Kern, Adele

German soprano, 1901 - 1980

Biographical notes:

Born in Munich, she received her musical education by the famous coloratura soprano Hermine Bosetti. She first appeared on stage at Munich in 1923, as Olympia, though her official debut did not take place until 1924. After two years she went to Frankfurt am Main where Clemens Krauss and producer Lothar Wallerstein supervised the development of her talent. Her repertoire included roles such as Zerlina, Despina, Adele, Susanna, Oscar, Papagena, Baroness Friedmann in Lortzing’s Der Wildschütz, Urbain, Angelina, Fiakermilli and Fanny in Bittner’s Das Veilchen. The artist was Adele in Reinhardt’s production in Die Fledermaus and Olympia in his legendary Les Contes d’Hoffmann. She made her debut at the Vienna State Opera as Zerbinetta, other roles were Philine in Mignon and Sophie. During the time she was still contracted to the Frankfurt Opera she also appeared regularly in Vienna. In 1929 she became a member of the company, taking over almost the whole light soubrette repertoire although she had to compete with Selma Kurz and Elisabeth Schumann! She made guest appearances in Rio de Janeiro, Venice and Paris. Adele Kern was admired at the Salzburg Festival from 1927 - 1935 singing Susanna, Despina, Marzelline and Sophie. When Clemens Krauss left Vienna for Berlin, she followed him, still spending long periods guesting in Vienna. When Krauss became opera director of the Munich Opera she finally settled in Munich. She continued to sing throughout the war years and starred in some films. Adele Kern retired at the age of 46.


As Zerbinetta


With Alphons Fügel in “La Bohème”



Beethoven - Fidelio - Arias, Duets and Ensembles (Berger, Wittrisch, Forst, Domgraf-Fassbaender, Mayr, Schorr, Leider, Völker, Ludwig)


Lehár - Schön ist die Welt (Lehár 1942 Broadcast/von Jordan, Dermota, Waldner, Niessner)


J. Strauss- Die Fledermaus (Weigert 1929, abridged version/Pfahl, Domgraf-Fassbaender, Ruziczca, Volker, L. Kern, Klust, Landl)


R. Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier (Krauss 1944/Ursuleac, Weber, von Milinkovic, Klarwein)


Recital (Arias by Mozart, Beethoven, Meyerbeer, Verdi, Strauss, Rossini, Offenbach, Thomas)

Preiser - LV

Four Famous Sopranos of the Past (Erna Sack, Erna Berger, Miliza Korjus)

Preiser - LV

Elisabeth Ohms + Gertrude Kappel

Preiser - LV

Unvergessene Stimmen der Wiener Staatsoper

Preiser - LV

Aus Münchens Operngeschichte (Munich’s Operatic History)

Preiser - LV

Golden Operetta Vol. 2


Franz Völker im Reich der Operette 1927 - 1938

Preiser - LV

Mike Richter’s Opera Page: The Record of Singing Vol. 3



As Adele


In the years from 1920 to 1940 Germany and Austria produced a number of very fine soprani leggieri: Adele Kern and Lotte Schöne, Maria Ivogün, Irene Eisinger, Fritzi Jokl, Ria Ginster, Erna Berger and Irma Beilke.

Adele Kern possessed a light, high voice of silvery quality. Her singing was of great charm. Her personal approach to every role is remarkable for a light soprano. Her characters are real human beings! Urbain and Oscar are delivered as a true Jeu d’esprit.  Like Lotte Schöne, she was a phenomenal technician and, a superb operetta singer. Range, agilità and tones in alto are truly thrilling. She may not have the similar lyrical  possibilities than Schöne (who also managed to sing Butterfly and Liù) but Kern remains on of the greatest virtuosa in lyric coloratura- and soubrette roles.


Member of the Berlin State Opera (1936)

My favorite recordings:

 Durch Zärtlichkeit und Schmeicheln (Blondchen in The Aduction from Serail / Mozart / Gramophone 1929)

- O wär’ ich schon mit dir vereint (Marzelline in Fidelio / Beethoven / Gramophone 1929)

- Ihr edlen Herrn allhier (Urbain in Les Huguenots / Meyerbeer / Gramophone 1929)

- Lasst ab mit Fragen (Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera / Verdi / Gramophone 1929)

- Will ich allein des Abends (Musetta in La Bohème / Puccini /  Gramophone 1929)

- Grossmächtige Prinzessin (Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos / R. Strauss /  Gramophone 1929)

- Wir sind heute auf einer Villa (Adele in Fledermaus / J. Strauss / Polydor 1929)


Portrait 1929


Hermine Bosetti (1875 - 1936)

Adele Kern’s teacher made her debut at Wiesbaden in 1898, as Ännchen in Weber’s Freischütz. From 1901 until 1924 she became a principal with the Munich Opera. Her repertory included roles such as Marie, Flosshilde (!), Waldvogel, Rosina, Octavian, Eva and Zerbinetta. She also appeared at Covent Garden, Bruxelles and St. Petersburg.  Renowned for her phenomenal coloratura technique, she recorded for G&T, Odeon and Polydor.