(June 16, 1899 – July 28, 1972)
Helen Traubel was an American dramatic soprano.
She became one of the best Wagnerian sopranos of her day and sang at the Metropolitan Opera from 1937 to 1953 singing roles like Isolde and Brunnhilde.
In 1940 she joined the roster of the Chicago Opera Company but it went broke. She made her debut in 1945 with the San Francisco Opera singing Brünnhilde in Die Walküre with Lauritz Melchior as Siegmund.
She had difficulty breaking into the Metropolitan Opera because the Met already had two top Wagerian sopranos - Kirsten Flagstad and Marjorie Lawrence.
In 1941 following Flagstad's departure and Marjorie Lawrence's poliomelitis she finally had her opportunity to shine as a solo artist in a concert conducted by Arturo Toscanini.
Her career blossomed at the Metropolitan but despite her desire to sing Italian opera aside from concerts she never did get an opportunity to sing a full performance and was kept singing the Brunnhilde's and Isoldes. She was much praised for her voice described as a "gleaming sword" with limitless endurance and superb tone.
Helen Traubel did however sing the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier towards the end of her career.
In 1948 she was controversially appointed as an advisor to President Harry Truman's daughter who had aspirations of becoming an opera singer. This happened at the height of Helen Traubel's fame- and it brought her no good, diminishing her stature somewhat in musical circles.
When Rudolf Bing took over as manager of the Met in 1953 he failed to renew her contract.
Thereafter her career headed towards the lighter side of the entertainment industry- TV appearances, broadway, muscals and the films Deep in My Heart, Gunn and The Ladies Man.
She even appeared in a Marx Bros TV version of the Mikado. Her last appearance was in a night club with Jimmy Durante at Harrahs Lake Tahoe in 1964.