(December 18, 1920 - March 20, 1987)
Rita Streich was a Russian born German soprano.
She was well recorded and one of the most admired singers of the post-war period.
Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender and Erna Berger were two of her high profile teachers.
During the second World War she made her debut at the Stadttheater (city theatre) of Ústí nad Labem in Bohemia playing Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss' opera Ariadne auf Naxos.
Three years later she secured a place at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden (State Opera) in Berlin and she stayed there until 1952 before moving on to Bayreuth.
Thereafter she moved to Vienna then to Salzburg and on to appearances La Scala in Milan and Covent Garden.
Her repertoire included roles in Idomeneo, Così fan tutte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Die Zauberflöte, Il Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Der Rosenkavalier, Siegfried (the Forest Bird) and others.
She was noted for being able to sing Russian roles without a trace of an accent due to her heritage and also she was known for her many roles in operetta- some of which she recorded e.g. Die Fledermaus, Eine Nacht in Venedig, Der Zigeunerbaron, Boccaccio, Der Bettelstudent, and Der Zarewitsch.
From 1974 on she taught at the Music Academy in Vienna and gave Master Classes during the Salzburg Festival from 1983.
She passed away in Vienna in 1987.
In the 2007 movie of "Mr Bean's Holiday" Rowan Atkinson lip -sync'd to her famous rendition of "O Mio Babbino Caro."