was an English opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...
and composer, known for her vocal compositions.
She was born Elisabetha Nina Mary Frederica Lehmann
in London. Her father was the German painter Rudolf Lehmann and her mother was Amelia (A.L.) Chambers, a music teacher, composer and arranger. Liza "grew up in an intellectual and artistic atmosphere" (Baker, 1992, p. 1030) and lived in Germany, France, and Italy in her early years. She studied singing in London with both Alberto Randegger
Alberto Randegger was an Italian-born composer, conductor and singing teacher, best known for promoting opera and new works of British music in England during the Victorian era and for his widely-used textbook on singing technique.-Life and career:Randegger was born in Trieste, Italy, the son of...
and Jenny Lind
Johanna Maria Lind , better known as Jenny Lind, was a Swedish opera singer, often known as the "Swedish Nightingale". One of the most highly regarded singers of the 19th century, she is known for her performances in soprano roles in opera in Sweden and across Europe, and for an extraordinarily...
, and her composition teachers included Hamish MacCunn
thumb|right|Portrait of MacCunn, 1889, by [[John Pettie]]Hamish MacCunn , Scottish romantic composer, was born in Greenock, the son of a shipowner, and was educated at the Royal College of Music, where his teachers included Sir Hubert Parry and Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.MacCunn's first success...
in London, Niels Raunkilde in Rome, and Wilhelm Freudenberg in Wiesbaden.
On 23 November 1885, she made her singing début at a Monday Popular Concert at St James's Hall
St. James's Hall was a concert hall in London that opened on 25 March 1858, designed by architect and artist Owen Jones, who had decorated the interior of the Crystal Palace. It was situated between the Quadrant in Regent Street and Piccadilly, and Vine Street and George Court. There was a...
, and spent the next nine years performing many important concert engagements in England. She received encouragement from important European musicians such as Joseph Joachim
Joseph Joachim was a Hungarian violinist, conductor, composer and teacher. A close collaborator of Johannes Brahms, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant violinists of the 19th century.-Origins:...
and Clara Schumann
Clara Schumann was a German musician and composer, considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era...
She retired from the stage after a final concert at St James's Hall on 14 July 1894, and married the composer and painter Herbert Bedford. The couple's grandsons include the conductor Steuart Bedford
Steuart John Rudolf Bedford is a British orchestral and opera conductor. He is the brother of composer David Bedford and a grandson of Liza Lehmann....
and the composer David Bedford
David Vickerman Bedford , was an English composer and musician. He wrote and played both popular and classical music....
. For the rest of her life she concentrated on composing music. She completed one of her best known works two years later, in 1896, the song cycle for four voices and piano titled In a Persian Garden
, settings of selected quatrains from Edward FitzGerald
Edward FitzGerald was an English writer, best known as the poet of the first and most famous English translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The spelling of his name as both FitzGerald and Fitzgerald is seen...
’s version of the Rubāiyāt of Omar Khayyām
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his translation of a selection of poems, originally written in Persian and of which there are about a thousand, attributed to Omar Khayyám , a Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer...
. She composed many more song cycles including The Daisy Chain
and an In Memoriam
based on Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem. She also became known for her parlour songs and other works in the following years.
In 1904 she was commissioned by Frank Curzon
Frank Curzon was an English actor who became an important theatre manager, leasing the Royal Strand Theatre, Avenue Theatre, Criterion Theatre, Comedy Theatre, Prince of Wales Theatre and Wyndham's Theatre, among others....
to compose the score for the Edwardian musical comedy
Edwardian musical comedies were British musical theatre shows from the period between the early 1890s, when the Gilbert and Sullivan operas' dominance had ended, until the rise of the American musicals by Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, George Gershwin and Cole Porter following World War I.Between...
with a libretto by Owen Hall
Owen Hall was the pen name of the Irish-born 19th and early 20th century theatre writer and theatre critic James Davis when writing for the stage...
and lyrics by James Hickory Wood. The piece was a success, but Lehmann was unhappy that Curzon added other composers' music to her score. Although she refused to write any further musicals, Lehmann composed the score for a comic opera
Comic opera denotes a sung dramatic work of a light or comic nature, usually with a happy ending.Forms of comic opera first developed in late 17th-century Italy. By the 1730s, a new operatic genre, opera buffa, emerged as an alternative to opera seria...
adaptation of The Vicar of Wakefield
The Vicar of Wakefield is a novel by Irish author Oliver Goldsmith. It was written in 1761 and 1762, and published in 1766, and was one of the most popular and widely read 18th-century novels among Victorians...
in 1906, with a libretto by Laurence Housman
Laurence Housman was an English playwright, writer and illustrator.-Early life:Laurence Housman was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, one of seven children who included the poet A. E. Housman and writer Clemence Housman. In 1871 his mother died, and his father remarried, to a cousin...
. This piece was a modest success but did not lead to further comic operas.
In 1910, Lehmann made a successful tour of the United States, where she accompanied her own songs in recitals. She became the first president of the Society of Women Musicians in 1911 and 1912 and was a professor of singing at the GSM. She also wrote a voice study text, Practical Hints for Students of Singing
. In 1916, Lehmann wrote the score for an opera, Everyman
, which was produced by the Beecham Opera Company.
Lehmann and Maude Valérie White
Maude Valérie White was a French-born English composer who became one of the most successful songwriters of the Victorian period.-Early years:...
were England's foremost female composers of songs at the beginning of the 20th century. Although they both composed solo settings of serious texts, they excelled in setting lighter material. Some of Lehmann's compositional practices, such as her frequent use for four-voice cycles and writing piano links between songs, were consistent with her time, yet her pieces were inventive; they are now often overlooked and disregarded. She wrote many children's songs, ranging from the sweet and trivial "There are fairies at the bottom of our garden" to the melodically and harmonically passionate "Stars" in The Daisy-Chain
. Her tenor song "Ah, moon of my delight" from In a Persian Garden
Lehmann died at Pinner
- Climate :Pinner's geographical position on the far western side of North West London makes it the furthest London suburb from any UK coastline. Hence the lower prevalence of moderating maritime influences make Pinner noticeably warmer in the spring and the summer compared to the rest of the capital...
Middlesex is one of the historic counties of England and the second smallest by area. The low-lying county contained the wealthy and politically independent City of London on its southern boundary and was dominated by it from a very early time...
at the age of 56.
- Seargeant Brue, musical farce (London, 14 June 1904)
- The Vicar of Wakefield, light opera (Manchester, 12 November 1906)
- Everyman, 1-act opera (London, 28 December 1915)
Vocal with orchestra
- Young Lochinvar, text by Walter Scott
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time....
, baritone, chorus, and orchestra (1898)
- Endymion, text by Longfellow
Longfellow may refer to:* Longfellow, Minneapolis, United States** Longfellow , Minneapolis, United States* Longfellow, Oakland, California, United States* Longfellow , one of America's first great thoroughbred racehorses...
, soprano and orchestra (1899)
- Once Upon a Time, cantata (London, 22 February 1903)
- The Golden Threshold, text by S. Naidu, S, A, T, Bar, chorus, and orchestra (1906)
- Leaves from Ossian, cantata (1909)
Vocal quartets with piano
- In a Persian Garden (E. FitzGerald, after O. Khayyām) (1896)
- The Daisy-Chain (L. Alma-Tadema, R.L. Stevenson and others) (1900)
- More Daisies (1902)
- Nonsense Songs (from L. Carroll: Alice in Wonderland) (1908)
- Breton Folk-Songs (F.M. Gostling) (1909)
- Prairie Pictures (Lehmann) (1911)
- Parody Pie (1914)
Songs for solo voice
- Mirage (H. Malesh) (1894)
- Nine English Songs (1895)
- Eight German Songs (1888)
- Twelve German Songs (1889)
- In memoriam (Tennyson) (1899)
- Cameos: Five Greek Love-Songs (1901)
- Five French Songs (G. Boutelleau, F. Plessis) (1901)
- To a Little Red Spider (L.A. Cunnington) (1903)
- The Life of a Rose (L. Lehmann) (1905)
- Bird Songs (A.S.) (1907)
- Mr. Coggs and Other Songs for Children (E.V. Lucas) (1908)
- Liza Lehmann Album (1909)
- Five Little Love Songs (C. Fabbri) (1910)
- Songs of a ‘Flapper’ (Lehmann) (1911)
- Cowboy Ballads (J.A. Lomax) (1912)
- The Well of Sorrow (H. Vacaresco: The Bard of the Dimbovitza) (1912)
- Five Tenor Songs (1913)
- Hips and Haws (M. Radclyffe Hall) (1913)
- Songs of Good Luck (Superstitions) (H. Taylor) (1913)
- Magdalen at Michael’s Gate (H. Kingsley) (1913)
- The Poet and the Nightingale (J.T. White) (1914)
- The Lily of a Day (Jonson), 1917
- There are Fairies at the Bottom of Our Garden (R. Fyleman), 1917
- When I am Dead, My Dearest (C. Rossetti), 1918
- Three Songs for Low Voice (Meredith, Browning) (1922)
Other vocal works
- The Secrets of the Heart (H. Austin Dobson), soprano, alto, and piano (1895)
- Good-Night, Babette! (Austin Dobson), soprano, baritone, violin, ‘cello, and piano (1898)
- The Eternal Feminine (monologue, L. Eldée) (1902)
- Songs of Love and Spring (E. Geibel), alto, baritone, and piano (1903)
- The Happy Prince (recitation, O. Wilde) (1908)
- Four Cautionary Tales and a Moral (H. Belloc), two voices and piano (1909)
- Four Shakespearean Part-Songs (1911)
- The Selfish Giant (recitation, Wilde), 1911
- The High Tide (recitation, J. Ingelow) (1912)
- Behind the Nightlight (J. Maude, N. Price) (1913)
- Three Snow Songs (Lehmann), solo voice, piano, organ, female chorus (1914)
- Romantic Suite, violin and piano (1903)
- Cobweb Castle, piano solo (1908)
- The Life of Liza Lehmann, by Herself (T Fisher Unwin, London, 1919)
- Practical Hints for Students of Singing