Reinhardt, Delia

German soprano, 1892 - 1974

(by courtesy of Charles B. Mintzer)

Biographical notes:

Born on April 27, 1892 in Elberfeld, Delia Reinhardt studied with Professor Strakosch in Wiesbaden, and then enrolled at the Conservatory in Frankfurt to work with Hedwig Schacko. She made her debut at the Breslau Opera as the Peace Messenger in Wagner’s Rienzi. Soon she sang there her first Agathe, the Goose-Girl in Humperdinck’s Königskinder, Hänsel and Pamina. In 1916 Reinhardt was invited by Bruno Walter to join the Munich Court Opera, where she appeared regularly until 1923, being especially admired in the Mozart repertory. Her roles also included Silla in Pfitzner’s Palestrina (to Maria Ivogün’s Ighino), Euryanthe, the Empress in Die Frau ohne Schatten, Minneleide in Pfitzner’s Die Rose vom Liebesgarten, Cherubino, Elsa, Gutrune, Freia, Elisabeth and many others. She sang as a guest in Rome and Barcelona, and from 1922 to 1924 she had the opportunity to sing at the Met for two seasons, but in the public’s acclamation she was overshadowed by the reigning Elisabeth Rethberg . Delia Reinhardt appeared at Covent Garden between 1924 and 1929 and sang in Der Rosenkavalier as Octavian, in an all star cast opposite Lotte Lehmann, Elisabeth Schumann and Richard Mayr, conducted by Bruno Walter. It was in September 1924 that she became a member of the Berlin State Opera, where she soon enjoyed wide success in roles such as Iphignie in Aulis, Otello (a role she did not like!), Christine in Strauss’ Intermezzo, as Marguerite, Senta (!) and in some premieres of Schreker’s Die singenden Teufel, Milhaud’s Christophe Colombe and in performances of Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten. Her first husband was the baritone Gustav Schützendorf, her second the conductor Georges Sébastien who was Bruno Walter’s first assistant. 1933 brought an abrupt end of her career. Because of her Jewish husband and her firm oppositon against the new regime, she was only allowed to appear in song recitals, where she was accompanied by Michael Raucheisen. In 1943 her Berlin apartment was bombed and she lost all her possessions. It was Michael Raucheisen who made it possible that she and Maria Ivogün could flee to Bavaria. Reinhardt went to Garmisch, where she lived with friends. As soon as the war was over, her mentor Bruno Walter helped her to leave Germany. She spent some time in Switzerland and then moved to America in 1948. Delia Reinhardt was also a talented painter. She returned to Switzerland after Bruno Walter’s death, and died on October 3, 1974 in Arlesheim near Basle.


(by courtesy of Charles B. Mintzer)


As Silla in Pfitzner’s “Palestrina”


As Carlotta Nardi in Schreker’s “Die Gezeichneten”



Delia Reinhardt - Intégrale de son Héritage 1922 - 1929 (Arias by Mozart, Weber, Wagner, Puccini, Verdi and R. Strauss)


4 Famous Sopranos of the Past (+ Frida Leider, Barbara Kemp, Göta Ljungberg)

Preiser - LV

Barbara Kemp (duets)

Preiser - LV

Munich’s Opera History (Aus Münchens Operngeschichte)

Preiser - LV

Von der Königlichen Hofoper zur Staatsoper ‘Unter den Linden’

Preiser - LV

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



As Agathe


Two of her exemplary characterizations - Eva and Elsa


From Germany emerged a number of fine lyric-dramatic sopranos, particularly from the first half of the 20th century. Lotte Lehmann, Emmy Bettendorf, Tiana Lemnitz, Elisabeth Feuge, Maria Müller, Trude Eipperle and Grete Stückgold, to name but a few. Only two sopranos were to succeed them in later times, Elisabeth Grümmer and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

Delia Reinhardt’s voice is a beautifully colored, lyric instrument, produced with superb forward projection (enunciation!). Her wonderful luminous tone in the upper register mixes well with her warm, sincere and deeply felt artistry.

Unfortunately, we have too few documents of her. However, her accoustical recordings, made by Polydor in 1922, the electrical Polydor titles of 1928/29, and the HMV recordings of 1926 present her as one of the most beautiful “Jugendliche Dramatische” on record.

 O Sachs, mein Freund (Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg / Wagner / Polydor 1928)


As Octavian


My warmest thanks to Charles B. Mintzer