923)

- Weh mir...Einst war so tiefer Friede mir (Anna in Hans Heiling / Marschner / Vox 1923)

- Soprano solo in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (conducted by Oscar Fried / Grammophon 1924)

- Ozean, du Ungeheuer (Rezia in Oberon / Weber / Telefunken 1932)

  Mild und leise wie er lächelt (Isolde in Tristan und Isolde / Wagner / Telefunken 1932)