Kurz, Selma

BORN 15 Oct 1874, Biala, Silesia - DIED 10 May 1933, Wien
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Zentralfriedhof, Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, Simmering (Gruppe 14 C, Nummer 08)

Selma Kurz was born into a poor Jewish family. She was educated by nuns who discovered her fine voice and this led to an audition with Professor Gänsbacher in Vienna. He taught no women, but he recommended her to count Nicholas Esterházy who enabled her to study with Johannes Ress. Later she consulted further voice teachers, among them Mathilde Marchesi in Paris.

She debuted at a student concert in Vienna in 1895 and during the same year she performed in Hamburg. From 1895 to 1899 she worked in Frankfurt am Main, until Gustav Mahler heard her there and offered her a contract at the Court Opera in Vienna. On 3 Sep 1899 she first performed in Vienna as Mignon and a successful career of thirty years followed. In the spring of 1900 she had a short love affair with Mahler but marriages between members of the Court Opera weren't allowed. In 1910 she married Professor Joseph Halban (1876-1937) with whom she had two children. Their daughter Desirée became a well known soprano. In 1916 Selma was Zerbinetta in Stuttgart at the world premiere of the reworked version of "Ariadne auf Naxos" by Richard Strauss.

In total she performed 992 times at the Opera in Vienna in parts by all important composers. Her last performance was at the Theatre in the Ringstrrasse on 12 Feb 1927. In September 1932 she made a final public performance during the baptism of Archduke Stefan, but at that time she was already fatally ill. She died in 1933 in Vienna and was buried at the Zentralfriedhof.

Related persons
• was painted by Adams, John Quincy
• had a love affair with Mahler, Gustav
• was pupil to Marchesi, Mathilde
• cooperated with Príhoda, Vása
• has grave monument designed by Wotruba, Fritz

4/10/1916Premiere of the revised version of "Ariadne auf Naxos" by Richard Strauss in Vienna. The libretto was by Hugo Hofmannsthal and Maria Jeritza performed the part of Ariadne. Selma Kurz was Zerbinetta. Franz Schalk was the conductor. [Hofmannsthal, Hugo von][Strauss, Richard]


The grave of Selma Kurz at the Zentralfriedhof, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (20 Aug 2007)


• Budig, Robert S. et al, Ehrengräber am Wiener Zentralfriedhof, Compress Verlag Wien, Wien
Selma Kurz - Wikipedia

Küsthardt, Edwin

Published: 26 Sep 2009
Last update: 18 Aug 2022