Jimi Hendrix Clara McCarty Captain Robert Gray Anna Louise StrongAnna Louise Strong Bailey Gatzert Home WWII Women Pilots
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6815 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search

Features

Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Outdoor Seattle concert by opera diva Mme. Schumann-Heink is ruined by tugboat's horn-blast on August 20, 1925.

HistoryLink.org Essay 8954 : Printer-Friendly Format

On the otherwise lovely evening of Thursday August 20, 1925, a performance at the University Stadium featuring the world-famous singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink (1861-1936) has an abrupt, noisy, and disappointing finale for attendees.  

Road Tours Across America

Madame Schumann-Heink was the Austrian-born American contralto and mezzo-soprano star who had been a European opera sensation for years prior to becoming a member (1898-1903) of New York City's Metropolitan Opera Company. She then embarked on a string of cross-country concert tours in America, which solidified her reputation and made her a musical legend.  

Reported to be one of the most brilliant vocalists of her time, Schumann-Heink was famed for taking on the most challenging works -- song that required "not only technique and virtuosity but also charm, temperament and personality!" (cantabile-subito.de).

The Seattle Show(down) 

When one of Schumann-Heink's tours led to Seattle during the summer of 1925, she checked into the New Washington Hotel -- accompanied by her 14-year old grandson, Hans August, and pianist Arthur Loesser. The Associated Students of the University of Washington had booked Schumann-Heink to perform at one of the "Symphony Under the Sky" concert series dates at the UW's sports stadium adjacent to the Lake Washington ("Montlake Cut") Ship Canal. The Seattle Times informed that many of the 10,000 $1 seats would be scooped up by attendees at that week's Pacific Northwest Merchants Exposition, stating "Visitors to Hear Diva Tonight."

These concerts were wonderfully idyllic affairs that, as one account noted, usually "resulted in beautiful memories" for concert-goers (Broderick). However, this time, just when "Madame Schumann-Heink was in the midst of the fascinating strains of 'Only God Can Make Me a Tree,'" disaster struck when "there ensued terrific blasts from a tug in a nearby canal, whistling for the opening of the University drawbridge. She went on for a few seconds, then raising her hands in a gesture of despair, exclaimed, ‘I can’t compete with that.’” And on that final note -- a loud and brassy one, no doubt -- the diva's performance came to an abrupt halt.

But all was not lost. As Seattle businessman, Henry Broderick, noted, "Many of the leads in the cast gathered that evening" to party at the home of Seattle's fabled Prohibition-era bandleader, Victor A. Meyers (1898-1991).

Sources:
"TOMORROW MME SCHUMANN HEINK U. of W. Stadium," display ad,   The Seattle Times, August 19, 1925, p.7;  Schumann-Heink Sings Tonight -- Out of Town Merchants Will Be Guests at Stadium Concert," Ibid., August 20, 1925, p. 5; Henry Broderick, The HB Story & Seattle’s Yesterdays (Seattle: Frank McCaffrey Publishers, 1969),  p. 167; "Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Biographical notes," cantabile-subito.de website accessed on January 30, 2009 (http://www.cantabile-subito.de/Contraltos/Schumann-Heink__Ernestine/hauptteil_schumann-heink__ernestine.html).


Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Music & Musicians | Curiosities |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You




Ernestine Schumann-Heink (1861-1936), n.d.
Courtesy www.cantabile-subito.de


Ernestine Schumann-Heink (1861-1936) and her grandson, Seattle, 1925
Courtesy The Seattle Times


Announcing Ernestine Schumann-Heink, opera singer, with 10,000 seats available for $1.00, Seattle, 1925
Courtesy The Seattle Times


 
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org