Germaine Lubin

Germaine Lubin

Birth
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Death 27 Oct 1979 (aged 89)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial Tours, Departement d'Indre-et-Loire, Centre, France
Memorial ID 127003833 · View Source
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Opera Singer. A versatile dramatic soprano, she is probably best remembered for her Wagnerian interpretations. Born Leontine Angelique Lubin, she was raised from infancy in French Guiana where her physician father provided her first piano lessons. Returning to Paris at eight, she continued her musical training while preparing to follow her father into medicine; at 18 she entered the Paris Conservatory where she won three First Prizes in voice and sufficiently impressed then-director Gabriel Faure that he often accompanied her in recitals of his songs. Though she continued study with such pedagogues as sopranos Felia Litvinne and Lilli Lehmann and tenor Jean de Reszke, she made her 1912 operatic bow at Paris' Opera-Comique as Antonia from Jacques Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann". During her years with the company she sang the title leads of Faure's "Penelope" and Gustave Charpentier's "Louise", was Charlotte in Jules Massenet's "Werther", and in 1912 at Nancy was Kaethe for the world premiere of Guy Ropartz' now-forgotten fantasy "Le Pays". In 1915 Germaine gave her initial Paris Opera performance in Vincent d'Indy's "Le chant de la cloche" and was to be a star there for the next 30 years; over her time before the public she took such varied parts as the title leads of Richard Strauss' "Elektra" and "Ariadne auf Naxos", Gluck's "Alceste", Puccini's "Tosca", Gounod's "Romeo and Juliette", and Massenet's "Thais" as well as Agathe in Weber's "Der Freischutz", Leonora of Beethoven's "Fidelio", Cassandre from Hector Berlioz' "Les Troyens", Donna Anna in Mozart's "Don Giovanni", both Octavian and the Marschallin from Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier", and much lesser known fare. In 1921 she assumed her first Wagnerian role, that of Sieglinde in "Die Walkure", and over the next years added Elsa from "Lohengrin", Eva of "Die Meistersinger", Brunnhilde from "The Ring Cycle", the title heroine of "Tristan und Isolde", and Kundry in "Parsifal" to her repertoire. Though continuing to be based in Paris, Germaine gave acclaimed performances at the Vienna State Opera as well at Wagner's Bayreuth Festspielhaus where she was singled out for praise by the ardent Wagner fan Adolf Hitler who called her the finest Isolde he had ever heard. Prevented from traveling to the Metropolitan Opera by the outbreak of World War II, she remained in Paris and supported the musical life of the city, the nature of that 'support' a matter of controversy. Germaine sang the Marschallin and Alceste at the Paris Opera, appeared with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin State Opera in "Fidelio", maintained her friendship with the Wagner family, and gave recitals for the Nazis. Arrested when Paris fell in 1944, she was imprisoned without trial for two years before being found not guilty of collaboration after evidence showed that she had been of material assistance in saving Jews from deportation. Nevertheless, she saw her property taken and found herself banished, though she was made welcome in Italy. Allowed to return home in 1950, she got her property back and restarted her concert career, though there were lingering resentments. Following the 1953 suicide of one of her sons she left the stage for good, though she remained in Paris where she was for many years a respected voice teacher. Germaine died of the effects of advanced age leaving a small but significant recorded legacy, most of which is preserved on CD. The question of her Nazi sympathies remains, and indeed it must be acknowledged that she was probably hurt by her arrogant and off-putting manner more than she was by any genuine guilt. In a statement that probably tells more about her than it does about her repertoire, she said: "I do not like to sing the role of victims".

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 27 Mar 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 127003833
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Germaine Lubin (1 Feb 1890–27 Oct 1979), Find A Grave Memorial no. 127003833, citing Cimetière de la Salle à Tours, Tours, Departement d'Indre-et-Loire, Centre, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .