Schumann-Heink - Recording Artist and Willa Cather Opera Prototype

 

Ernestine Schumann-Heink

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Schumann-Heink Postcard, 1907

 

By Doug Boilesen, 2020

Ernestine Schumann-Heink has been identified by scholars (1) as a prototype used by Cather in her opera related story Paul's Case, i.e., the prototype for the "soprano soloist."

Besides starring on the opera stage Schumann-Heink made phonograph records and was featured in advertisements which added her celebrity status, artistic reputation, and the prestige of opera to the promotion of the early phonograph.

The Phonographia gallery Willa Cather's Opera Prototypes who were Recording Artists provides an overview with examples and ephemera related to Cather's six opera related prototypes: FARRAR, FREMSTAD, NORDICA, GARDEN, SCHUMANN-HEINK and BORI.

This gallery provides examples focused on Schumann-Heink and her popular culture role as seen in advertisements and other ephemera.

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Everybody's Magazine, 1910

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Life, September 9, 1915

See "Both are" for additional examples of the 1914 - 1916 advertising campaign which wanted to assure consumers that what you were purchasing was "just as truly" the artist as the artist him or herself.

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Mme. Schumann-Heink and Geraldine Farrar

 

Farrar and Schumann-Heink, November 10, 1909

 

 

 

Farrar and Eames, the greatest American sopranos, 1911

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Farrar and Schumann-Heink, Harper's Magazine, 1908

 

 

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Mme. Schumann-Heink and Geraldine Farrar

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Exclusivity and hosting the world’s greatest artists like Farrar and Schumann-Heink (with Caruso of course here leading the procession) were privileges that came with owning a Victor. Wealth and high social status were obvious and intended parts of these ads. Victrola Christmas Brochure, 1914

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Mme. Schumann-Heink, Geraldine Farrar and Lucrezia Bori

Farrar, Schumann-Heink and Bori, The Ladies' Home Journal, September 1919

 

 

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Mme. Schumann-Heink and Geraldine Farrar

Farrar and Schumann-Heink, the National Geographic 1919

 

 

 

 

Mme. Schumann-Heink and Geraldine Farrar

Farrar and Schumann-Heink, The Literary Digest for November 6, 1920

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Mme. Schumann-Heink and Geraldine Farrar

Farrar and Schuman-Heink,"The Chosen instrument by the world's greatest artists." The Ladies' Home Journal" November 1918

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1923 Farrar and Schuman-Heink and Homer - "Victor Supremacy"

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Mme. Schumann-Heink, Geraldine Farrar, and Mary Garden

Farrar, Schumann-Heink, Mary Garden - 1922 sepia rotogravure

 

 

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Schumann-Heink as “fashion editor” The Ladies’ Home Journal, 1914

 

 

 

New Victor Records October 1920

 

 

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"Mme. Schumann-Heink has been heard by so many American audiences that unless her Victor Records were indeed her other self the discrepancy would be noted, not by the few but by the many." The Ladies' Home Journal, May 1925

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"Mme. Schumann-Heink uses the Steinway exclusively", Steinway Piano ad, 1927

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Mme. Schumann-Heink Radio Broadcast, Enna Jennick Shoes ad,The Saturday Evening Post, 1929

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Phonographia